Safety Third

After 10 weeks of working and galavanting in the West Coast post-Burning Man, I’m finally going back home to NY tonight.

Since being here, I’ve seen the most stunning natural beauty in Big Sur, Joshua tree, and Black Rock City (America is fucking beautiful), been to four incredible festivals (Symbiosis, ChillIts, Dirty Bird, Burning Man), became the co-founder of the company I work for, and even fell in love (yes, I know, crazy)​.

I hate to sound up my own ass, but just when I think I’ve experienced so much, the horizons extend and life becomes more of a thrill.

November sunset in Venice Beach, my most recent abode

But I didn’t always have a particularly exceptional life. Most of it until 3 or so years ago had been pretty basic — finish high school with good grades, finish college with good grades, get a job where I make enough money to enjoy life in NYC and be ….successful?

But now, nothing is set for me anymore. Every day is a decision. A conscious decision. To either keep doing what I’m doing or living where I’m living. I ask myself, am I happy today? What would make me most happy? And I go and do that.

That is not to say I fuck off work everyday and go to the beach. I have anxieties and responsibilities like everyone else. Sometimes, what makes me most happy is paying a bill, so I don’t have to worry about it anymore; or in different circumstances, deciding with 24 hours notice to go to a festival with a dope 46 year old man who randomly gave me a ride home from burning man. Even though I knew nothing about the festival and would know no one there besides him. And would have to lug along my $30 Amazon prime tent that I’d build myself that night with the help of a friendly couple nearby with a lantern. And then have a fucking awesome California time in a way that’s not easily available in NYC, meeting beautiful people that would be my friends throughout my stay in the Bay area.

Yes, I’ve felt nervous, and disoriented and scared, but the tradeoff was always so much more than that feeling. Ultimately, I’m smart enough to survive, and to get what I want when I need it. And so I don’t let fears (besides likely imminent death) or made up worries stop me from doing anything.

Safety first is bullshit​. I’ve stopped living by putting safety above all. Why live life according to fear? I’d gladly trade surviving only a week longer doing scary awesome things than live to 80 doing exciting things once in a while that may be only that compared to an otherwise boring life. Instead, I choose to make myself happy everyday. And for me, right now, that is by living a life of adventure.

But rejecting fear as a motivation is not always about making grandiose decisions (like moving to Colombia and Asia by myself). It is also improved my everyday interactions. When I meet someone new, I don’t let the fear that that person will be creepy or unfriendly, or not like me, stop me from putting myself out there fully. I look at each human as a reflection of myself. They, like me, are nothing but oversized children, trying to find meaning and navigate a confusing existence. And so l smile at them how I want to be smiled at, I give them a hug. Fully, with an open-heart. Without hesitation. What do I have to be afraid of? It feels amazing to let down my guard and shine my light on the world.

Another example, I’m 28 in a few weeks, and I eventually want children (I think). Not now, not next year, and most likely not the year after either.

And when I make the decision that it’s time for kids, I will focus on that desire in whatever way makes sense. Find a partner who wants the same things, go to the sperm bank, freeze my eggs, wait, adopt, so many possibilities. But I’m not going to worry that if I don’t “start now,” I won’t get the opportunity later. That I should “settle down” and sacrifice the life I want because I think it’ll get me something I think I’ll want down the road.

The future is uncertain. Always. Regardless of a current sacrifice, I can never be sure anything specific will happen later. So why make a sacrifice at all?Unless there’s a good certain reason to do so. “Dying alone?” Sign me up if that’s my path. As long as I am happy, people will want to be around me. I reject that fear completely.

I should also say I learned the saying “Safety Third” at Burning Man. Just something you’d hear, here and there. It resonated with me and inspires a smirk or giggle.

So thanks for reading; I will unapologetically keep having a blast. Safety Third.

Dirtybird Campout