Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Risky Business

Two words: Live boldly

Every single time you are offered a choice that involves greater risk, take it. You will lose on many of them but when you add them up at the end of your life you’ll be glad you did.

This was posted by one of my Facebook friends recently, and it's been nagging at me ever since.  The past ten years of my life would make one think I lived by this creed, but I don't purposely try to live my life this way.  In 2005 when my comfortable, complaisant life was turned on its' ear, I was pretty much forced into a risky existence, at least in the short term.  I probably could have found a way to continue that lethargic lifestyle, but I had already taken steps to break free, and the timing worked out to speed that change along.  I'm smart enough, and still cautious enough, to avoid blind risk, but calculated risks seem to be working for me.  During these past ten years, I've been unlucky enough to have several harsh wake-up calls, and lucky enough to recognize them and make life changes for the better.
But my life isn't the carefree, reckless ride I was on in my twenties.  I'm now a father and take that responsibility very seriously, even though I probably see it differently than many others.  I am also a husband, and although Nicole is very capable I feel a responsibility to watch out for her best interests as well.

Fast forward to today.

I have a job offer in hand.  A good job, interesting work, substantial pay that would support my family comfortably, with benefits, at a location high on our top ten places to live.  And yet I hesitate.
Before this opportunity came along I had started to work through ways to make a living outside the "normal" ways.  Ways that would keep us together as a family, provide us interest and excitement, challenge us, and yet provide the income and means to live comfortably.  Maybe not right away, but in time.

And there's the rub:
Taking a risk that may take a long time to pay off, or may never pay off, when you are risking not just yourself but others as well.
I firmly believe I can find a different path that will mean a better life for myself and my family, but we never really know if our choices work out until we are looking back.

Societal norms exist for a reason, they outline a path that works for the majority of the population.  Go to school, get a job, buy a house, get married, raise a family.  The American Dream.  It isn't just a concept, it describes almost everyone we meet.  From a very early age and on into adulthood we are told that this is our goal.  And it isn't a bad thing by any means, it's just not MY thing.  My dreams take a different path from the American Dream.  My dreams push me in a certain direction, a risky direction, but right this minute there are opportunities for dream fulfillment staring me in the face, and it's hard to turn my back on that.

I can take the "responsible" path and those other opportunities, those dreams, may be waiting in the future, much more easily obtainable because of the position I will be in then.  It's possible there may be other opportunities in the future that far exceed the ones available today.  Or the opportunities may be gone, and that path closed for whatever reason.

This written rambling probably makes little sense to the people reading it.  You'd have to have paid a lot of attention to my previous posts, and/or know a lot about the ideas kicking around in my head to understand all this.  I guess I'm writing it more to organize my thoughts than to be read by others, but hopefully folks can take something away.  While writing, I have already started to change my way of thinking, seeing new options.

I've always said I'm in an enviable position when I'm making decisions between several great options, but I've never thought that made the decisions any easier.  Why not go one step further, and get rid of the decisions, and instead of this or that, choose both.  The safe road and the risky venture, at the same time.  Can't have your cake and eat it too?  We'll see.

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