Saturday, March 23, 2013

Risk Taking: How to Live Fearlessly

“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.”
― Dumbledore (J.K. Rowling)

People often ask me how and, more often than not, WHY I do the things I do.  The answer is simple:

I passionately believe that we have this one opportunity in this life to get it right.  We have one chance to live our lives and we can do it by living it the same way each and every day or we can take risks.  We can learn and grow and challenge ourselves and others or we can sit and wait while opportunities pass us by.

It's a long-winded mission statement for my life, I realize.  But I firmly believe in and LIVE by the idea of the Great Adventure.  I teach my children that EVERY SINGLE DAY holds the possibility for magic.  They believe me less and less as they grow older but I hope that some of my passion will stick with them or that they will return to it when they are adults.

I seek out challenges.  I dream of learning.  It doesn't bother me to do things on my own because who knows what characters I might meet?  And, if I don't make a new friend then I've probably learned something new about myself.

What is it I do?  Everything I can.  Here are a few things you can try to ease into the world of Great Adventure (sometimes without ever leaving home!):

  • Learn to sew.  Oh, right...that doesn't sound very adventurous, does it?  But let me ask you this:  How many people do you know who can sew?  (And I mean REALLY in buying that Simplicity pattern and making a skirt?)  I'll bet it's not very many.  I'll have you know that I learned to sew a mitered corner.  And I made a skirt that actually fit me.  Mainly because I am hardcore.
  • Try an improv class.  Improv changed my life.  You probably think I'm kidding, but I'm not.  I took a few classes at the AMAZING Dirty South Comedy Theater with Jeremy Griffin and the ridiculously funny, very gifted Zach Ward.  I became a member of a Harold team there and  I learned lessons that continue to grow me to this day.  Along the way, I formed a few friendships that I feel sure will last a lifetime. Can I get a "Yes, and...?"
  • Learn to drive fast.  OK, they SAY they're teaching "high-performance" driving but really, they are teaching you to careen a car around corners Mach 2 with your hair on fire.  This is NOT NASCAR, people.  This is seriously fun stuff (maybe a little dangerous)  You should try it.  I went with the BMW club at Virginia International Raceway.  You can register for your own school with the Tarheel Chapter of the BMW Club
  • Go skydiving.  There is nothing like hurtling to the earth to make you feel alive.  This was one of the most mind-boggling experiences of my life and I cannot wait to take my children and my godchildren on their own flights of fancy someday.  Of course, the friend who went skydiving with me didn't have quite the same experience since she plummeted to earth completely unconscious but AT LEAST SHE HAS THE VIDEO.  
  • Take a writing class.  I have taken classes with some "serious" writers which aren't generally that much fun because they prattle on about INTENT and plots and characters and they think, think, think.  But some writing classes are FUN.  They have classes to teach you to write your memoirs.  Anyone can learn to write. Maybe you can write stories about your childhood, your parents or your grandparents to pass along to future generations.
  • Learn to act.  I took a super fun acting class a few years ago but the only thing I really remember is the best compliment I ever received from a virtual stranger who was my acting partner in a scene:  "What you're wearing is fine.  You look good in everything.  I think you'd look great in NOTHING."  Was my face red?? But I loved that comment because it was so honest and immediate and offered by someone who obviously didn't make comments like that every day.  I don't know if the acting class helped but it certainly didn't hurt my chances when my youngest son and I auditioned for (and secured big parts in!) a Christmas play last year.
  • Go to movies, plays and to dinner alone every now and again.  You'll be amazed at how different the world appears when you go at it on your own.  You have no one to hide behind.  It will open your eyes to a brave new experience.  What I do very often (as crazy as it sounds) is pretend that I'm starring in my very own movie.  I imagine that the people in the restaurant or the theater are starring in the movie alongside me and I am able to develop their characters in my head as I people-watch.  
  • Learn to dance.  Or just dance.  This is my newest, most unaccomplished goal.  I DID take that ballet class for a PE requirement in college.  How was I to know that EVERY SINGLE other person in there had "taken" ballet for THEIR ENTIRE LIVES?  The ballet instructor was aghast that I had never had a class before...ever.  What in the hell was I doing in college if not to learn new things and have new experiences?  I think I may have been the only student to have ever done that in the history of the class (but I sure hope not).  Good thing I took it pass/fail.
Risk taking is...well, risky.  This blog is a risk.  I am putting my words and my life out there for all to see.  And some of what I write isn't very good.  But I'm doing it because it's's fun...and it's a way for me to connect with people in a way I haven't before.

Take a chance.  Do something new.  Don't wait.  

Addendum:  My friend who passed out while skydiving was a little peeved that I did NOT mention that she passed out due to whiplash and concussion from the chute deployment.  She was NOT A SCAREDY PANTS.   She was a very, very brave woman.  Who just happened to pass out while skydiving due to injury.  :) (Better, Linda?)


  1. Did you ever read the Berenstein Bear book in which the father sets out to teach safety to the cubs by (not intentionally) showing them what NOT to do?

    Just wondering.

    Signed, Your Not So Fearless Friend,
    Thinking about your "stay-at-home" boys,

    1. Amanda, I LOVED that book! :) You may have a point there...