a non-story about risk
If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary. ~Jim Rohn
This is a story about risk. Actually, it’s not even a story, really, rather it’s a bunch of words strung together. Those words, though… they say something about risk. Something that I hope will inspire movement or, at the very least, cause your heart to skip a beat. You should know that the next few paragraphs have nothing to do with running or yoga, but real life also exists outside of those two things and I feel compelled to share a bit of that.
I’ve lived on this planet for forty-one years, now, and just the other day, I learned something about myself that I actually already knew - relearned it, if you will. I’m not a risk-taker. Those of you who know me will argue that. “But you scale mountains and go climbing and run ultras that take you through the woods alone at night,” you’ll say. Those of you who know me well, though, will affirm this self-discovery with the most emphatic of “no shit, Adi”s. Those of you who know me well know that mountains and trails and the darkest of nights aren’t risks to me. They are adventures, requiring nothing but wide eyes and a strong desire to try. You understand that risk, to me, is chancing hurt. It’s inching your heart out into the world ever so slowly and daring it to feel something. It’s braving vulnerability and choosing to feel, even when that feeling is coated in a protective layer of fear. Even when you know that that feeling will slip to the sad or angry or anxious end of the emotion spectrum despite your most stubborn attempts to Pollyanna the shit out of it (Not sure about that phrase? Read this.). Even when you know it means tears and hard conversations and lost sleep.
Recently, I was having conversation with someone and we landed on relationships. She and I were specifically talking about friendships, but as the words were dancing through the air, I realized that they were appropriate for any dynamic. Friendship. Love. Familial. In this exchange of thoughts and advice - most of which were coming from me (which is ironic, at best) - I realized that, although the invisible, but quite tangible, walls I carried around had cracked, they hadn’t quite crumbled yet. I realized that I was dispensing snippets of wisdom that I wasn’t practicing, because practicing meant doing something truly fucking scary… It meant taking an actual risk. The thing is, I’m often accused of being an emotionless person, but it’s quite the opposite, actually. I’m highly emotional. I just guard my heart as though it were a high-risk prison escapee just waiting to break free and unleash chaos onto the world until it’s sneakily and swiftly captured. And ultimately destroyed. I’ve been there, and I don’t just mean in love. In friendship. In family. We probably all have, at some point. Some just handle it better than others because they are risk-takers. I fall into that “others” category because I’m not. Or, I wasn’t, at least…
Here it is. My point, that is. After four decades on this planet, I’ve found a handful of people worth working for. Worth having hard conversations with. Worth losing sleep and tears over. I've had, and still do have, some truly wonderful friends, but none of those friendships have meant as much to me as the ones I have now. I feel lucky. Luckier than I should be, but when it comes to stumbling upon something great, luck is only the beginning. I know this, and I also know that I’ve inherited this less-than-desirable trait that makes it easy for me to let go and not even look back to see the relationship fade, and it’s something I’ve fought my entire life. In any relationship, reasons to let go will always surface, but luck is rare. Finding the people who make you want to take a chance is the exception to life, and I know that I have to be smart enough to hold on tightly and work for what I have, even when fear or habit or anything else I battle tries to force me to let go. We all do, because when finding our people, the biggest risk we can take is not taking the risk.
*note: photo taken on an adventure in Leadville, Colorado by one of those friends worth taking a risk on