Reflections on Risk: From the Risk Averse.

from s.fawn.deviney.

Let me tell you that I WANT to be spontaneous, I WANT to be inhibition-less.

I ENVY people who strike up conversations in bars with perfect strangers.  Actually, even those who find themselves in strange bars in the first place.

Although I consider myself a creative person, a person who likes varied experiences – you won’t find me doing kareoke anytime soon, skydiving, or down at the local tattoo parlor.

Actually, I thought hard about getting a tattoo this month (and for the last six months.  Loyal readers – I would NOT get a tattoo just to write a blog post. Probably.)  I did a little research. Asked some friends about it.  Drew some pictures of birds, thought about words and images I like. Looked at some pictures of tattoos online…

And there-in lies the problem.  RISK involves a little bit of impetuousness, and when it comes right down to it – my first reaction to any suggestion is to collect anecdotal experience from friends, and google the damn question to death.

Which isn’t to say I’ve never done anything scary, without repercussions, or hard.

Here’s one of the riskiest things I’ve ever done.

In May 2010 I quit my job.  No second job in the works – I had vague ideas of writing, vaguer ideas of volunteering or switching careers, plans to get married, travel, move across the country… etc. I was unhappy at my job, and nothing had really panned out for about six to twelve months prior to that in my job hunting.  I was pretty fed up.

So I quit.  It was risky, AND, I’m pretty much still feeling the aftershocks right now.  Yep, I got married.  Yep, I started writing a whole lot more (hello blog).  Yep, I travelled. But a couple unforeseen twists happened (hello baby), and then I (and my new husband) were scrambling to dig out from under this problem of joblessness, homelessness, directionlessness.  Sometimes we feel like we set ourselves back five years because of those risks we took two-and-a-half years ago.


Volcano climbing when I was 4 months pregnant. Slightly risky.

So, we had to take some new risks, like grad school – and getting serious about changing careers.  We’re still waiting to see the results from that.

This experience has taught me (and continues to teach me)  that there are numerous ways to measure risk.

– Is the risk going to be short and intense, or long and drawn out? (Tattoos vs. Starting a new Business)

– Is this risk going to effect just you, or others as well? (Running a marathon vs. Switching Careers)

– Is it going to be low risk, or righ risk? (Moving to Beverly, MA. vs. Moving to Europe.)

– Is this risk health or unhealthy? (Taking a rock-climbing class, taking up smoking.)

As cliched as it might be, I think that taking a Risk is Necessary for Growth.  Like a good training regimen for athletes who want to improve, Risk is a training program for Change.   And as has been said before, Change is the only Constant.

I’m not really a Risk Taker in the conventional sense of word, but I’m willing to try new things.  And maybe that’s always the first step.

I’m okay with that.

What about you?  What are some of the biggest risks you’ve taken?  Do you think risks are necessary?

-Beth Melillo.

change is the only constant


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