Photo Credit: Genevieve Rosengren
Throughout my 25 years on earth I have endured the ebbs and flows of kickass-ness and timidness. I have had moments of great boldness and fearlessness almost as often as I have had moments of complete and total self-doubt, where all I can do is hide under the covers and hope for a better day tomorrow.
As a child, I was not much of a risk taker. I was scared and timid and way too cautious for my own good. I would sit on the side of the sandbox while my friends would fly high on the swings. I would opt out of sleepovers because I was a homebody and the thought of leaving my family for the night was more than I could bare. I would kick back in the shallow end of the pool, with my floaties on, while my friends were doing back flips into the deep end. None of it really seemed to phase me, I was perfectly content playing it safe.
As I have grown older I realized that I don’t want to live my life “playing it safe”. I started having these moments. Maybe they were lapses in judgement or maybe they were moments when I remember that I am more audacious than I give myself credit, that I am not that timid little girl anymore. They were the moments when I step out of my comfort zone, look the world in square in the eye and just go for it, whatever “it” may be.
Traveling and volunteering abroad as a teenager in the throes of my “homebody years”, doing a year of service with AmeriCorps instead of defaulting to college, exposing my vulnerability by oversharing personal information on my blog, and letting myself fall in love are just some of the risks I have taken as a young adult that have had incalculable payouts. As a result of taking those risks I learned my strengths. I felt empowered and brave and like nothing could ever possibly bring me down.
While reveling in the aftermath of my successes, I would always try to store away that feeling for a rainy day because I knew that feeling wouldn’t always last.
Unfortunately not all of my risks have had happy endings. This is bound to happen. My moments of boldness have been matched almost equally by moments of complete and total fear. The moments when I was wrong, when things seemed impossible, when all I can do is throw myself a pity party.
This is not my favorite place to be and so my challenge recently has been to pull myself out of the deep, dark, sad, pity-party place and remember that I am infact kind of kickass. I have to remember that even if risks don’t end in successes, they are still worth it. I will have days when I try my hardest and still fail. On those days, I have to pull from whatever bit of awesome I have stored away in my “rainy day fund” and I have to let that awesome shine. On those days I have to remember not to be held back by the doubt or the fear and I have to remember that in the big scheme of things, everything will be okay. I open the windows, take off my PJ’s, eat a breakfast bagel, and go do something great.
I know risk taking can be a luxury that not everyone is afforded and I am beyond grateful that I come from circumstances which have allowed me to take the occasional risk. I don’t have children, I am not married, I have family and friends who are probably a little too supportive, I have every excuse to take the occasional risk. It is for these reasons that I have been able to take risks, make mistakes, learn from them and keep moving forward.
So friends, if you can take risks, and it is more likely than not that you can, take them. Be bold. Be brave. Be great. Take a fucking risk. It’ll be worth it.