I heard and shared this phrase many times throughout my life. More often when we were celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, a success or even the chance to escape somewhere in the world. Travelling... what a lovely and distant memory.... Oh well, let's get back to the moment.
"Live the moment".
One short phrase that can be translated in so many different ways according to what you are experiencing on that specific moment, wouldn't you agree?
I was trying to give my own meaning to it last night as I was thinking of my life back in 2001 and recording my first episode of my podcast Crash Victim Life Survivor. I chose this title because in 2001 that was exactly what I was doing. Living the moment, not worrying about what the future holds. While I travelled back in time, a memory came back of a carefree day I had about 3-4 weeks before my car crash.
Summer time in Greece. July 2001.
It was a beautiful warm day and we were spending the day with friends at a beach bar in Chalkidiki.
Young and happy, careless and adventurous we were having fun.
I was relaxing on a sun bed by the pool enjoying my lemon ice tea, my favorite drink at the time, while everyone around me was jumping in and out of the pool, dancing and drinking coctails and beers. We were there with friends. Christina and Stavro, Eliza and Konstantino, Olga and Pano.
We were having so much fun.. relaxing was fun!
As I was relaxing on a sun bed, enjoying the warm sun on my bare skin, trying to get an even sun tan, I heard some loud excited voices. I turned around to see what was all the noise about.
At the other end of the beach bar, I saw a few men setting up an aerial work platform (man lift) very close to the pool and for a moment I was puzzled!
Why would the owner of the beach bar, have workers coming in on a Sunday, when the place is packed with people, to do work?
When I saw one of the men setting up a table, carrying some forms and a camera, I quickly realized that work had nothing to do with the work aerial platform. On the contrary, they were preparing something fun! And my friends were the first to run over and check what they were planning. I chose to remain in my seat, enjoy my book and some quiet moments.
But those quiet moments didn't last long. Suddenly I heard some screams that were soon followed by loud laughter! I turned my head and saw a couple, hugging tightly while they hang upside down, connected to the aerial platform with an elastic cord and bouncing around, yelling with excitement BUNGEEEE!
I stood up to take a better look, blocking with one hand the sun off my eyes and to my surprise I saw that the couple bouncing around was my friends Eliza and Constantinos. I had to have a closer look, so I gathered my stuff and walked over. By then Eliza and Constantinos were safe on the ground and Stavros was the next getting ready to attempt a bungee jump.
My first thoughts were that they were crazy!
But as I was seeing their excitement and big smiles on their faces, the idea of attempting a bungee jump myself, started to grow on me. I was still hesitant but when someone turned around and said "Just live the moment" I made the decision to jump..
Ten minutes later I was sitting on a chair, having one guy giving me instructions and one guy tying my legs together and connecting me to the elastic cord.
"-You will stand at the edge of the platform, DO NOT look down!
-I will count to three and then say "GO".
-When you hear the word "GO", you will let go of the bars and just fall.
-DO NOT JUMP!!
-Keep your hands in fists and live the moment. OK?"
Ok I said, and run his words in my mind a few times as I was hopping around like a bunny to get to and on the platform. We then started to slowly rise to reach the desired height.
What took a few minutes, felt like hours and my second thoughts started to kick in. The excitement was wearing off and my inner voice was working overtime.
-What are you doing?
-What if the elastic cord breaks?
-What if your head smashes at the bottom of the pool?
-What if your arms get tangled to the elastic cord?
- What if....
The questions where popping around my mind like mushrooms but I felt like I had no time to react or back off. Plus I was too emabaressed to admit that I was scared. We reached the height we were aiming for, 45 meters above ground. He looked at me and said
I silently nodded.. then the phrase that apparently was their business motto followed.
"-Live the moment" and he started counting..
I did what he told me to do, and I was gone...
Here I am, 20 years later sharing the experience I lived at that moment, and I am well! But I took a huge risk that day and I don't even know where to start from. I trusted my life and safety to 2 young guys that I never knew or heard of before, and followed their motto "live the moment". I am so grateful for surviving that moment.
This is me in the picture.
When all was done and over with, I felt
alive and happy! If you would ask me then why I was so happy , I am not sure what my aswer would be. Was I happy because I enjoyed the thrill of the whole thing, or because I was still breathing?
For the days that followed, and with the feeling of excitement still vivid, I knew not to share my actions with my parents and family members.
They knew better than to risk their own personal safety.
As years progressed and I experienced the results of not following safety regulations, I can say that I really regret attempting bungee Jumping on that day.
Yes, I survived and I wasn't injured, but I was influenced by this phrase that we so commonly use and I casually trusted my safety to strangers, without checking if they were qualified or certified to run this business of extreme sports.
Was my safety their main concern? There were high risks of injury and I chose to overlook them.
Bungee jumping injuries can happen if the safety harness fails, the cord length is miscalculated, or the cord is not properly connected to the jump platform. Did I check any of these before I jumped? NO!
There are also Injuries that occur despite safety measures and they relate to the abrupt rise in upper body intravascular pressure during bungee cord recoil. Eyesight damage is frequently reported. Impaired eyesight to retinal haemorrhage may take several weeks to resolve. Whiplash injuries may occur as the jumper is jolted on the bungee cord with the worse case scenario ending to a broken neck. More injuries have been recorded like carotid artery dissection and let's skip mentioning what can happen if any body parts get entangled in the cord.
All of these injuries have occurred in fit and healthy people in their twenties and thirties.
These are scary facts!
So ask me now If I would live the moment of letting go and jump off a bucket, from 45 meters above ground, to bounce around for a few seconds connected to an elastic cord.
I believe you know the answer..
Our safety should be our main concern so we don't just live the moment but live also the moments that follow.