When my ex-husband and I were first married, we began to use a budget. I was used to saving and living a bit frugally – while my ex was more accustomed to eating out and spending much of his paycheck every month. It’s not that one is better or worse than the other – it’s just different.
One of the more common fights between couples is over how money is spent, but for some unknown reason I gave a little, he gave a little and we learned to adjust to each others spending habits, while still saving money in the long run.
However, I still stressed over some of the expenses I didn’t feel we should shoulder and he didn’t. I remember one day adding up what he was spending on lunch every week. I stood in the middle of our apartment kitchen, hands on my hips and stated – you really like living on the edge, don’t you?
It became an expression we both used any time an expense popped up that fell into a specific category of not too much to be overwhelming but more than $10.00 – one of us liked living on the edge.
Of course, it wasn’t really living on the edge, and neither of us really spent money recklessly – but I thought about that expression the other day.
When was the last time I lived life on the edge?
When was the last time I took a risk? Tried something outside my comfort zone? Rather, when was the last time I lived on the edge of what I considered home?
It had been years – and years – and it didn’t feel good. As a young woman I was used to change and making changes in my life with excitement at what the future would hold. I moved from Chicago to Indianapolis to see where a relationship would lead. It led nowhere.
I moved from a cozy little college town to Chicago to get my bachelors in nursing at a large prestigious university. My roommate from college and I moved into a great condo along Lake Shore Drive with a view of Lake Michigan after stumbling onto the lease. My hospital unit manager in Indianapolis fired me after I took a risk and didn’t call her when a child died one night because the mom asked me not to call her in.
Business ventures were tried and failed – and others succeeded.
But through most of my first decades of life, taking chances was a way of life that I embraced and enjoyed.
Today, raising the last of my four children, it feels like the right time to start living life on the edge once again.
The issue now becomes HOW to do it. What decisions are made first? What risks are worth the effort and which are those better left on the roadside?
My youngest and I joined a discipleship class about three months ago. We’ve learned a LOT, made some new friends and watched how God is moving in our lives in a very powerful way. We took a risk and it’s paying off in big dividends.
The other day I was out for a walk and God presented an opportunity I didn’t take. I didn’t take the risk that God presented – always a bad decision! – and I was again reminded I’m living a comfortable life and finding comfortable results.
Any great business person will tell you – to experience great results, many times requires big risk. The risks may not be obvious or even make you uncomfortable – but there will be risks.
The point where risks became undoable happened after the birth of my second son. Dragging around two children was much easier than three – and having four children felt like a risk in and of itself.
Today, risks will present themselves when God brings them into my life. In much the same way they happened before – except at that point I called it serendipity and coincidence. Today, I know better – but it doesn’t make the wait or the risk any less fun or exciting.
Living life on the edge also means being ready for failure – being able to accept the failure and move on to the next path, road, or decision.
However, the opposite side of the failure are the rewards and experiences that come with risk taking. AND, another benefit lies in the experience of the risk. The more you take, the easier the next one is, and the one after that.
Do you remember watching your children learning to walk? Each time they pulled up to stand and took a step out, they took a step in faith that at some point they would remain standing. With each failure they learned better balance, what they did wrong and they tried again.
Taking risks can be exactly like that – trying, failing and then getting up and trying again. The difference is to learn from those mistakes and after getting up to try doing it all differently. Maybe that’s where risk taking becomes scary – because failure may be inevitable, but success doesn’t come without failing, usually many more times than once.
In the next months I’m taking another risk – a business one this time. However, while it’s a new business venture, it’s not a huge risk as there isn’t much more than my time invested.
I can hear my sister yelling at me that my time is VALUABLE and I should stop de-valuing the time I spend doing anything. But, no matter how you slice it – I’ve not invested much money in this project and the time I have invested is time spent after my clients and without taking time from my daughter.
So, all told, is that really a risk?
Maybe it’s time I looked for something else to call a risk. My oldest daughter wants to move and wants me and her little sister to come along. A different part of the U.S. A new city. New friends and a whole new environment.
THAT sounds like a risk worth taking!