The back collar of our misbehaving child's jacket. Tangled iPhone earbuds. Rancid coleslaw farts. Fear. What do these things have in common? They are all things we need to learn to let go of in our lives. If we don't, we will forever be trapped by a false sense of our own limitations.
When we open our hearts, souls, and minds and let go of fear, something magical happens: we find ourselves on the thrilling precipice of new horizons of personal growth and stupidity.
Fortunately, if you live in Alaska, it's easy to breathe deeply and finally let go of fear once and for all by doing really dumb shit here. When you're totally unprepared for the elements, in way over your head, and ultimately don't give a sewer rat's asshole whether you live or die, Alaska provides the perfect backdrop to let go of fear and own the Truth of your own idiotic recklessness.
Here are five great ways to let go of fear and find true peace and happiness by doing a bunch of really dumb shit right here on the Last Frontier.
1. Work as a deckhand on a crab boat in the Bering Sea despite never having been on a boat on any sea or handled a living crab: Have you seen Deadliest Catch? (It's scary, right)? Have you ever been on the Bering Sea? Or touched a live king crab? No? (FYI: They weigh more than a baby and are surprisingly sharp and squirmy). As you stand on the deck of a commercial fishing boat being blasted with freezing spray in 10-foot seas, with a half dozen metal crab pots each the size of a double-wide trailer rocking perilously close to your head, and retching over the rail with a violence matched only by the 75 knot winds tossing you from bow to stern like a rag doll, just remember: it's all in your head. You are your own worst enemy, because your fear is the only thing holding you back from being a complete and total fucking jackass who needs to be rescued by the Coast Guard.
2. Go skiing in April in the back-country with no avalanche gear or training: If you've never been pummeled by an avalanche, you've never truly known fear. And if you already know how to dig yourself out of an avalanche and own the shovel and beacon to do so successfully, you're not really challenging yourself. Which is why you should go back-country skiing in April when the snow pack is especially unstable, preferably with an obnoxious and skittish dog who will chase a porcupine, bark loudly, and trigger a massive slab of snow to come barreling down off a cliff 40 feet over your head at 120 mph. As each of your bodily orifices fills tightly with snow and pine needles, you can suffocate knowing you have finally known and let go of your deepest fears, you stupid fucking fuck.
3. Buy a house: Go ahead. Just do it! Assuming you still have a job "in this economy," take that leap of faith and sink your life savings into something that will probably be totally worthless in four years. As tumbleweeds blow past the barren oil fields and derelict refineries of the North Slope, you can take heart knowing that the only limit to your own idiocy is your imagination, which cleverly devises new ways to do irreversibly dumb shit here each and every day.
4. Buy a used skiff with an outboard motor having zero knowledge of skiffs or water; follow it up with ride in your friend's float plane: Taking an open skiff into the fjord-dotted waters of Alaska is to confront fear on a new level, especially if you didn't take a boating class, lack a working GPS, fail to respect the quickly-changing weather, are not wearing a float coat, and generally act like a suicidal moron who is tempting fate with your lack of fear. Only then will you finally uproot your fear and let the circumstances around you--namely a small craft advisory from NOAA--take charge. Assuming you survive this, the following week hitch a ride as a passenger with your friend who just got his license to fly a float plane, and wants to see how it performs in a storm.
5. Go for a hike and don't tell anyone where you're going: Rub your face in raw salmon juice, dab some peanut butter behind your ears, and tromp into bear country with nothing but the shirt on your back, leaving no indication to anyone of where you're headed or when you'll return. Only the Universe knows if you'll live or die, so why worry? Worrying is futile. Be vulnerable. Trust in Karma to guide you safely home, or not. Let your own lack of preparedness and utter fucking foolishness nourish your soul into finally letting go of fear forever.