So Long, Security

Have you ever done something just to be safe? Ever regretted not taking a risk when you could have, because you were afraid of failing? Afraid of stumbling and falling? Afraid of someone else telling you “I told you so”?

Of course. I’ve been there – we’ve all been there. We like security – inherently, we crave it. And, from a very early age, we’re told to “play it safe” – it’s indoctrinated into our psyche to follow a very clear path.

Go to school. Get a job. Get married. Have babies. Retire. Die.

Well, damn, when you summarize it that way, it sounds pretty depressing, don’t it? That’s because it is.

Living a life “inside the box” was something I knew I wanted no part of from a very early age. Sure, all of those “steps” above sound nice, but if you’re life is defined by one sentence, you’re life is pretty dull.

That’s why I’ve always hated elevator pitches (and I’m horrible at giving them). I can’t ever seem to find a way to sum up who I am, or what I do in a few words. There’s much more to me than that – just like there’s much more to you. Besides, who ever decided that the proper response to “what do you do?” was to immediately start spitting out a job title?

Safe is safe

It’s all safe. And safe is, well, safe. It’s comfortable. It’s a regular paycheck. It’s easy to describe at Thanksgiving dinner when the entire family is asking what you do.

This year was anything but safe for me. I had the security blanket ripped away from me when I lost my “secure” job in January and then, cold and shivering, away from my blanky, I somehow kept moving forward.

That’s the funny thing about security – you only think you need it until you don’t need it. And once you don’t have it, once you’re “fall-back” is missing, that’s when you can really start living – because everything is on your own terms – through insecurity and risk, you can create your own security.

So that’s the moral, that’s the take-away. Secure and “safe” may sound nice – but is that security really what matters most to you? Are you personally fulfilled and excited about that security? If not, start taking risks. Take a flying leap every now and then. Think about the worst case scenario, if the risk doesn’t pay off…

Odds are, the “worst thing that could happen” isn’t as bad as you think – and even if you stumble and fall a few times along the way, you’ll be doing something you weren’t doing before. Living.

(This post is part of the month-long #reverb10 event)