Taking Chances


Last night I curled up in bed, exhausted from a long day and desperately in need of something to take my mind off work and the tasks that lay ahead. I always have to read before I fall asleep. I need to allow my mind to go somewhere else, somewhere outside of my own life. I need to immerse myself in someone else’s reality, even if it’s the made up reality found in fiction. I read everything and anything that strikes my fancy. At the moment I am reading a novel by Lisa Verge Higgins that doesn’t release until January (perks of my profession is getting my hands on advance readers copies). The novel, The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship, details the emotional journey that three friends undergo when one member of their group passes away at a tragically young age. But she doesn’t go quietly into that good night, she leaves behind advice in the form of a letter for each of her friends. Each woman has a task laid out before her, something that she would never have considered doing if not for the advice of a daring, adventurous friend. These women find themselves stepping out of their comfortable lives and taking risks and chances they never would have even considered attempting.

Because I tend to feel that everything comes into our lives for a reason, I couldn’t help but wonder what this book was trying to teach me. Why had I picked up this particular novel at this particular time in my life? Do I need to take more chances? Risk more? Adventure more? I tend to live in the comfort of my routine. I work all day, try to get to the gym every night and curl up in front of the television after dinner. I like my routine. It works for me. It provides solace in a world that can sometimes seem overwhelming and daunting. But do I take enough risks? Do I live spontaneously? Do I seek adventure?

Here’s the interesting thing about adventure, it doesn’t necessarily mean jumping out of an airplane (as one character does) or doing something that scares or frightens you. Adventure and risks can come in any shape or form. Just stepping out of your routine can be an adventure, can teach you a lesson you never expected to learn. Taking chances means opening your heart and your eyes to the life that surrounds you, the beauty, the brilliance, the excitement, the danger, the passion that can be found every single day. ┬áTaking chances means not analyzing every step, every choice, weighing the pros and cons. It means jumping into something with both feet, feeling the exhilaration of truly living your life, not just watching it go by. Learn a new language, go on a trip, take a dance class, learn to knit, there are so many small ways we can take chances in life, so many opportunities to learn and grow. We need to take advantage of every day and appreciate the beauty and wonder of being alive and being free.

I’m sure today I’m still going to stick to my routine, I have work that needs to get done, a doctor’s appointment, a personal gym schedule, but at least that seed has been planted. I am looking at my life differently and I am taking stock of the things I do for fun, for pure enjoyment and exhilaration. I want that list to be longer than the list of obligations and responsibilities. We only have one chance at this amazing ride and I want to get everything I can out of it.

Do you take risks? Do you seek adventure in life? Do you think it is important to do these things in order to live a fulfilling life?