Life is being on the wire. Everything else is just waiting.
One of the things about writing a column like this – or writing anything, really – is you must have practical experience in what you are writing about. This is why we don’t produce columns on auto repair or sailing: we know nothing about them. However, when we write about following our hearts and trusting our instincts or run a quote about being on the wire and nothing else mattering, well, we have significant experience in these matters and are fully qualified to write about them.
We’ve run this quote before in this feature, including earlier this week, but for those seeing this for the first time, Rick Wallenda is a tightrope walker and he comes from a family that has long been associated with tightrope walking. For those of us who do not walk tightropes for fun being on the wire means being in a situation where your very best is required. It could be something that comes up unexpectedly or something you’ve long planned and worked for.
We have experience being on the wire, most of it is in sports officiating. We’re mostly retired now, but we had an accomplished and satisfying high school officiating career. When we were on the wire in games that demanded our very best we delivered it, every single time and I’ll tell you what, once a man knows he can deliver his very best every time out, what else is there? It produces wonderful dividends of confidence that serves you well in every aspect of your life.
But sometimes you fall off the wire, like we did this past Tuesday night. We are the Libertarian Party nominee for Congress from our district (as we were in 2016; in 2014 we were their nominee for the United States Senate) and we participated in a candidate’s forum. Our opening and closing statements went over well, as they should have, but of the four questions we were asked, I was only able to answer one of them. There were questions on forestry, land use, water rights and something else I’ve forgotten. There was nothing on war, taxes, immigration, health care or anything else affecting our country’s long-term future, all of which I was prepared to talk about. It was a disaster.
Success and failure are imposters that exist only in relation to one another, and you treat both crossing the wire and falling off the wire the same: you get up the next morning prepared to follow your path, ready to walk the next wire that comes up, unafraid of both making it across and falling off.
Quotes are from Gaylon’s personal quote book, begun in 1988 in a hotel room in Berkeley, California.