I don’t remember where I picked up this sentence, but it it was an encouragement saying that if you do things that make you uncomfortable, “you will either have a good time or a good story.” There was something very positive and open-minded about this statement, so it stayed in my mind for some time. Yet after a while, I realized that the two are not mutually exclusive. You can have both a good time and a good story.
I like this statement because it encourages me to take risks and it reduces the anxiety that would normally come with it. You certainly need to have a healthy level of “good faith” to soothe your concerns with a simple belief like that… but isn’t that exactly what religions require you to do as well?
So the reason why this sentence has been on my mind again lately is because I was given the opportunity to do something out of the norm. Something that made me feel uncomfortable at first, and which made me look for 573 reasons not to do it – even though the adventurous part of me was really eager to just jump on the opportunity. More specifically, it was an invitation to join someone on a trip to an exotic location. Someone I didn’t know, but someone who was equally crazy and courageous to ask me in the first place.
“Is it crazy if I ask you to join”? I was asked. I paused for a minute or two, and then responded: “Yes it is. In a good way. So... when are we leaving?” And while I was committing to the unknown, to the possibility that this might be a massive disappointment, and to the risk of regretting my decision, I just told myself that at the end of the tunnel, there is either a good time, or a good story. And if I’m lucky, there is actually both. So I went.
And truth be told, this wasn’t the first time I signed up for unexpected and spontaneous ideas or invitations. Yet looking back, there are none that I truly regret. In these moments when I was standing face to face with everything that made my uncomfortable, it was a simple believe like this that allowed to take the risk and carry myself through the experience with a positive and open-minded attitude. And at the end of it, I looked back on a good time and a good story. I made new friends, I got to experience a new place, and I pushed myself to do something I was uncomfortable with.
As I’m approaching the end of my 20s – I’m turning 30 in December – I have become very reflective about this past decade and all the things I did or did not do. The way I think about the past 10 years is sort of a proxy for how I will one day be looking back on my entire life, wondering what life story I wrote. At the end of it all, our life story will be the sum of all the individual decisions that we took. And with that, I want to make sure I take more decisions that allow me to have a good time and a good story.