And now, because I’ve got just 6 days left at the job I’ve had for 15 years, a note on risk-taking. (By popular demand!*)
I believe that there is a point in our lives where we become set in our ways, perhaps a bit too passive, content to roll along on autopilot. We are happy to be drama-free or maybe overly cautious. Maybe not. Regardless, it is easy to slip into a nice, safe existence where life is smooth, untroubled, and adventure-proof.
Sure, we have our ups and downs. We go on little vacations. Some of us bring children to life’s table and our lives develop a new focus. We are living the greatest adventure we’ve ever had. But soon, we grow accustomed to the ways of the ninja toddler or pre-teen mope-sack and life seems pretty good. Why rock the boat? (After all, the teen years are just around the corner and then who knows what will happen!) In the meantime, we keep our jobs and plod along doing little hobbies here or there, cultivating a private passion for the arts or World Cup soccer or 3D printing. Often we do something really crazy like rearrange the furniture or xeriscape our yards.
It is rare in the grown-up reality of bills and responsibilities and normal, non-tech, unglamorous, everyday, salt-of-the-earth lives that we are given the opportunity to make a major change in our tiny world. Luckily, unbelievably, I have been given that chance. In fact, I embraced it. I cut ties with my soon-to-be-former educational community and ran toward the cliff of uncertainty with a puny parachute and a very used wingsuit. It was freefall time. Pretty scary. Miraculously, I found a landing zone and it’s all good, but for a few minutes it was touch and go. Still pretty scary.
Giving up everything you know is like that.
So, I guess I’m a risk-taker. I didn’t think I was, but when I do the risk-taking tolerance assessment, (thank insurance industry!), my results are moderate to severe. It makes sense, now that I think about it.
During the rock and roll era of my life, if measured on the debauchery scale from Paul Anka to Kiss I was probably in the Hanson range, leaning toward a good helping of Sublime, minus the heroin. Risky? A bit.
Dumb kid stuff, like driving too fast and climbing things that were dangerous, while looking for questionable bodies of water to leap into. Check! Risky.
Writing checks that my body couldn’t cash? Uh huh. Risky.
Going to the wrong side of the railroad tracks? Been there. Not so risky.
Major life changes in my prime. Not really risky, just expected.
Major life changes in early middle age. Kinda risky, but the jury is still out. We’ll see what happens.
There are plenty of things that are riskier. Plenty of places where each day that you continue to drew breath there is risk. It comes from the simple fact that you are in a jungle or a war-torn country or at the bottom of the barrel or just on the wrong side of prevailing social thought.
So, in assessing my risk-taking tolerance I find that it is just below drinking water from a stagnant puddle on a desert island. Yet, I am likely to do something stupid like go to trapeze school. I would eat green eggs and ham, but not with a fox, because those demonic little fur balls can carry rabies! I would attend a punk rock show, but I would not join the mosh pit. (I might break my glasses!) Would I open my own bicycle business in Scottsdale? I don’t know. That seems like a risk only an advanced risk-taker would take!
I will walk away from everything I know as an educator, but I am going to an exciting new school with a principal who has already shown great leadership and an interest in pushing the boundaries of the status quo and, in fact, stated in my interview that she was looking for a risk-taker.
Sign me up! Besides, one of my pals is going to be there too, so it’ll be a hoot!
*OK, so “popular demand” is pushing it, but I was reminded by my favorite mentor & friend today that maybe it was time to write something again. It has been awhile and my only excuse is that I have been focusing on ending my school year, gearing up for a new job, and working on music a lot lately. (Speaking of music, I have been mulling some thoughts and have an idea that will soon be making its way from my brain to my fingers in coming days…)