Do You Have A Death Wish!?

Those were the words uttered by my aunt. My dad let me drive his car around my grandparent's property, him sitting in the passenger seat. When I went to reverse, might I add in the direction of her house, I gave it a little too much gas, but hit the brakes fast enough. I was maybe 6 or 7 at the time.

In the realm of things, it was probably a terrible idea. Then again, it taught me an important lesson: my dad really is crazy.

When I was a teenager in Cincinnati, we lived in a townhouse complex. For years, we'd enjoy hiking through the woods behind us until they replaced the trees with $500,000 homes. As construction was happening, my friends and I would sneak into the homes and check things out.

We never did any damage or stole anything, though one kid from up the street did throw a big ass rock through the window of a truck once. After that, they had security guys set up at the entrance every night. We ended up just sneaking around them, and never got caught.

In the heat of summer when grass was dying and rain was needed, we'd go to this old abandoned property, and start a small bonfire in one of the fields far enough back that no one could see us. Only you can prevent forest fires.

When I was 18, I thought I could overcome my diabetes solely through exercise. It backfired tremendously, and I was in the hospital several days for diabetic ketoacidosis. Now that was a death wish.

On December 3rd, 2014, I arrived in San Diego on vacation. On January 12th, I was moved into a new apartment in Ocean Beach. I'm consistently reminded that California doesn't have much time left because A) Massive earthquake is coming and B) Water will soon run out. Valid points, but I'll take my chances.

Maybe I do have a death wish. Maybe the choices and decisions I make don't always benefit me or the people around me. That's life, and life is full of risk. The decisions we make will lead us somewhere, and that path is rarely clearly defined.

I don't expect to ever be the smartest, the most attractive or most successful. I don't expect to always be right, and I sure as hell don't expect every day to be great. But I know that not doing something and sitting still is the biggest death wish of them all.

Photo credit: Shawn Carpenter

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