I’m cursed with the ability to see all sides of most arguments, putting me in a paralyzing equivocation hold. I understand people’s concern about an “underage” “child”, but it’s exactly at that age we are the strongest, quickest and most agile.
I pulled some incredible stunts in my teens; mostly unknown to my parents; and I got away with them. At age 12, I was sailing a dinghy alone between coves at Catalina Island, hobnobbing with commercial fishermen and generally exploring the place. At 14, I rode a bicycle over mountains and deserts 120 miles, sleeping on the ground and drinking from windmill pumps. At 17, I lied about my age and drove sprint cars, crashing seriously a few times. I climbed Mt. Whitney and Mt. Fuji. At 18, I went to war.
I came as close as one can to dying many times, but never did. My wife’s younger brother wasn’t so lucky; he died on a motorcycle at age 15. Many young daredevils don’t make it. There are no lessons to be learned or glory to be recalled in death. And responsible parents do their best to deliver their children into adulthood alive and healthy.
But risk is an inherent part of life; there are no guarantees for any of us. One would think the safest place is in bed, until we remember that that’s where most of us die. So we get up and go out into the world, and plan to arrive safely home again, knowing we may not. I spent most of my life collecting memories, and although I regret some, I am glad for the ones I have. Whether I would recommend those risks to my own children, I can’t say. There’s that paralyzing equivocation thing again…
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