You know something I have recently realized I hate more than almost anything else? Risks. I detest taking risks. I’d be a real winner in Vegas, eh? Ever since I was a little girl, I avoided them at all costs. I never talked out of turn in class. I never strayed from the strict uniform code of my private schools, no matter how desperately I wanted to wear socks that weren’t knee-high. When my friends and I used to make prank phones calls, I was never the one to talk to the poor person we were bothering. And in the rare instances I was, I always hung up the phone as soon as the person on the other end answered (probably why my friends never delegated this duty to me). Although, there was the one time when my friends got their hands on our principle’s home phone number and we sang Britney Spears on her answering machine. Of course, I was the one who had to go into the police station for questioning when she filed a complaint (story for another time…it really is a good one). Bottom line, I was never a trouble maker. I liked to know what was expected of me and stick to it. I was very comfortable staying inside the lines. I just didn’t want to risk getting in trouble.
Even as I got older, as the risks starting evolving and carrying a much different consequence than getting detention, I still opted out whenever I could. So many times in high school, my anxiety would get the best of me because I didn’t want to risk getting stuck in a situation I was uncomfortable in. I would often skip parties or dances because I didn’t want to risk anything. I didn’t want to go on trips with friends because “What if something happens?” was as far as my brain would think. I had my safe little bubble, and I liked it there. Only, really, I hated it in the bubble. I just didn’t know it yet.
In all honesty, college was probably the first real risk I took. My parents didn’t think I was going to go away. And with good right! Leaving home and going to school in a city of nearly three million people shouldn’t have even been on the table. It didn’t sound like me. There should have been no way. But I was determined to do it. Up to that point, everything people said I couldn’t do, I didn’t do. They weren’t being pessimistic, just realistic. But something was telling me that I could do this. Whether that was a God thing, my gut instinct, or I was just a little insane, who knows. But whatever that was, it was telling me that this leap was manageable. And so, one day after school, I told my mom that I had decided where I was going to school. No more looking, no more talking, I had decided on DePaul University. She said okay, and we made plans for me to attend in the fall. But from that day until the day I left for school, probably even a few weeks after I started, I think my parents still had doubts. I never did. I still don’t know why I didn’t. I have no idea what made me so confident that I wouldn’t fail, but I knew that I wouldn’t. And I didn’t. College was by far the best thing that has eve happened to me. I grew in ways that I couldn’t have even dreamed of. The person I was before I left that fall before my freshman year is a shadow of the woman I am now. Sometimes, I don’t even recognize her.
Except sometimes I do. Even after such a positive outcome from such an enormous risk, I still HATE taking them. I hate jumping off that cliff. When I get to the bottom, I’m almost always glad I stepped off. But it’s the whole “free fall down” thing that scares me shitless. The risks are different in this stage of the game, though. Career, friends, love. But how silly would it be to live life like this? Yes, things COULD go horribly wrong. But I can’t live my life half-assed in order to prevent the possible negative outcomes. Because what if those “what ifs?” don’t happen? And things turn out wonderfully? How would I ever know that if I didn’t take the risk? So I’m going to just start taking those risks. Jumping off that damn cliff even if I scream the whole way down (which…is very likely).