Risk? That’s Just my Life

I never thought I was much of a risk taker. After thinking about it and speaking to others though, I guess I do tend to push the envelope more often than I think.

By definition, a risk is an exposure to the chance of injury or loss. Heck, that means a majority of my life has been a series of risks if I am really honest.

It seems that my pattern is to find something that interests me, and I just do it. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking, researching or preparing. Whether my lack of planning or pondering has helped or hurt me, I can’t be for sure.

My first big risk was deciding to join the Army Reserve when I was 29 years old. I wasn’t particularly fit. As a matter of fact, I was pretty out of shape. It was just an idea that someone tossed out as a way to use my journalism degree and keep my retail management job that was paying the bills. So, I spoke to a recruiter and asked dismally few questions, and bam. I was wearing a uniform and struggling to keep up with 18-year-olds at basic training. This decision wound up shaping my entire future.

Another big risk was deciding to accept a job at a photography studio. It was a huge step for me as all of my photography experience was in the military. I had not done any photography in a studio or for an event that did not require a weapon. I was also not a big technical person with my camera. So, going to a full-time photographer position was very intimidating. I didn’t always know the lingo or steps I needed to get the shot I wanted. But, when the position was offered, I ran with it as it was my big opportunity to broaden my photography skills. I still have a lot to learn but my time at the studio was invaluable and completely altered how I shoot with my camera.

There have also been a series of smaller risks that I would have never imagined myself signing up for. Friends have talked me into signing up for events that I know I claimed to be ridiculous or would have never even considered in the past. In my youth, I was a horrible runner. Never in a million years did I want to run anywhere, especially for a long distance. I even said things like, “Who the heck pays to run in races? That is the stupidest thing ever. If you want to run, just go outside and run for free.” Fast forward several years later and I have now run (and paid to do so) in four half marathons and four mud-obstacle races. There has not been a lot of training or preparation either. It is simply a friend asks, and I sign up and pay my fee. (Again, keep in mind that I am not some super fit chick. Just an average woman in her 40s trying to have fun.) These events have showed me that I am capable of more than I thought…or slightly crazy.

To mix things up though, I have thrown in other random risks in the name of “fun.” I got my very first horse in my late 30s when my only real horse knowledge was a handful of trail rides and my little girl dreams of ponies. I signed up for a trapeze class to celebrate my 43rd birthday…just because I could and I wanted to. While in Hungry, I decided to bungee jump over water after watching a handful of strangers do it and not die. As someone who gets dizzy when their hands are over their head for a few minutes, I signed up for a paddle board yoga class (and I never fell in the water by some miracle)! After my divorce wounds healed, I went on some Match.com dates. (That may have been the biggest risk ever.) With the goal of writing being one of those never-have-the-time-to-do wishes, I started blogging with no real plan or research. All of these random risks have showed me that life can be full, varied and interesting. I don’t have to be good at something before I do it. Now, I know it is OK to just try new things and embrace all that life has to offer.

Overall, I don’t know if my risks show that I am adventurous and passionate about life or that I am half crazy and willing to try anything once. I like to think it’s called a zest for life, which would make sense considering my biggest risk of all: getting divorced.

I spent over 20 years in a marriage that probably should have ended in five, or maybe even ten at the max. But, both of us were young and stubborn. We didn’t want to give up. We didn’t want the stigma of divorce. There was some love over the years, but, the love was not enough to help us survive. However, for two decades we beat the marriage to a pulp and did everything but divorce. He wanted to leave. I wanted to leave. Yet, neither of us did. For years, we just stayed miserable. So, when we both finally had enough, it was time to risk it all and leave.

For someone that got married when they were 18, that was scary. It was my biggest and most life-shaping risk. I had some irrational fear that I could not make it as a single woman. I know that was part of the reason I stayed so long in misery. And, I really did believe and want the marriage-is-forever life that included telling people how two high school sweethearts could make it to their 50th anniversary. Unfortunately, this dream and reality were not in the same relationship time zone.

Now that I am single, I’ve realized how silly it was to be scared. I am perfectly capable of surviving on my own. I thrived on two deployments before I decided to divorce, and yet, I thought I could not manage in the United States. I know. It’s silly and I can’t completely explain it. I just know that fear (and others) paralyzed me from taking action. I look at my life now and realize, I can breathe. I can live. I can do things I want to do. And that’s the thing. Now that I have control over my life, I want to do it all. So bring out those envelopes full of ideas, I will push them all over and schedule nearly all of them onto my calendar – at least once.

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For the Daily Prompt ~ Envelope Pushers

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