A Little Risky

There’s tremendous appeal to me in charting unexplored territories, doing things I’ve never done.  Perhaps it’s the risk associated with taking bold steps that I find intriguing. Or maybe it’s the promise of learning the limits of my courage.  Whatever it is, it is almost entirely mental.  Rarely have I ever actually followed through on my bold ideas, walking the tightrope, as it were, without a net.

As a newly-minted college graduate, my friend Paul Williams and I talked about traveling to India to explore the country and learn what we could.  But I didn’t go to India.  At various points in my life since then, I’ve considered doing some “crazy” things like walking or bicycling across the USA.  One of the more recent ideas was to work at 52 different jobs in 52 different places over a period of 52 weeks and write a book about it.  I didn’t bicycle across the USA and I didn’t work at 52 different jobs.  Any one of those things would have taken a certain amount of courage, just as exploring India would have done. The fact that I only talked about these adventures, but didn’t actually pursue them, I suppose, is ample evidence of the limits of my courage.

On the other hand, I’ve twice started my own business.  The first time, when I lived in Chicago, was a flop; but I learned a lot from that flop.  The second time was a success, in many respects, but I suspect I would have enjoyed it longer had I taken some risks and launched into new ventures along the way, instead of just thinking about them.  Had I executed some of my more interesting ideas instead of just planning them, I suspect I might have gotten “fired up” about them.  The fact that I’ve taken the risks associated with starting a business from scratch suggests I have the capacity to be a risk-taker.

These thoughts about what I wish I’d done versus what I’ve actually done have the potential of making me regret the things I’ve not done.  That is an unhealthy way of looking at one’s life and has the potential of further limiting the likelihood of exploration in the future.  I won’t allow either of those things to happen. At the risk of wallowing in a cliché, I will take the position that I can do things today and tomorrow and the next day that I have not done before.  I can revisit old ideas and invent new ones.  Courage isn’t born of youth; it’s born of a thirst for experience.

So, what does all this portend for the future?  I can’t say with any certainty, yet, but I believe I will be in for some adventures in the coming months and years.  I just have to train myself to act on my ideas and be willing to abandon those that prove untenable.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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5 Responses to A Little Risky

  1. Trish, I plan to do more! As for burning desire…I just don’t know!

  2. Mosha says:

    …though radical change is often our desire, the indecision at times can be consuming force, which leads, and leaves us only with that burning desire…

  3. Mosha says:

    *think* about that one!

  4. Mosha says:

    Libras love chaos as long as its balanced! 😉 Go thing about that one!

  5. Mosha says:

    Oh John! Listen, from what I know of what you have done (didn’t know about the two times setting up your own business) you’ve got guts! I recall well you and Janine where “sofa surfing”. Many would not do this. You road the rails, too! I can say for myself from stepping out of the norm in a big way, that you have accomplished more than most. Although, I must add my mystic twist, and us Libras are the most hesitate of the zodiac…the constant “weighing” often makes us feel we missed out on something, for all the back-and-forth we are notorious for, and this leads us to believe we have come up short in our self expectations. We don’t like to be on the cliff, but in reality we actually do. It tests us, and taunts us. I think you’ve done plenty, and I trust you will do plenty more if, and only when you “decide”.

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