Must Dash

I liked the idea from a quote from Dustin Hoffman about living your life to the full. It said that when you die, on your tombstone is written the date of your birth, a dash, and then the date of your death. Essentially, you have to live the dash, although this might lead to all sorts of connotations for relatively normal expressions. ‘Just dashing off’ might mean ‘I’m going to tackle Kilimanjaro’.

How you live the dash is a matter for thought. It’s been said that you should do something scary every day. Such a high frequency might be quite difficult to maintain so I wonder if every week would do, perhaps every Thursday. If you did something frightening on a different day of the week, it might count as being twice as scary because it was out of your routine.

Mid-week terror might be difficult to achieve if you had to pop out at lunch to abseil down the office building before returning for a business office meeting wide-eyed, breathless, hair on end, facing deep suspicion about what you might have been up to. Although facing some conference rooms might be scary enough to count for the next Thursday as well. Can you bank scary? Projecting ahead? Should there be rules, or does that make it less frightening?

I feel it could be scary to do something like sail the Atlantic, but on the other hand I’d find it pretty frightening just sailing out of Poole Harbour on a blustery day. Subjective whooohness. So would it count if you did only did part of something frightening? How about beginner’s lion taming? Or ambulance driving, part one? Speaking to the mother-in-law episode 432? Or finding out that she’d read this. Now that would be pretty scary; if she does, I’ll be terror sorted til Christmas.
Alison Gardiner


About alisongardiner1

Writer of YA series of books. Broadcaster/podcaster Litopia After Dark.
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