Ever since my awakening to my life's purpose, I've been more sensitive to messages and winks the universe sends my way. There was that time a Mark Twain quote knocked me off the cinema seat figuratively while watching The Equalizer. There was also that time I found some wisdom in Insidious: Chapter 3. Also, watching Moana made me cry silently inside the giant, dim room of the theater as the song "How Far I'll Go" tugged at my soulstrings. You see, I'm no stranger to experiencing pseudo-psychic and "New Age-ish" lightbulb moments while watching a film. It happened to me again last Monday when I watched Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
The lightbulb moment arrived just before the film's climax when Fridge, Kevin Hart's character, and Spencer, Dwayne Johnson's character, had their "moment of truth" conversation (spoilers ahead). Spencer had just lost his second life inside Jumanji after getting attacked and killed by jaguars on their way to the game's final level. Fearing he might get killed again and lose his final life, resulting in permanent extinction inside Jumanji and possibly in his real life, he had a sudden hesitation in pursuing the end of their mission. Making his newfound fear known to Fridge, Spencer revealed (not verbatim), "It's easy to be brave when you've got many lives but it's hard to take risks when you've got only one left."
Of course, he had a point. He could act brave again and get ripped apart by the jungle cats. Poof! Gone! Bye, bye, Spencer! Game over. But Fridge countered him (not verbatim too), "Isn't that what we're doing (in real life) anyway?" Spark! There went my lightbulb moment.
Bravery and taking risks have been two of the themes in my writing career. My decision to venture into the land of words and grammar wasn't made in a confident jiffy. Doubts and fears stood as obstacles in the way. First, I already had a different career I'd been in for a decade. Was it really worthy to pursue another one? Second, I was a rookie in the writing world. Yeah, I wrote some fan fiction that got good responses in some forum many years ago but outside of that I had no experience in public writing. But three years later after I made that decision to go, I can say, "Fuck fear. Screw it."
I pursued my writing career because it would give my life the meaning it lacked. I pursued my writing career because it was what I knew in my heart was my purpose. I pursued my writing career because it's what makes me feel alive. Yeah, it's not all sunshine and rainbows then and even now. But I have never woken up a single day anymore asking myself, "What is there to live for?"
Sometimes, we see a stranger we're attracted to. But we're afraid of rejection so we don't even try to talk to them. That person could've been the love of our lives and we miss out.
Or we go to a theme park with friends and marvel at the big, scary rides. But we're afraid a Final Destination-type of mishap would happen so we don't go on the ride. We miss out on the excitement, confidence, and memory the ride could've given us.
Or we believe writing is our life's calling. But since we don't know anyone in the industry and there's no solid plan for us to follow, we brush our dream aside and continue with a life we don't want to end up with in the first place. We miss out on a fulfilling and promising life that would help us reach our true potential.
Not me, baby. I ate an imaginary bravery pie and took risks. Some things paid off, some didn't, and some I'm still waiting to see how they pan out. But I can assure this: I have no regrets. I can only imagine if I hesitated back then. I wouldn't have a website, a novel, and a short stories collection under my name. Worse, guilt and regret would eat me from inside making my life miserable because I didn't stay true to my heart.
The scene in the movie had a now-or-never element to it. Had Spencer still chose to let fear overrule him, they might have died in Jumanji anyway, in the hands of the villain and his henchmen who were coming after them. Though there aren't any madman and bike-riding goons going after us in real life, there's still a subtle now-or-never element present. Every little choice we make shapes our future. Do we let fear cripple us in small and big ways? Or do we start being brave now and take risks until it becomes second nature?