Angel Collinson: The Other 99%

We don’t want the pain, the grief, the frustration, the self-doubt. The lows that inevitably come with the highs. We don’t really want the full reality of life.

A friend of mine and Pete’s recently wrote us, “You can’t have the 10’s without the zero’s.”

The first time I blew my knee, my mentor, Sage Cattabriga-Alosa said, “You gotta have the lows to have the highs.”

And while we all know that to be true, we still want to avoid the lows at all costs.

We’re all junkies.

We’re all searching for that peak experience. The highest high. Our highest test score, the best powder day, our best performance. The time we actually lose ourself in our artistic endeavors and create a masterpiece. The most epic love-making session that defies what we previously knew about human connection. The time when we get lost in flow state in meditation, dance, creation, sports, you name it — when it all melts away and we ride a wave of temporary and blissful perfection.

And then it passes. And we are left with our mundane reality, the other 99% of our life.

It can feel depressing.

I live the life many people dream of, and yet, my peak experiences still constitute only 1% of my time. The rest is spent fixing mistakes, getting stuck in rainstorms, feeling hopeless or confused, scared, befuddled by new problems that continue to come up.

Yet I’m always holding out for the highs. Not obsessively, just humanly chasing them.
Trying to deal with coming down from them. Trying to avoid the low feeling that inevitably comes as the contrast after the high. Trying to avoid the void.

Can you relate?

And yet, it’s in the lows — in my pain — that’s where I remember our humanity. That’s where I remember we are all so similar, so human, so in need of connection. Coming up from my lows, I remember the beauty of life almost more profoundly than after my highs.

Pete and I have been busting our asses trying to get to the destination of “Cold beer, tropical paradise, buns in the sun, good vibes. Freedom.”

And a few days ago … we got it.

We were sitting in the cockpit with cold beers and fish tacos, skinny dipping and playing our tunes loud, anchored in sparkling turquoise water next to a white sand beach in a bay with no one around, the golden sun kissing our bare skin. And we were like, “Holy Shit. We’re doing it. This moment — right now — is a peak experience. We’ve worked hard for two years dreaming of moments like this exact one.”

And it felt so sweet to realize that in the moment: This is as good as life can get right now! This is what we have been striving for, sweating for, crying for, sacrificing for! And I’m being honest when I say it took us two years to get here. I say this because I think from the outside, (or at least, it’s what I imagined going into this) that such moments would constitute the majority of the time. Our experience hasn’t been that.