Thursday, 21 February 2013

Take a Risk

If you heard the last words I said in the documentary my family and I were recently featured in, I said to "take a risk". When I said this, I was referring to moving to a car-free existence, because at the time that we sold our car, we were about to enter into unknown territory, having relied on a car for the better part of seven years and having two very young children. I think back to it now, and realize it really wasn't that risky, and we've managed to exist very happily without it for almost three years now. 

Today, while listening to a yoga podcast in my hotel room as a means to de-stress after a day of air travel, the instructor used those same words, "take a risk". Thinking on it now, I realize that it has been by taking risks and challenging myself that I have reached the place I'm at now. From choosing to leave the comfort of my childhood home for university, to our big move to the West Coast, adopting a bike-centric lifestyle, and even the long ago day I chose to start dating my now husband, I have been taking a series of risks. I don't regret any one of my decisions, knowing they have helped me learn and grow, and I will continue to take risks as my future unfolds, and look forward to all the challenges and excitement they will bring.

We currently live is a society, though, that seems to frown on risk. In the search for stability both socially and financially, many people "play it safe", opting to do as their parents did before them, or their peers are doing. Children are even being raised to "play safe". The days of running down the street and calling on a friend to play have been replaced with scheduled play dates from the safety of one's home or in a well-supervised playground. It may still be too early to tell if this will be a good or bad thing, but I personally can't help feel that if we don't ever take any risks, life will be pretty boring. What kind of example is that to set for our children, and what will that leave them to look forward to?

Risks don't have to be grandiose, or life-threatening. Something as simple as vacationing somewhere you would have never thought to go can be a small risk, and the reward could be amazing! I think to our honeymoon. We could have played it safe and travelled to the Caribbean, relaxed on the beach and watched the sun set. While that does sound idyllic, we instead opted for a two-week whirlwind trip through France, Spain and Italy. Now we look back on that as being one of our favourite vacations. Yes, we were tired at times, at the mercy of train schedules, and it cost us a pretty penny, but I wouldn't trade any of those memories, of which I look back on fondly and frequently.

So I challenge you to "Take a Risk". Do something you wouldn't normally do, eat something different, try shopping in a place you would normally never dream of shopping in. Or go big! Either way, I will be right along with you, continuing to change things up, and encouraging my children to never turn down the opportunity to try something new. You never know what will happen, and the results could exceed your wildest dreams!

1 comment:

  1. Taking risks is something we do every time we make a decision to do anything. And we cannot grow and learn without making those (risky) decisions.

    I agree with you that our society has developed an unrealistic aversion to risk but even more problematic is we've confused what is truly risky and what is not.

    Risk is born with all of us and follows us until we die. If we spent too much time being worried about risk we (as a species) would still be cowering in caves hiding from bears.

    We find out what the world can offer us when we choose to take a risk. We expand our knowledge when we take risks.

    I am with you - I choose to take risks (living carfree, quitting my job and following my dream to open my own bike shop) because it forces me out of my comfort bubble and it is only when we leave that bubble that we grow as individuals.

    Bravo! Keep risking!