My wife’s out celebrating her best friend’s birthday, and so it’s just me and my two-year-old son at home tonight. But he fell asleep a few hours ago, and so I’m relaxing with a Kahlua and Coke at my side, my wife’s Macbook Pro on my lap, and “Yes Man” on my television.
Okay, so I chose it so I could see Zooey Deschanel again. (It was a toss-up between this one and “(500) Days of Summer”.) But I also like the movie, and the way I feel when I finish watching it: I want to do that too.
No, I don’t want to learn Korean or fly a plane (I’m nervous enough being a passenger, let alone a pilot). And I’m not sure I’d ever have enough guts to bungee jump, although watching Jim Carrey do it for the first time makes me think it could be a lot of fun.
But I’d love to be able to play an instrument well (as opposed to the trial-and-error keyboard playing I do now). And I really like the idea of just going to the airport and flying to some random destination (even though I’d be digging my fingers into the armrest most of the way).
The thing is, I’ve never been much of a risk-taker. Sure, I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone a few times—jet skiing in Vanuatu, parasailing in Vila, competing in the Triple J Raw Comedy heats—but it doesn’t happen very often. If there’s a safer option, I’ll usually take it. Especially if it involves my son.
My wife has a nickname for me: Mister Safety. It’s a name I don’t always appreciate, but usually deserve. And one I’d dearly love to shake off.
So I think it’s time I started saying “Yes” instead of “Maybe”, which becomes “No” when the opportunity passes us by. It’s time to not just step out of my comfort zone, but to stay there.
Becoming a freelancer will certainly play a big part. Having a secure job with a secure pay cheque is nice, but after nearly 20 years in the same organisation (doing largely the same job) I feel as if I’m in not so much a routine as a rut. Hopefully freelancing will be a way to dig myself out.
But I want to go beyond that. I want to feel like I did when I was up in that parasail, and on that stage. And my wife is more than willing to look after our son on her own so I can do it. (She probably wants me to do this even more than I do.)
I wouldn’t mind giving stand-up comedy another go. It’s been a long time since I was up on stage, but if nothing else I have a lot more material to draw from now. There’s even a workshop here in Brisbane I could go to. (Trivia: I once interviewed the guy who runs it for a feature as part of my journalism course.)
I’ve also thought of trying my hand at Improv Comedy. (Yes, there’s a workshop for that too.) I love watching it (my wife took me to the finals for my birthday many years ago), and I think I’d enjoy it.
Of course, what would be great is if I could do all this stuff, and then write it up as a feature and get it published somewhere. If that happened I may even do that bungee jump just so I can write about it. I even know how the first paragraph will start.