Today, I went to site of writing prompts and chose #69, which was to ponder this quote:
“If you don’t risk anything, you risk more.” – Erica Jong
And this is what I pondered:
Overheard recently: “Making a bad choice is better than not making any choice at all. You can fix a bad choice, you can’t fix a non-choice.”
I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about choice and risk, so this prompt stuck in my head… and I just had to write about it. I’ve spent most of my life afraid to do most anything that doesn’t come naturally to me. Even the things that come naturally to me like creative pursuits, I have shied away from. I have been paralyzed by fear – of success or failure – for as long as I can remember.
I have, however, had those moments where I was faced with choices and the stakes were so dire that not making a choice wasn’t a choice. For example, choosing which college I would attend was a dire decision. I was expected to go to a particular school because many members of my family attended there and many of my friends would enroll there. When I expressed interest in not attending that particular school, I was met with all sorts of skepticism, disappointed stares, negativity, and anger. It was the first time in my life, though, that I felt that I needed to take control of the direction in which my life was headed and I made a very quick, very rash decision that sent my life in a radically different direction.
I don’t know what my life would have been like if I had attended the other university, but I can honestly say, that decision, good or bad, has affected my life in many wonderful ways. I made incredible friends at Anderson, friends I am still in contact with today. I have fond memories of my time there, and I learned so much about myself and found that I could survive on my own and survive my choices.
Over the last 16 years since I left Anderson, I have made many choices. Some good, some bad. I have changed jobs, changed states, and changed my mind. I have changed my hairstyle (a good choice) and changed denominations (more than once). I have changed my decorating style from post neo American clutter to could be simpler Gryffindor. So much has changed about me.
Too much has stayed the same.
So I made the decision long ago to try to make changes to unearth my potential…the potential buried beneath my survive-not-thrive lifestyle, my bad choices (or lack of choices), my comfort fat, my playing small and my fear of failure/success. Granted, I’ve a long way to go, but making choices – counseling, getting myself out of debt, taking small steps forward rather than none, and setting goals and making a plan – has helped propel me forward.
I’ve moved forward because I stopped trying to move… and just…moved. Yet, there are still things I’m still trying to do because I haven’t figured out how to do them, but one day, I’ll stop trying those things and just do them because the missing piece will fall into place because I kept moving forward…not trying to move forward.
If you need further assistance on the whole try/do thing, ask Jene’. When I say try, she says do. Try. Do! Try. Do! It annoys me when she says it because I know she’s right, but when I say try it’s because I haven’t figured out the how of Do!… because I like to know how before I Do!… and that’s a whole other blog entry.
Back to risk.
This year especially, I have taken steps to break out of fear and take risks. It may not look like a lot to some, but to me it’s been significant. Believe it or not, I considered my vacation a risk. For years the expectation was that my time off was for other people, and this year, I took my time off for me. I cannot tell you what a rewarding choice/risk that was. Though I risked not being able to pay for the vacation, or not be able to pay something else, but it’s worked out where my vacation, though not elaborate, is paid for, and I was still able to pay bills, put gas in my car, and eat rather well. I risked putting my sensitive skin out in the bright California sun and thanks to Banana Boat SPF 50 Anti-Aging lotion, I came back from my trip just as pale as I was last month. Because I took a chance, planned, and executed that plan, I was finally able to meet my cousin’s baby Morgan, and actually spend time with his wife, meet my friend Meg face to face, see the breathtaking nature God created for us and spend time with Sharon, which is never, ever boring.
So, the rest of this year, my mantra is “Risk and Do makes a better you,” because so far, the results have been fabulous. Even when the results are not so fabulous, there’s a lesson there, too. Good or bad is better than nothing.
“Risk and Do make a better you.”