6.26.2007

Risk


I just got off the phone with my dad, who is very slowly but surely recovering from his Memorial Day Weekend motorcycle accident. The word "risk" had a central role in our conversation. When my father first bought his motorcycle, many people told him he was crazy - that the risk he was taking by getting on a bike was a foolish one. Motorcylces are dangerous. And they are unnecessary. Why chance an accident by riding one of them? To me, to my family, and to many of my father's friends, though, the risk he took in riding his bike was well-calculated and well-worth it. My father always wore a helmet. He started off on a small bike and moved up to a more powerful one after gaining lots of riding exprience. He took and passed motorcycle safety courses. He watched safety videos and learned good motorcycle driving techniques. He obeyed traffic laws. He did what he could do to minimize the risk of an accident. Those efforts, in combination with the amount of pleasure and the astoundingly positive perspective on life that riding brought to him made the risk he was taking seem reasonable to us. And, while this may sound completely insane, if once he's fully recovered my father decides that he wants to get back on his bike, I'll fully support his decision (but if he never wants to set eyes on a bike again, I'll understand, too). My point is: nothing that is worthwhile or truly fulfilling in life comes without risk. Risk of having your heart broken. Risk of being rejected. Risk of being lonely. Risk of failure. Risk of making a fool of yourself. Risk of having to go back where you started from. Risk of experiencing pain.
I mention all of this now because, not so coincidentally, the word "risk" has been playing over and over in my mind during the past few weeks. I'm on the verge of a pretty big risk myself, and I'm thrilled by what may come of it. I've been itching to tell you about it... and I promise that details will soon follow. However, I was hoping that those of you who are risk-takers (or even those of you who don't consider yourself to be risk-takers by nature but have taken a risk or two nonetheless) would be willing to share with me and the readers of my blog a particular risk that you have taken and its outcome, be it positive, negative, or both. I've been curious to know what risks you may have taken that perhaps were seen as crazy by others but seemed reasonable it to you. I'd like to know if, in hindsight, the risk really was worth it, and why or why not. Thanks in advance for sharing your stories. I'll be back soon with mine.

Oh, and about these random photos...
Happy 80th Birthday to Coney Island's Cyclone Rollercoaster!

Talk about a risk - have you ever ridden this thing?

21 comments:

Chickenbells said...

Oh, my grandmother grew up in NY and LOVED Coney Island!

Let's see...I started my own business when I was 25. I think in a lot of ways I was too young and "stupid" to know what I was risking. I didn't even think it could fail because I needed it to work so very badly. I had just met my exhusband, and we kind of went in together on bills...plus, I had a tiny bit saved. I have had Snap Snap for 12 years now, and it seems to be still going strong. I still get scared sometimes, especially when it's slow and I have no idea why. Sometimes, I hate it and want to walk out...sometimes I love it, and am so very proud of myself...sometimes I use it to define me, and a lot of the times I think it's like a small baby that will never grow up! And, it's been an amazing journey.

Then, more recently, when my ex walked out, I had a chance to let him back in. But, I just couldn't do it. I didn't know how I was going to make it on my own, keep the house, pay the bills, which is one of the reasons why I didn't leave in the first place...and I spent a long time being scared and crying...and a longer time facing myself and crying still...and even after all that I think I may have some healing to do yet. I loved who he was at one time so very much, and it was so hard to watch this change...sometimes it still is. But, I don't regret it one bit...no matter how lonely I get in the quiet moments, or how much I get worried that I'll run out of time to have the family I always wanted.

So, jump baby...you'll learn so very much about yourself. And the great thing is that situations change constantly...you get to adjust and readjust and tweak it some more and stretch and grow, and face your fear...and cry and laugh and dance and smile...and live.

Vanessa V said...

I adore roller coaster photos. They make me smile!!! WEeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

As for risk. I gave up a wealthy wonderful, kind, loving, sexy Irish man (accent included). The kind your parents adore, good on paper, great husband material. I gave him up for my dreams. He needs a dedicated girl, to take care of his needs. And, as nice as he was, I knew, I couldn't give up me and my soul.... I then met a much older man, Mr. Lovee, and I jumped into love. I risked marriage, children, all of it (as he is much older and all that wasn't part of that package, nor did I want it to be). Why did I risk it all? I risked it because, I would wish or wonder about it, my whole life, if I hadn't. I risked doing the "right" thing, for doing the "perfect for me thing, no matter what anyone thinks." And, I am a very very happy girl. xxxooo

Can't wait to hear about yours. Talk about setting up stories!!!

KSV said...

