The Word of the Day in UU Lent is “risk.” Now, there’s a word I’m familiar and even mostly comfortable with. The photo I put on Instagram was this one, taken from the top of the stairs at the Pope Residence, and looking down, somewhat queasily.
Risk can be messy, or create messes. Like all the construction debris in the photo, you often have to make a path through a lot of crap when you’re taking risks in life. And there are often metaphorical nails and sharp pieces of metal to wade through.
I’ve never been a risk taker. You know how people are divided into the ones who like roller coasters, parachuting, and thrill-seeking activities, versus the ones who prefer their novelty to be more of the “shall I try a new variety of apple?” kind? Well, I have the apple personality.
But as I have gotten older, there are certain types of risks I am more comfortable with taking, like joining groups to make friends, speaking up in work meetings, starting new businesses (talk about RISK – this is WAY beyond my comfort zone for earlier in my life). I think becoming less of a worrier and more of an observer in life helps me be comfortable with this kind of risk taking. You can’t know what’s going to happen in the future, so do what you can do to mitigate risk, then wait and see what happens and deal with what comes up.
This Blog Is a Risk
Today, putting yourself out there in public, warts and all, can be quite a risk. I’m honest about my “stuff” here on this blog, and am not out to make myself look good, be an “influencer,” or make money. I’m here to share experiences that might help others look at things in new ways, or feel less alone in their own experiences.
I’ve received some comments about how that might be risky. Last night, a reader said something about some of the posts being a bit “out there.” And since I have a lot of readers of different backgrounds from mine, I can really see that. I’m not your standard ranch girl, but more of a New Agey hippie trying to fit into a rural culture that has a lot of appeal to me, even if most people aren’t like me.
It’s freeing, though, that I’m no longer trying to make everyone like me or please everyone I know. If the stuff I write bothers anyone, they don’t have to read it. There’s certainly plenty of other content out there.
Thanks to you who read this and comment (some in the blog, some on Facebook, and some in person), since learning what you think helps me to get to know you. I know commenting can be a risk, too, but it seems like my community is a supportive one that embraces all perspectives. Take a chance! Participate more, folks!
Past and the Future
When I was in my twenties, big risks were just not my thing. For many years, I tried to stick to a career path I’d set out on at age 18, even when I really needed to get out. I didn’t even DARE do what I wanted to do in my heart, which was perform music with others. By the time I was ready to risk rejection that way, I was much too old for it to be anything other than a hobby. That was the past.
The future is bright though. Last week, Anita, neighbor Ruth, and I went to see my son’s band, Big Dallas. It was their first gig, though they have been working on songs a long time. We had low expectations, since they were the first band of the night. But, there were lots of people there, and not just relatives and friends!
And they blew everyone away. Neighbor Ruth said they sound like a country Frank Zappa. The musicianship is so high, and the songs are tongue-in-cheek urban country that has you chuckling the whole time you listen.
Now, this band is a big risk, as all bands are. It’s a bigger risk for my son, who had a huge musical setback last year and nearly gave up his passion. I am really proud of his friends Austin and Russell for taking the risk of sticking with him and working on this amazing music. In my mind, they’ve already succeeded (though I hope to see them again soon).
What risks are you taking now? Are you extra risk-averse, or a go-for-it kind of person?