I had a tattoo session recently where my friend as well as tattoo artist Jayce and I got to talking about all the stupid shit I signed myself up for as a kid.

We got to talking about this because I legitimately was about to jump into another stupid idea on a whim. Graham, another artist at the shop who I have gotten to know pretty decently over the last ~40 hours at All Sacred — made mention of something. He just blurted out while Jayce was adjusting his machine for going too fast –

“You should just do it. Check it out, get tatted with it going that fast.”

I responded without a second thought:

“Fuck it, why not? Let’s do it.” — though immediately pivoted and asked a pertinent question,

“Wait, if you actually try to tattoo me is it going to mess up the tattoo?” There is no stupid questions, only stupid answers — but I think we all know the answer I got to that question.

I told Jayce to just keep working on his stellar artwork and we’ll revisit the idea after the session, because I truly was interested.

I was interested because it was an experience I had not gone through before.

This is a very big part of my personality that I very much embrace within some bounds of personal safety. The motto “try everything once” is a creed I believe in.

I believe we can often gain wisdom and learn more through life experience than anything else. And the more we experience the more we can gain empathy and be able to put ourselves in one’s shoes.

Growing up I opted to do things like take an XL water balloon sling at full blast in the back — point blank.

I opted to to be taped in a cardboard box and slid down a flight of stairs, rolled down Niblick Dr. in a garbage can, as well as sled over a large cactus patch (we all did that one, multiple times).

My earliest memory of something like this — I don’t think I could have been much older than four or five. My cousin Kevin who is a little over a year older than me and absolutely brilliant, convinced me of a grand farce.

If I were to ride my Mongoose bicycle down my grandparent’s wooden stairs a magical fish would give me three wishes. I’m not sure where he got the idea of a fish, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t matter what he told me. All I needed was a cool thing to do and a reason to do it.

One thing I need to mention about the stairs, and this memory. They led to my grandparent’s driveway down a very acutely angled hill. The driveway is not very wide, and the stairs are perpendicular to it.

Did I mention there was a flatbed trailer on the opposite side and a partition of very old, very stoic pine trees behind that?

You can see where this is going from here. I ended up flying ass over handlebars across the flatbed to land softly in a bed of pine and branches. Thankfully young children don’t have much mass, so I got a scrape here and there as well as a way cool story.

Actually, how could I forget when my brother had me take the snow tube down the back of the house? I hit a log going at a decent whip and backflipped into an olympian-like landing.

I was two years old.

Story after story keeps popping into my head but I think I’ve illustrated enough here. This is a part of my personality that I now know I was born with. My experiences go beyond daredevil nonsense though, and that is just one of the extremes that I had the penchant to explore.

I want to share my experiences traveling the world and exploring different cultures from as early as five years old.

I think one of the greatest things my family ever did was move outside of the United States to live in Asia and discover the planet. My father took an opportunity to succeed and support his family in a promotion that meant he had to leave the U.S. behind — and he packed up his family with it.

This was in 1995 and he was working for PictureTel which was working on (and succeeding at) video conferencing over the internet before the majority of people even had it. We moved to Hong Kong and our lives were never the same. It was the 1990s, which I think in the future will be remembered a lot like the roaring 1920s. What I mean by this is when we moved to Hong Kong PictureTel didn’t just set us up there and that’s where we stayed 100% of the time.

PictureTel regularly paid for my father to take his entire family with him across countries and continents.

Places like Australia, Bali, the UK, France, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines (though we couldn’t leave the resort), & Thailand. All before I turned 9 years old. I think there’s a couple more in there I am missing, but just those blow my mind when I think about it.

With those three years in my early childhood alone I had seen and experienced more parts of the world and more cultures than most people will ever get to. This gave me a level of wisdom about acceptance and tolerance for those different than me that is now just inherent in me. I cannot understand not being accepting and tolerable of those different than you. When it comes to race, religion, rehabilitation, gender, sexual preference, personality disorder, mental illness, learning disability, birth defect, or beyond. If it is not affecting another person directly, negatively, I believe “Live and Let Live” to be a commandment of life we should live by.

It is my thirst for experience that gives me a lot of happiness in life.

It has also handed me plenty of strife. However, the biggest lesson I learned from reading “What the Buddha Taught” is that Life is Suffering. We cannot have the good without the bad. We cannot feel what truly makes this world and this life beautiful without understanding and experiencing what makes it dark and foreboding.

That doesn’t mean you need my experiences. Everyone’s are their own. But we do need to try and glean as much knowledge and wisdom about our experiences as we grow so we can continue to learn from them. All of them, not just the ones we like to remember to make ourselves feel better.

The ones we remember whether we want to or not.

I leave you by repeating this:

I believe we can often gain wisdom and learn more through life experience than anything else. And the more we experience the more we can gain empathy and be able to put ourselves in one’s shoes.

Thank you for reading.

©2017 Trevor Elms
Photo by John Elms

11 thoughts on “Experiences.

  1. Love your stories….would love to hear about what you have experienced with perhaps a good friend from MA. I bet those are great stories your readers would love to hear : )

    Like

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