ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: What it Feels Like to Live Life on the Edge

By Iwona Awlasewicz // As Told to Eleni Sakas and Alexandra Johnson


Eleni Sakas

English teacher Iwona Awlasewicz hangs off the edge of a wall, just like how she lives life on edge.

Life is an adventure and sometimes that is the only way to explain it. I would wake up every morning not knowing where my day would decide to take me, but it didn’t matter because I could do whatever I wanted with it. The beauty of looking back on things is that you get to filter out all of the parts that you didn’t like. When I look back on the trips I took and the adventures that I went on, I don’t have to remember the bad, I can focus solely on the good.

Traveling gave me a perspective of all of the little oddities that this world has that many people don’t get to see very often. After high school, traveling across the world wasn’t a choice that I made, it was the path that found me and I decided to follow it. It‘s like the game of Life: do you take the risky path and see what happens or do you choose the safe path and live in an area of comfort? There is truly no wrong choice, there is only the choice that is right for you as a person. Even though I don’t consider the path I chose to be completely risky, it did come with a lot of unknowns that I had to learn to overcome.

My best friend and I hitchhiked from one country to the next, all over Europe, exploring parts of the world that most people can only dream about seeing. At the time, getting into a car with a stranger was a roll of the dice, and in the end for us, the cards always ended up in our favor. Once, while in Greece, we stopped in front of the University of Athens. I saw big, beautiful buildings showcasing a world of opportunity. That was the moment I knew that I wanted to go to college in a different country, outside where I grew up in Poland. I wanted to get away to an entirely new place, my curiosity was fighting to break free and that’s exactly what I let it do.

America was so much more than what I had dreamed it would be, it was the place that I belonged. I thought that I would be here for only a few years and then eventually go back to Poland. But then, I fell in love with the beauty and excitement that it showed me, and, just like that, I was on a different path again.

Sometimes opportunities just fall into your lap and you have to take them before they disappear on you. Maybe it was an accident or maybe it was just fate, but when I stumbled across the world of producing television shows as a college student in New York City, I grabbed at the opportunity. Little did I know that I would fall in love with it’s hidden beauty, just like I did with traveling. I finally found my niché, the environment that I belonged in, with the people that would help me become the person that I wanted to be in the end. In the world of producing, it isn’t a clock in and clock out ritual. I could have a job one day, and wake up the next morning without one, but that didn’t matter to me. What mattered was that I was doing something that I loved.

I also fell in love with sailing after I moved to America. It became a passion of mine that has taken me to places far and wide. I have gotten to see the world in a completely different lens. The outlines of the buildings and the houses that I have passed while gliding across the clear water has given me insight to a world beyond my eyes. When I’m sailing, time slows and I start to live with the pace of the water and the setting and rising of the sun each morning. Could sailing for three days straight have been dangerous? Of course, but if we don’t try new things we will miss out on some of the best experiences of our lives. The water is almost like a metaphor for life: you can trust it’s going to be flowing in the same direction. It’s doing it slowly and relentlessly without stopping, always doing the same thing. It can be predictable, but it can also be very powerful.

Sailing allows you to realize that only you can decide where you go and what you do with the chances you get in life. I do have regrets and there are things that I wish I had done, but if I dwell on the past while the river continues flowing, I will get caught up in the current.

Little did I know that along my journey I would fall in love with another person. I found someone that completed a part of me that I didn’t know was missing. He took my breath away and all of a sudden my path had changed again. I had to make a choice: the person I fell in love with or the job that was the best for my career.  The job that I had once been devoted to was becoming tiring and I knew that it was time to settle into a comfortable and happy life. It was a risk that I had to take. Looking back, I am glad that I chose the person that I now get to call my husband.

I still get to do the things that I love, but now I have a person doing them alongside me. Life is unpredictable and predictable all at the same time. Opportunities will present themselves to you and other times you have to go look for them. Doing things, even if you don’t know the outcome, can be life-changing. Especially if you take what life gives you and learn from those experiences.

In the end, living on the edge will always be worth the risk.