Hesitation stalled my poised spoon as it hovered above the frosty ice cream Brandy Alexander. With a past health history of lactose and glucose intolerances I weighed the consequences of diving into the creamy drink. Fat chance that my intestines wouldn’t bloat or my A1C wouldn’t rise. Then I plunged in headfirst.
Little Risk, Little Payoff
“Risk means ‘shit happens’ or ‘good luck”
― Toba Beta, Betelgeuse Incident: Insiden Bait Al-Jauza
From time to time, I throw caution to the wind, but not often. In the Brandy Alexander scenario, it was more like tossing concern casually in a slight breeze.
Could I have forgone the drink dessert?
Yes, but a special occasion (my birthday) with a special guy (my Mike) and armed with Lactaid tablets and three previous normal A1C reports with no prediabetic designations, I enjoyed the creamy dessert.
The pleasure fleeting. The consequences mild.
In my life it seemed like low risk usually brought small payoff, but not always.
Little Risk, Big Payoff
“Quit while you are ahead. All the best gamblers do.”
Baltasar Gracián y Morales
While Colorado road tripping, I needed a restroom. We pulled into a gas station. However, my need for a restroom and our need for gas didn’t coincide. My sense of fairness dictated that if I used the facilities, I made a purchase.
Could I have just walked out of the busy mart to where I’d never return?
Yes, but I morally couldn’t and with a cooler of drinks and snacks in the car, my sensible purchasable options were limited.
So, I chose a foolish one. With a snowball’s chance in hell of winning, I slapped a sawbuck on the counter for a scratch off lottery ticket.
Several swipes across the concealed images with a quarter’s edge revealed a winner. I stashed fifty sawbucks in my pocket.
I wouldn’t have remembered the ten bucks if I had spent it on Doritos, but a wad of cash was memorable.
Big Risk, Big Payoff
“Living with fear stops us taking risks, and if you don’t go out on the branch, you’re never going to get the best fruit.” – Sarah Parish
During the housing bubble of 2006, the value of the house I called home exploded. At the time I co-owned it and the co-owner wanted out. I could have sold my half, taken the money, and ran.
But where too? After much soul searching and asset tabulating, I decided to risk it. I wanted to be here, home. While out on a limb I signed a mortgage I could barely afford. I reasoned that if the mortgage became unmanageable, I would sell later.
Then the housing market tanked along with my Plan B. I developed a Plan C.
Through a patchwork of part time jobs including a beverage cart attendant at a golf course, spirits consultant at liquor stores, and a receptionist at a hair salon (I was fired from that last one.) in addition to my full-time teaching position, I paid the mortgage off five years ago.
Its value has increased and so has my contentment. Writing is now my only work and I hardly consider it work.
I risked my monetary well-being and it paid off financially and emotionally.
My outgoing tendencies have taken emotional risks from time to time.
Little Risk, Big Payoff
“Leap and the net will appear.” — Zen Saying
Career and family narrowed my social interactions to educational conferences and play dates for my son. While my son’s independence grew so did my free time, and I wanted to spend it with friends.
Except I didn’t have any. At least none that I’d seen within a millennium. I took a small risk and asked old friends if they’d like to hang out, an awkward request when you haven’t seen them in a while. Most had moved on to other social circles. Others happily accepted.
With a ramped-up risk, I asked an acquaintance if she’d like to have a girls’ weekend in Las Vegas. (I had never traveled with Gisela and had never been to Vegas.) She said yes and Gisela then invited one of her friends if she’d like to join us who in turn suggested to another friend that she might want to come and so on.
In the last twenty-three years some permutation of the original group has traveled to Vegas, Boston, Seattle, Toronto, and New Orleans to name a few destinations.
My riskiest emotional venture involved dating after divorce. I E-Harmodied a banker, speed dated a man fifteen years my junior, and accepted dates with golfers I met while serving Bloodies on Sunday mornings at Chalet Golf Course.
When Mike, my now Significant Other, responded to my message on the Plenty of Fish dating site, my risk-taking paid off for both of us. We’ve been together for fifteen years.
This life changing event wouldn’t have happened had I not chanced rejection.
Risks That I Almost Took, But Didn’t
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
“Or maybe not.” – Anita Borgo
A motorcycle as a backup vehicle SEEMED like an inspired idea when my household verged on two drivers and one vehicle.
I had never driven a motorcycle, but had twice been a passenger. Two lessons into a motorcycle drivers’ course I decided that I didn’t have the strength (The borrowed Suzuki fell a few times.) or the coordination (All four appendages needed to perform different tasks simultaneously.) or the balance (There were ONLY two wheels.).
I quit the course before the third lesson. Actually, the instructors called and asked me not to return.
I never did buy a motorcycle. Imminent death was a bit too risky for me.
In retrospect most risks that I’ve taken that incurred negative results morphed into interesting anecdotes rather than dire consequences.
What are the odds of that?