She's been doing a lot of thinking. About life and her place in it. About what she wants. What she dreams of. What makes her truly happy.
Her question inspires me. I decide to do an experiment. Today, I'm going to live without the emergency brake. Full speed ahead without holding back. What have we got to lose?
To me, the brakes represent fear. Holding back when we might otherwise take action. Hesitation. Doubt. Second guessing ourselves. I'm going to boycott it for 24 hours and share the results with you.
This is not a reckless bout of manic irresponsibility. I don't aim to disrespect other people. I will live within our codes and rules, but without my self-imposed brakes.
Wish me luck.
07:09 a.m. "GOOD MORNING!" It's coming from the neighbor's backyard. A construction worker is about to get a very early start for a Saturday morning. I was told they'd start at 08:30. I hear the first hammering around 07:30. This was not the deal. I fly out of bed and bound downstairs, the blood racing through my veins.
Here's when I'd normally pull the emergency brake to avoid confrontation. But not today.
I ring her doorbell and speak my mind. Apparently I'm giving off a bit of an angry vibe because she says, "you're angry". I ask her to please keep her promises and walk back to my house. To her credit, the builders shut the fuck up until exactly 08:30 at which time they promptly start banging away (which is their right, for sure).
When I get home I feel...proud. I spoke my mind. Stood up for my principles, however minor. Life without the emergency brake.
07:28 I send the following Swagger text to my client Patrick: "today we live without putting on the brakes. Full speed ahead without holding back. What have we got to lose?" Normally, I'd send something a little more 'sensible'. More 'teachery'. But that's not how I'm rolling today. He texts back 2 minutes later, "very good one Dave. I like this one very much. What have we got to lose!?" Life without the emergency brake.
08:00 I'm writing my new book. It's about my drug addiction and recovery. It's no easy task, I promise you. Normally, I might downplay a certain story in an attempt to make it more decent. More palatable for a reader. But not today. I end up writing about the day we made our own fake ID's and got shitfaced in a biker bar. Life without the emergency brake.
08:58. We're in a hurry. Swimming lessons. Gotta buy a birthday present for the party later. Gotta comb the boys hair for lice (again!). Normally, I'd blow my top and scream at the boys. I often get angry when I'm afraid. But not today. Today I'm not afraid. The worst that can happen is we're late. So I try this one instead, "Mickey and Timo, have I told you boys how much I love you today? Bigger than the whole world." It might sound corny now, but it was a genuine moment. They heard me. You should try it with the ones you love.
11.04 Timo's in the pool having his lesson. I'm with Mickey at the club's restaurant. I order a coffee. When you order a coffee in Holland, you get a cookie. One cookie. Mickey asks me to ask for two cookies. Instinctively, I say, "no Mick. One cookie". But I stop myself. Why not, two cookies? I ask the guy for two. "Sure" he answers, handing them over. Life without the emergency brakes.
14.15 A few months ago we started a new band called Burning Flames of Fire. We've had three proper rehearsals. I love this band. I couldn't be happier with these musicians. I'm so excited about it. Normally, this excitement would make me fearful. What if I freak them out by coming on too strong? What if somebody's not into it? What if I'm not good enough? What if we don't get any gigs? The questions of a counterproductive mind. Today, though, I decide to reach out. I wanna tell them how happy I am about our little thing. The safe play would be a Facebook message or a Twitter DM. Can't do that, right? So I call. I get Sanne the drummer on the phone. I tell him how I feel. He feels the same way. Sweet. I leave a message for Aafke, telling her that I love working with her. I can't get Pascal on the phone because he's in Portugal but I'll tell him the same when he gets back to NL. Life without the emergency brake.
17:28 We've got a couple of hours while the kids are at parties. We go to town. Instead of the normal cafes, we try two new ones. The second one is actually a restaurant, so I'm not sure if they do afternoon cappuccinos. Normally, I wouldn't try. Today, I bound right in. The owner, a true professional if ever there was one, sits us at a cozy table by the window. We're perfectly positioned to peacefully watch the city glide by on a Saturday afternoon. It's sublime. Life without the brakes.
19:24 I'm here at my Mac, typing this post. So far it's 866 words. Pretty long. Normally, I'd worry about how it's too long and nobody will want to read it. Normally I might doubt whether I should post again so soon. Am I overdoing it by writing too much? Not today. By now you know what I'm gonna do. I type on, knowing I'm writing this because it makes me happy to write this. If you read it, I'm thrilled. If you don't I'm still thrilled.
Life without the emergency brakes.
And it's not even dark out yet. Tonight, I'll take off the brakes by telling my beautiful wife how gorgeous she is, and how I'm the luckiest man alive to be with her. Who knows where that may lead...
My friends, unless you're about to slam into a wall, take off the brakes. It's worth it.
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