I quickly skimmed my mental checklist: insulated boots, medium-weight parka, mittens-not gloves, and snow scoop. Clearing the driveway was on the agenda. I had decided to shovel the ridge of snow that forms a few feet away from the garage door during each snowstorm. I had considered using the snow-thrower, but it’s so much hassle to drag it out of the garage. All steps considered, the total amount of time for using the power thrower versus the scoop is about equal. I chose to use the scoop because it is more expedient.
As I’ve grown older, my ideas of risk-taking have become much more mundane than I could have imagined years ago. Just a decade ago, I would never have had a mental debate about how best to clear snow from the driveway and sidewalks. Now that I’m older, clearing away snow could result in temporary disability or death. The point is that the driveway must be cleared because I won’t be able to go anywhere without taking the risk.
Because the need to clear the driveway isn’t urgent, I take my time and stop for breathers a few times. I carefully ration out the energy needed, which makes the task somewhat enjoyable. Pausing halfway down the driveway allows me to observe the peaceful, snowy neighborhood environment. In this regard, taking the risk and carefully doing the task is worthwhile. The feeling of accomplishment is a fine reward.
Risk-taking isn’t limited to snow scooping. We all face risky situations of some sort. We usually do some version of risk assessment either mentally or on paper. Perceived loss versus perceived gain figures into our decision whether to go ahead or not venture forth.
In my opinion, if a person cares about his or her quality of life, taking reasonable risks is what we should do in order to satisfy curiosity and to maintain vitality. There are the adventurers, athletes, entrepreneurs, inventors, and military and political leaders who got where they are by seeking out challenges and taking risks.
One part of life I’ve always enjoyed is periodically reinventing myself. There are always the risks of disappointing others or humiliation. In the end, such risks are the price of admission. If a fulfilling life is the goal, reasonable risks must be considered. I’m glad I’ve taken some risks head-on.
Even the failures might be considered successes in the learning process. Going ahead and doing is preferable to just being a lump on a log. Life is always in a state of flux. In as much as change is inevitable, why not take control of what is possible?
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes English actor, Matt Smith. “I think that every artistic venture is a risk, and it has to be that way, so you do as much preparation as you can and make that as thorough as you can possibly make it, until you turn up on set. It’s about taking risks, and some might work and some might not, but that’s what makes it interesting.”