Wednesday, May 4, 2011

So, what did you risk, Kate?

The month of Risk is over, and what a great month it was! Here are a smattering of the risks I took, and why they were risky:

1. Setting clear boundaries with a date -- eek! he might not like me!
2. Going to an OA meeting -- yikes! I might have food issues!
3. Starting a friendship with someone I previously had a crush on -- oh no! I might get hurt!
4. Cutting off all my hair -- ack! I might look so stupid that nobody would ever ask me out again!

Needless to say, one of the things I learned about risk is that it is incredibly personal. What's risky for me could be a walk in the park for you, and vice versa. Also, what's risky for me at this point in my life could, at some other point, have been no great shakes.

Enter my mom.

When I asked her about risk, my mom told me about the risks she took when she moved to New York in the 60's. She had a degree in journalism from Northwestern University and moved to the city completely alone looking for a job writing advertising. (Can you say "Mad Men"?) And, unbeknownst to my mother, the way a woman got a job as a writer in those days was to take a job as a secretary and then get promoted to a writer's position. But my mom a) didn't know that, and b) didn't want to be a secretary. So when she was offered a couple of secretarial positions, she turned them down flat. She was, finally, offered a writing position at an agency, but not before going through several interviews. Had she known at the time what was "expected," she told me, she never would have done anything quite so risky. But what I love about it is how courageous and forthright she was. She wanted what she wanted and went after it the only way she knew how. Risk or no risk.

Another friend told me that "risk is risk the way gravity is gravity, but you may not feel it until you experience the effects." And I'll be honest -- the effects ranged from "meh" to "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahimgonnadieijustknowit!" But there was a consistent dedication I felt in pursuing all my risks; I was doing it for the greater good of the Kate. And that made facing down the fear all the more bearable.

It was an exciting and mind-bending month; I HIGHLY recommend an experiment like this one!

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