Anyone that has known me, knows that I am never in the same place for too long. I blame this partially on my restless Sagittarian heart and the fact that my parents moved so much growing up. I also just feel like the spontaneity of picking up an relocating is somewhat exciting—I think this means that I am somewhat of a risk taker. Despite all of these risks that I have seemingly taken, have any of them been worth it? I guess my question is, are risks worth it—even when the intended outcome isn’t yet realized?
I’ve never one hundred percent regretted any of my moves, but I have never taken the time to consider any of the other risks that I have taken throughout my life. Like the risk I took dropping out of school the middle of my junior year to start working for myself, or the risk of moving to the bay area with no clue about what I was going to do here, or the risk of now relocating again to Austin, Texas with absolutely no promise of what will happen when I get there?
I recently was having a conversation with a friend, who had never moved out of the bay area, about the fact that my parents have always remained somewhat nomadic in spite of their upbringing. My parents were raised in a traditional two-parent household and grew up in the same city, attended the same school, and lived in their childhood home until adulthood—and then never lived in the same home longer than a year or two throughout my entire childhood. Growing up I attended ten different schools, and almost similarily the same amount of homes, and never realized this was not normal until college. My parents never showed concern financially and we regularly went on family vacations and lived in moderately large homes with yards while my sister and I attended private or charter schools, so I had no grid to think any of this was a risk or abnormal or different from any other person I knew—I simply took all of this as normal.
I recalled a conversation with my dad that I had when I was around the age sixteen about risk. He shared with me that no matter what the situation was in my life; risk was always going to be a factor, and it was up to me, in every situation, to determine whether the risk would have a beneficial or negative impact on my life and then to simply take the risk. If my gut was correct, and I was actually listening to it, then the risk would be worth it regardless of the outcome.
The human condition is such that no matter the outcome, we will always try to convince ourselves that the decision we make will be the right one. We will always try to rationalize to ourselves that we are exactly where we’re supposed to be, even if that risk results in uncertainty—quiting your job to start a business and failing; leaving your partner because something better might be out there only to find yourself unhappy and single; turning your life upside down to move across the country and selling your dream home for less than what it is worth due to a bad sellers market—these are all valuable lessons you learn via risk. This sort of situation causes character development and gives you a perspective that few have, and in turn, is the cause of upward maturity. But what if things pan out? What if your ballsy decision pans out and you are right? The sense of accomplishment, achievement, and success is palpable, despite whether that takes a month or five years. This must be why anyone bothers to take a leap at all.
The thing is, I can’t think of a risk that I’ve taken that wasn’t worth the reward, or lack thereof. And although I lived a sort of abnormal childhood, I always loved the idea of packing up our home and collectively going through our belongings to decide upon a new home together, I loved meeting new people at school and being unfamiliar with my surroundings, and I loved the fact that it made me less afraid to take risks as an adult.
So the question remains, can you think of a risk that you have taken that wasn’t worth the reward, or lack thereof? I can’t.
Images via TWCreates