Published on Sunday, May 24th, 2020 03:13:27 PM
If You’re Going to Jump Off a Bridge, Make Sure You Know How Deep the Water Is
Me, I’ve always been a risk-taker. Too much of a risk-taker, some might say. In the long term, I haven’t regretted the things I’ve done in life because they’ve made me who I am, and anyway you never know where the alternative would have gotten you. In the short term, however, I have often caught myself thinking, “You idiot! Why didn’t you see that coming?”
The answer, of course, is because I didn’t check how deep the water was before I jumped. There was the time I gave up a very good, steady job to become a writer. Didn’t think about how long it would take to make any money as a writer.* Didn’t plan out whether my savings would last. Didn’t calculate what the mortgage, bills, weekly shopping, car, pet food, and all the rest would cost me with a new lifestyle.
Well, eventually I started to make a living from my writing, but there were some pretty sticky years first, I can tell you.
I’ve always been terrified of ending up like those people I know who never take risks and who never go anywhere, change, grow, do anything, realize their dreams. I’ve seen it too often, and I don’t want my name added to the list, thank you. But over the years, I’ve noticed that the people who are really happy are the ones who take risks, sure, but they look ahead first. Not looking for excuses to stay on the shore, but looking to see how deep the water is. As I’ve learned (shamefully slowly) to copy their example, I’ve found it makes me happier, too.
I get what I want, and without paying as heavily for it as I often used to.
I’ve been gullible in the past. Friends have said, “Come in, the water’s lovely! Join us in this business venture/vacation/game.” And I’ve just jumped in without looking. Funnily enough, sometimes it’s turned out that the water is actually cold, murky, muddy, clammy. And invariably wet.
Ugh! I’ve also had friends ask me to support them in ways that I haven’t thought through.
There’s an instinct to help your friends when they’re in trouble, but sometimes a loan that isn’t repaid is more than you can afford. Or putting in time to listen to their troubles invades so much of your life that your family suffers.