X is for eXtreme

This series has been written about the ABCs of life in your twenties. And many great people have contributed and provided great insight to what life for a twenty-something is like these days. What I have not pointed out much though (this may go without saying), is that I am always talking about the twentysomethings of today. Our generation of twentysomethings is so different than those before us. Gen Y is all over the media and the blogosphere because of the difference we are making in the work force and in the world. My mother was a twentysomething in the sex, drugs, and rock and roll era, she was certainly not concerned about work/life balance.

Our generation has a continual struggle between balance and being completely overwhelmed because we are taking on too many things. Through all of these struggles of trying to be the best we sometimes stretch ourselves too thin and end up with little pieces of too many things. This is why I asked Lisa to write about going to extremes. I do not know Lisa personally but we communicate via the internet world fairly frequently. I know that Lisa is an athlete (actually a triathlete), and I know that being great at any sort of sport requires dedication and determination as well as a strong focus. Aside from her marathoning, I have seen Lisa’s sense of dedication through the 20 something bloggers network. So, I could think of no one better to present us with today’s lesson of taking life to the extreme.

This guest post was written by Lisa, a 3rd year engineering student in Canada, founder of 20sb, who blogs regularly at I Don’t Think It’s Going to Rain.

Yeah, yeah, I know: balance.

As 20 somethings we time-manage our way through life. We budget. We rationalize. We compromise.

That’s all fine and dandy. They say the species that are most likely to survive are those that are mediocre. Those that are most average. So sure, if your goal is purely survival, then find that balance and be mediocre.

We must overcome the notion that we must be regular…it robs you of the chance to be extraordinary and leads you to the mediocre.” –Uta Hagen

I think we’re continually held back from being exceptional due to a self inflicted sense of obligation to participate in everything.

We can peel off our socks and dip our toes in a hundred different pools of water… or we can choose a pool, sprint towards it, stumbling as we rip off our clothes, and cannon-ball in with a huge splash.

When is the last time you totally shirked a silly obligation to instead just GO FOR IT. (‘It’ being your dream)

Try it. Think of any commitment you currently have and say “Whatever” to it.

Think irrationally as an exercise.

Wouldn’t finishing a marathon feel great? Doesn’t eating only pizza and diet Coke for 2 weeks while you cram hardcore for exams make for the best stories? Wouldn’t digging wells in Africa for three years be sort of the most fun thing you can think of? Isn’t following through on a dare to watch an entire season of 24 in 24 hours sort of exhilarating?

I seriously doubt that your favorite Olympian skips practice every so often so that they don’t feel like they let a friend down by missing her pre-baby-shower shower. And that CEO and founder of that starting-to-become-successful startup surely cares more about getting this company off the ground than she does about unwinding by spending 2 hours in the kitchen honing her honey baked ham recipe.

I’m not suggesting that you abandon your friends and intentionally lead a stressful life. I’m merely proposing that we COMMIT. That we STICK TO IT.

Find something that you are desperately passionate about and go to whatever extremes you can for it. Chase the adrenaline rush.

Stop caring about things you don’t actually care about. There’s time enough for everything else later.

There’ll be time enough for sleeping when we’re dead
You will have a velvet pillow for your head
But tonight I think I’d rather just go dancing
There’ll be time enough for sleeping when we’re dead, my love

-Time Enough for Rocking When We’re Old, by the Magnetic Fields

Why do we put such pressure on ourselves to be everything? Small doses of everything. Just enough to be mediocre in all areas of our life.

I vote that “all things in moderation” is a load of crap.

Be something to the extreme. Be it as hard as you can. Go. Do. Be!

Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting “Holy shit … what a ride!” –Anonymous

If I were to do something extreme, outrageous it would be to pursue singing as a career. At the moment I’m still to practical for that, but that is a dream of mine. What is your extreme?

6 thoughts on “X is for eXtreme

  1. i’ve definitely had that same dream, (singing career) and even asked my hubby to help me make a solo album.

    my other dream would be to stop with this half and half workload thing and commit to the freelance thing full-time. however, right now, i think what i’m doing is the smartest thing i can do!

  2. Sometimes I wish I was less practical. I’d totally go be an actress. Darn me and my good decision making.

  3. I’d like to leave everything and move away to write an epic novel. I’d live in Venice, Italy among the canals and small alleyways in a small loft apt. It’s slightly reckless and definitely idealistic.

  4. Years ago I had a then-realistic dream of competing for Canada in the 2010 Olypics as a Boardercross racer. Unfortunately this is tough and expensive to train for when the nearest hill has a vertical of about 200 ft! Snowboarding is a fun hobby now :)

  5. Since my senior year is winding down, I have looked back and realized I have stretched myself pretty thin. I have loved every moment and have learned how to take on different roles, but I wasn’t always following my true passions. I have always wanted to be an actress.

    We need more people to be “extreme.” Maybe our world would be a better place!

  6. My extreme is to do the challenge of the MS150, where you ride your bicycle from Frisco to Fort Worth.

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