Monday, October 4, 2010

Security in the Jungle of Life

Several times over the past month my friend Chuck has observed how important security is to me.  Security in business and knowing I'll have a paycheck.  Security in relationships and knowing friends and business partners will have my back, just as I'll always have theirs.  Security with my savings account and knowing it's building and not dwindling.  Security in love and knowing that any man with whom I fall in love is free to love me back.  He's right, of course, on all counts.  However there is something to be said for having too much security in life.  I'm starting to learn that security is an illusion.  I'm not sure it really ever exists. We often cling to our daily routines, afraid of taking any risks for fear of losing some of that perceived security.    Unfortunately, too much routine breeds boredom, and too much boredom breeds depression.  I've been a victim of this toxic cycle many times in my life, which ironically peaked when I had the "glamorous" job of making Hollywood films for over 13 years.  It was supposed to be exciting work, but instead I felt dead inside.  
2005:  With Fellow Amazon Research Volunteers

My solution was typically over-the-top Christine:  I ran away to the Peruvian Amazon rainforest for 3 weeks on a hardcore conservation research trip.  It was dirty, sweaty, buggy, hot, humid, exhausting...and I loved every minute of it.  My love of the Amazon was born and I followed that initial trip with 2 subsequent trips to the jungle.  Escaping from everyday routine into the rainforests has been my drug for years to make me feel alive.

2007:  Observing monkeys in Costa Rica
Of course, most people aren't able, and don't need, to take extreme steps out of their comfort zone to start feeling alive again.   Study after study has shown that mental stimulation can improve brain function and actually protect against cognitive decline.  It also spices up one's life.  Taking a risk and doing something out of one's routine can be as simple as driving a new route to work, or moving the sofa from one side of the living room to the other.  A woman once told me that when she feels "stuck" she'll sleep with her head at the foot of the bed in order to break the cycle.

2008:  With Angela, visiting a remote Amazon village

Like any drug, my jungle expeditions were a temporary fix to a life that I found stagnant and dull.  Now, not only am I unable to afford a trip to the Amazon, but I am seeking a more permanent change to feeling lost and without direction.  Oddly, packing up my Prius and hitting the U.S. roads with Yoda for 2.5 months seems a much bigger risk than any of my jungle trips.   There is no security in what I am doing.  None.  No guarantee I'll find my way, no guarantee I'll find myself.  All I know is that since making the decision to take a risk and leave Los Angeles on a road trip, I've had bursts of optimism that the future will be okay and I have increasing confidence that at the end of it all I'll find myself exactly where I am meant to be.

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