People often ask me why I do these things and, I suppose, they rarely get a satisfactory answer. Am I crazy? Do I enjoy hardship and suffering? If I like pain so much than why don't I just do the Eco-Challenge then spend my birthday partying like everyone else?
This is because my reasons, like my life, are constantly changing. The beauty of a birthday challenge is that you can tailor something that is just for you, depending upon your feeling or mood at any place in your life. One year you may focus on a personal strength, the next on a weakness. You may choose it to be physical, mental, or a combination of both. It can be one, short hard task or a year-long epic. It's entirely up to you; and because of this, you can end up challenging yourself like no event tailored for the masses could ever do.
One of the things I always focus on is thumbing my nose at convention. Having someone say "You can't do that" is a great motivator. The reason is because I believe that we, as a society, have become too obsessed with living our lives on someone else's terms. We have become scared to do things our own way because others may frown on it, or worse, we may get hurt, lose some possessions, or our societal standing.
Our motto at birthdaychallenge.com is Live Your Life because, at least in our opinion, too many of us have become too frightened to follow our dreams. We live our lives in fear, but I'm always wondering just what is it that we fear. Failure? Losing? Pain? Suffering? These are all part of life. These things add experience, they make our lives rich, fulfilling, they make us human.
Like Captain Kirk said, "I don't want my pain taken away, I need my pain."
With no pain, there is no struggle, no struggle, no rewards, and if no rewards, then why bother living at all?
The good captain also said, "I take it the situation is grim and the odds are against us. Sounds fun." Because challenge is fun. Pain is fun. Suffering is fun. Why? Because when it ends it gives you a perspective on life you couldn't otherwise have. The only thing that isn't fun is sitting around thinking about the things you may have been able to do if you'd gotten off your ass and tried. That is the only suffering that I can't endure.
You can't always control your day to day life, but most of us can control at least control one day a year.
Sure, this doesn't have to happen on your birthday it's as good as an excuse as any. After all, it's the day you came into this world, it's a great time to start living in it.