I want my boys to fail. Not ultimately, and not incredibly hard, but I want them to know how to recover. I want them to be resilient. I want them to know what it means to work hard for something, even if there’s a chance they might not get it in the end. I’m not very good at that. Let me rephrase: I’m terrible at that. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve tried something new knowing there was a good chance I might not succeed. I’m not a huge risk taker. Which might sound strange coming from someone who’s lived on three continents and traveled to 20+ countries, moved to London after college graduation with a few bucks in savings and a boyfriend, quit a job to move to Africa to build a preschool from the ground up, switched careers and went back to school at 33, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. (and what I really mean to say by that is yadda, yadda, yadda). Yawn.
But I’ve always known I could do those things.
Is that confidence? Is that what I’m hoping for my sons? I guess so. But I hope for more. I hope they try things even if they know there's a chance they could fail. That, to me, is real risk. That’s the kind of risk real risk takers take.
(How much risk would a risk taker risk if he knew he just might fail?)
So as 2015 comes to a close and I sit with my trusty green journal, handwriting my annual New Year’s Resolutions as I do at the end of each December, risk taking will be high on my list this coming year. Not the kind of risk that might be life threatening or dangerous, I’m not interested in skydiving or bungee jumping, thank you very much.
I’m talking about the kind of risk that makes me uncomfortable. The risk that gives me pause because I might as well be dangling from a suspension bridge for as vulnerable as I feel once I’m out there. The risk that keeps me up at night wondering whether I did the right thing, or what people might think.
(Although side note: immediately following ‘take more risks’ on my list this year will be ‘stop caring what other people think and just GO FOR IT if it makes you happy and won’t hurt anyone.’ Turning forty has definitely improved my chances of success with this resolution!).
Putting this blog out for public consumption is a start. And we’ll see where I go from there. Hopefully a few more writings will get published. Maybe I’ll run a few more retreats. Maybe I’ll finally figure out my calling and get on it.
But for now, I’ll start where I can, which is right where I’m at, since I can’t possibly be anywhere else. Here’s to risking (even if it fails) in 2016!
Happy New Year!