Sulu, dear, I am glad that your father is recovering and I am learning from you on how to react rationally and calmly to his decision to or not to get back up on that motorcycle.

I have to say, I am in the middle of the biggest risk I have ever taken with the most fragile part of me-my heart. I am usually a guarded person keeping my head and heart at a far and seemingly safe stand point to look on but never look in. I met Jake a month ago. We hung out for a week and I pretty much felt like all the things I ever wanted in a member of the opposite sex manifested themselves into this person that was a stranger to me only 30 days ago. Yes, it might be foolish, and yes it might be crazy, but I truly feel, for the first time, I have thrown caution to the wind and am risking what could be the most horrendous heart break should this not work out, but in my gut, I know that risking that heartache could never replace the amount of love, care, respect, and understanding that Jake has shown me in the past month. Never in my life has anyone made me feel so happy to be who I am or made me feel like I was loved without having to give anything in return. Not that I don't, I have never given love the way I am right now. I know I could be risking everything by giving so much to someone I have only known for a short while, but I feel like the risk is heavily outweighed by the fact that I am truly experiencing love for and from another human being for the first time ever in my life. This may sound like it is straight out of left field, but it is really how I feel right now. I guess in a lot of ways I am risking you thinking I am crazy by telling you this, but it is a risk I am willing to take because you shared so much with me already.

xo,
Kristen

picperfic said...

it would seem that the biggest risks we take are affairs of the heart....I am no different. I will tell my story if you like but the bottom line of it is that I am so happily in love with a darling man and that love is reciprocated, something that was denied me for 30 years. I have no regrets, I did the right thing. Lucky me! Coming to terms with 'friends' reactions has been a toughy though, but now almost 3 years down the line, I know who my true friends are. The ones that know me and have supported me through thick and thin.

Shona~ LALA dex press said...

I think my biggest risk was leaving everything I knew + everything that was comfortable, my family, friends, a well formed life + moving to TN with my boyfriend. Not only did I move 2200 miles to an entirely different way of life, where I knew no one, I moved in with someone for the first time. Nearly 9 years later, I shutter at the thought of returning back home + yes! I'm still with the same boyfriend (God! how I hate that question).

My father shattered his kneecap in a motorcycle accident + when it healed he continued riding.

I eagerly await your announcement.

sore all over but smilin' said...

thanks woo...you are the very best!!!!!!

Robyn said...

One of the biggest risks was deciding to stay home once I had kids. Living on two teacher's salaries can make a decent living, but one seemed nearly impossible. Or so we thought. Thankfully, we are doing alright on one salary and I get to stay home with the kids, something I've dreamed about for a long time. 'I am glad your dad is improving.
Oh, and to me, risks are what life is all about. We take risks every day. Nothing is ever really guaranteed, so without taking them, we would live our lives with our heads in the sand, you know?

rebecca said...

I just found your blog recently, and I absolutely adore your earrings & photography.

As for risks... I just graduated college (not a risk). After 22 years of being an east coaster, I made up my mind to move across the country to Arizona, away from everyone I know. The shortest distance to a friend is to South Carolina! And, risk part two... moving in with my boyfriend of 10 months. Although, I suppose dating him was a gigantic risk too -- we'd been best friends for three years, and then decided to give dating a try. Here we are ten months later.

The dating-the-best-friend was a risk well worth taking. We're better like this. I'm happier than I've ever been.

The moving-across-the-country is going well so far (I've only been here a week & a half).


I'm glad your father is getting better. A close friend's father was also recently involved in a motorcycle accident. He's slowly, but surely recovering also.

The Lenart's said...

Man, this is a very good post. Made me think a bit and in a funny way I don't think my risk is the risk anymore. 5 years ago I moved across the ocean from a small European country to start my life with my husband. We dated long distance for 3 years. I graduated from university back at home on May 13th, May 19th I had only 2 suitcases packed and moved forever. I have no relatives here and I left all my friends behind. Also my husband's family lives a few states away. But I am happier then ever.
As for current risks, we are all holding a breath and waiting for the best outcome as my mother-in-law was just diagnosed with a brain tumor. A huge risk of the operation, recovery and everything that comes with it. So far we are just practicing patience as there is so much waiting to be done before all results of tests come in.

I say jump in. And let your risk be the most positive experience.

All the best to your dad. I think of him often.

Lynn said...

I'm glad to hear your dad is progressing well. Like others above me, I think the greatest risk I took was with my heart. I started dating Chris my senior year of high school, and continued to date him even though I went to college 300 miles away. My mom warned me about long distance relationships and all that, but turns out he really is my soul mate. It's been 6 and a half years now, and whenever I step back and look at the person I've become, I'm amazed because a lot of it is because of him.

ambika said...

