I've never been a risk taker in the traditional sense, not even a little bit. When people think adventurous, they think of jumping out of planes, of danger, and that's never really been my strong suit. Let's just say that I'm definitely not the person you'd call to go skydiving, or the one to go all-in and bet everything. As boring as it sounds, I prefer planning, caution, baby steps. I like to feel safe.
Recently I joked with a friend about it, laughing over how predictable I can be. "Yeah, me and my comfort zone," I said. "I guess I'll never be the adventurous type, huh?"
She was quiet for a second. "Depends on the adventure, doesn't it?
I thought about that for a long time, about adventure and bravery and courage. I thought about all the different ways you can be daring, all the different ways you can be bold. I thought about taking chances, about every time I'd chased after something without any way of knowing how it would turn out. I thought about grad school and moving back to California and choosing to be a writer. And I thought about love, the biggest, most terrifying, most rewarding risk of all.
Brave is switching careers, like Radley, or moving across the country to pursue your dream, like Sam. Brave is saying yes to the things that matter to you, gambling when it's worth it.
One of my New Year's resolutions is to do the things that scare me, and for years I thought that meant pushing my sanity to its limits, flinging myself to the edge for a meaningless risk just because.
But lately I've realized that risk doesn't mean anything unless you're striving toward something you care about. Adventures only matter when you're seeking out some kind of treasure, and not everyone has the same idea of treasure. Actually, most of us probably don't even know what we're even looking for... but I mean, the not-knowing, the figuring-out — isn't that sort of the point?
Last week I decided to get back into acting. After years of loving theatre more than anything in the world, after years of feeling most myself under the spotlight, I let it go because the professional path of an actress felt too shaky, too unsure. Ever since, though, I've sworn I'd go back, but I've always been too afraid — too afraid that I'd forgotten how, maybe, or too afraid to love it again. Yeah, that's it.
Love really is the greatest risk, isn't it? But oh man, it's so damn worth it.
(Photo: Brooklyn Alley | My Instagram)