To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out for another is to risk involvement.
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.
Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave, he has forfeited freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.
-William Arthur Ward
I stumbled upon this in a most literary manner, which could also be read as a most cheesy, Lifetime movie manner, but we’ll go with the poetic former. While rummaging through a box of photographs, just trying to find some of the dog I used to have, I dropped several pictures, one being a photo of me with my grandpa at brunch in Hawaii—I wanna say I was 10 ish, but I can’t be quite sure. Anyway, stuck to the back of the photo was a Ward’s “Risk” typed modestly on sheet of paper, yellowing at the edges from time. I had a moment. One of those this-is-the-stuff-of-life moments and almost teared up.
“To Risk” couldn’t have had better timing, at a point where I’m both frustrated and confused with and in life, frustrated that I am such with life, and frustrated in knowing that I shouldn’t be such with life; if that makes any sense at all. Sitting there, seeing the photo, knowing the kind of person my grandparents were in their prime and who they still are, that my parents are…I’m overcome with guilt and simultaneous feelings of hopelessness and hopefulness.
It’s difficult to “just do it” forgoing comparison, ignoring expectation. I want so much for myself and for others and from life and that want is so intense, that I find myself going the other way and wanting and expecting the least. It’s not sensible in the slightest, but is what’s happened and I’m working on fixing that.
I guess we’ll leave it there for now.
I hope that everyone takes one thing away from this post and continues to takes risks. I admire my friends who’ve done and are doing so. You keep me grounded and set a bar.