I am NOT a risk taker but two instances in my life would certainly count as such by outside observers. One was moving to Prague, sight unseen with no job or housing waiting, at the age of 23. The other was dating the guy I'm with now. Both turned out wonderfully and make me very much the person I am now.

I always feel like a risk is something you take when the other options just don't work--at least for me. I'm not a bungee jumping, snowboarding kind of gal. But when it comes to being happy, sometimes not taking a risk is more crazy by far.

leya said...

I love this post, susan
I also love taking risks, which is something I've cultivated in myself over time. I was once a very cautious person.
the risks I have taken have always been so very good for me and remembering that each and every time a new one presents itself is always a big help.
five years ago, after months of restlessness, I quit my "comfortable" job in Portland, OR and set out to travel in Asia and India for an entire year. It was so scary at first, and a little scary at times during, but it was the greatest adventure of my life and I'm most grateful I had the courage to do it. And even the people who thought it was completely crazy when I initially presented the idea, now agree it was a risk worth taking.

xox,
l.

erin said...

glad to know your dad is feeling better.

i am not one who takes big risks. little ones, sure. i know that what you are doing will turn out well, though. i have complete confidence in that. :)

kat said...

oh gee, I think I'm a calculated risk-taker :) I don't set myself up for failure... I weigh my options and will usually go for it. I'm willing to put myself out there and try. You don't win, grow, learn, have fun, live... without risk. I left a lucrative paying job to have kids. Huge risk, great reward.

YaHOO! SO glad your dad is doing better. I hope he doesn't stop taking risks either :)

rachel s. said...

Having kids and wanting to raise them myself--that meant quitting my job. So going from two incomes to one [that thought loomed over me more than caring for my baby]--that was for me, a big step into the unknown. Would our little family survive financially?
Cause I like stability. =)

Mom said...

Suzy,

This was so well-written! I made a copy for Dad and will take it home to him at lunch time today.

Randy is picking him up and taking him to the Harley dealership where he will see the bike for the first time. They are going to start taking it apart to see what the damage is - I don't think it will be as bad as anticipated.

I teasingly told him now is the time to get the "loud pipes" on that he wanted.

Your words will definitely be a comfort to him as he reads and re-read them. Love always, Mom

Sonya said...

I'm so glad to hear that your dad is recovering and what a wonderful post (I know I am echoing all preceding comments here). I think two of the biggest risks I took in my life, are a) having a baby at 18 - a risk that caused a big rift in my family. I was told that I would "ruin my life" and years later, my maxim is: Different Isn't Necessarily Wrong. A different path or differing opinion, is just that. I spent most of my life caught up with the "right" and "wrong" ways, reinforced again and again in our society.

And now for b) Mr Knitsonya himself. We met online (I'll tell details some other time) and it was a big risk trusting him, that he was who he said he was and claimed to be (not some 50 year-old inmate, horror) as well as trusting someone with my heart and feelings - oh cheese. But nine years, eight of them married, and a hulking big step-son and two other kidlets later, the risk seems to be working out all right.

Melissa said...

sorry to hear about your dad, but glad he is on the mend (and your mom is just too cute!)

it's interesting to see how many people wrote that their risk delt with affairs of the heart. you certainly know my crazy story already, so I won't repeat here!

i can't wait to hear what your risk is, although i think i have a pretty good idea :)

Melissa said...

Traveling risk:

Moving to CA instead of NY to go to Photography school.

Once I decided to go to CA intead of NY, all of these problems came out of nowhere. I jumped through a bajillion hoops to get myself out to the west coast, all the time wondering if the universe was trying to tell me I was making the wrong decision. After moving to CA though, I met my husband and father of my sweet little boy. I also graduated from Photography School. So, HA HA UNIVERSE! I WIN!

Take all the risks you can, girl!

Bitterbetty said...

Let's see:
Moved out of my mom's house and in with a dad I didn't know at nearly 17.. ran away from his house 3 months later to live on my own... with my mom's blessing.

Quit my job almost a year ago, to be a SAH mom again for a preteen after it wasn't my favorite job the first time.

Moved to Santa Cruz 3 years ago and floundered financially but eventually clawed our way up and out.

Stayed with my husband after a serious trangression on his part.

Bought a fixer upper.

For me risk is a lifestyle. I only played is safe with my mortgage. I got a 30 year fixed.. That adjustable stuff is NUTS!

amandajean said...

you know my risk: relocating again. I'll let you know how it works out. :)

so glad to hear that your dad is doing better.

it was so fun to read the comments....your mom sounds so sweet.