What to do! What to do! Are you a risk taker? Willing to throw caution to the wind. Chance it? Cast your fears aside? Take a leap of faith? I only ask because ‘risk’ was the subject of yesterday’s WordPress Daily Prompt. “What’s the biggest risk you’d like to take — but haven’t been able to? What would have to happen to make you comfortable taking it?”
Not really an easy question to answer. There’s all kinds of risks. Risks you take in your personal life. Like finally getting over your fear of commitment and getting married. Risks you take in your professional life. Like walking away from a big promotion to go back to school to follow your heart and study medicine.
There are the ‘adventurous’ risks you take. Like deciding to bungee jump. There are the moral dilemmas we all face from time to time, and the risks they involve. Like telling your best friend you saw her husband with another woman.
BIG decisions can give us pause as well. Buying our first house can be a very scary decision to have to make. So can re-locating to a new city. Getting a divorce. Having a baby. Most of us agonize before deciding. And some of us never decide at all. We just keep putting it off.
Then there are the little things we worry about. Like whether or not we should overcome our fear of raw fish, and give sushi a try. Or learn to drive. Or go on a blind date.
So what about me?
Well, I remember when I bought my first house. I’d saved my money. Knew it was time. Found an agent. Never hesitated for a minute. Fell in love with the second house he showed me. Told him I wanted to make an offer. Never hesitated for a minute. We went to his office so he could do the paperwork. Never hesitated for a minute.
The vendor signed back the offer. The house was mine.
And that’s when panic set in. He and I were having a celebratory burger and all of a sudden he started to laugh. He said I had a look of absolute terror on my face. He said he was surprised it took so long. That most first-time buyers freeze when they have to sign the offer sheet.
When I moved to Toronto I never hesitated for a moment either. Made up my mind and that was that.
But I have had my moments when fear got the best of me. When the risks, or perceived risks, stopped me dead in my tracks. Many, many years ago I had a job that was giving me the blahs. I wasn’t challenged enough. I was bored. A friend suggested I go out on my own, try freelance work. I looked at her like she was insane.
“What!”, I exclaimed. “Give up a steady pay check? Are you nuts? I have a mortgage to pay. I can’t take a risk like that!” I wouldn’t even think about it. The mere thought gave me the chills. The heebie jeebies.
Yet four years ago I woke up one morning and thought, “I want to go out on my own. I want to freelance.” Which I did. And I love it. Never thought about the risks, even for a minute.
Timing is everything. When you’re ready, you’re ready; and the decisions come easy. Of course, for some things, you’ll never be ready. I can’t conceive of a time when I’d ever be willing to go wrestle with alligators. Or jump out of a plane. Or book a seat on Richard Branson’s flight to the moon.
Yeah, I know. You’d like to know what I WOULD like to do, but as of yet, I haven’t been willing to take the risk. Make that giant leap into the unknown. Well … let me see.
It feels like I’ve taken the biggest risks I’ll ever take, already. I’ve moved away from the city I was brought up in and left friends and family behind. I’ve bought a house, several, in fact. I’ve left secure jobs for other, riskier ventures, I’ve travelled great distances to far away places, I’ve overcome my fear of public speaking by forcing myself to do a lot of it. I’ve eaten things that have made me squeamish (although there are many things I still refuse to try). So what’s left?
All I can think of, at the moment, is my desire for a life adventure. You know all about it, of course, because I’ve blogged about it several times. When you consider everything I’ve already done, I can’t figure out what’s stopping me. But clearly, something is. Clearly I’m afraid of something. Then again, maybe I don’t really want to go.
As soon as I figure out what it is, I’ll let you know.