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Random Thoughts: on dangerous places

I’m not much of a risk taker. I remember a time when I would stick my hand in a hamster cage in a heartbeat. It wasn’t a lack of fear – I always knew I could get bitten and how much it hurt. I’d been hamster bit many a time. It was just that I wanted to hold that hamster more than I feared the hamster’s bite.

I’m not that girl anymore.

I don’t know when she disappeared, when the fear of the bite overtook my excitement and desire to reach into dangerous places. 


Are you a risk taker or do you keep on the safe side? Were you always like that?

Is playing it a bit more safe just a normal part of growing up, learning and deciding what risks we are and aren’t willing to take?

As I got older, did I gain more fear, or lose my excitement?


24 Comments Post a comment
  1. Larry The Deuce #

    I think many of us are taught to not take risks. People don’t want us to fail.

    January 5, 2014
    • That’s an interesting angle, Larry, I didn’t think of that. Lots to consider there. You know, we teach kids so many things without ever even realizing it.

      January 5, 2014
  2. Boots,
    It’s easy to buy into whatever everyone else is excited by…..trends. When everyone moves in a certain direction the instinct is to follow and then be excited in this new “trendy” place. Your problem is that you don’t get excited by trends… are a very bad consumer!

    I dunno about getting another Hamster, but your gonna have to put some thought into what would renew your verve… have maintained a solid connection to your child of wonder…..what would she have to say?

    January 5, 2014
    • You are right, I’m bad at trends. And I was just thinking the same thing when I re-read the post, this is something I have to think about. It sounds like a melancholy post, but I’m not feeling very bad about it really. Being here and writing in public about personal things is a huge risk and emotional danger zone for me, though it’s not for some people. The podcast is another. I’m pushing myself, but it’s still nowhere close to coming as naturally as it did when I was young.

      Do you consider yourself a risk taker?

      January 5, 2014
      • I see most “risk” as imagined. These consequences are there for most of us to adapt to when we learn from our environment, seeing the angles as noteworthy makes sense. There is some exhilaration when navigating considerations that others may see as risky, so at a basic level I may appear to be a risk taker. At a higher level I consider it most risky to conduct a life where very little was ventured… shrivel as you age, to be blanketed with regret on your deathbed – this stuff scares the shit outta me!

        January 5, 2014
        • That sounds like you. 🙂 I go back and forth on that for myself. On the one hand, I really, really like the safe route. On the other hand, this is the only life I’m gonna get (and who knows how long I’ll get to keep it), so I hate the idea that I am wasting it in many ways. But risk-taking is still not in my nature. I’m training myself, but it’s slow going.

          January 10, 2014
  3. Ricky Anderson #

    I’ve never been a risk taker.

    January 5, 2014
    • Lots of things about who we are just seem to come with us when we’re born. So fascinating!

      January 5, 2014
  4. In some ways I am much more of a risk taker than when I was a kid; in others, much less so. Last year I made my New Year’s word “fearless,” hoping to work on being less afraid of certain things. Well, that turned out to be a GREAT word for 2013, considering everything I wound up going through! Stupid things, like standing up for myself against strangers, seem to cause me the most fear. It’s the little things that cause me the most fear. I seem to be good with the big risks!

    January 5, 2014
    • Yes you did earn that One Word in 2013!! Even having fears, you tackled them head on!

      I have those same kinds of fears too, I’m terrible at dealing with strangers in dicey situations. I’m more of a duck and cover kind of girl. I think those kinds of things get easier the more we practice, as we find out that it’s not the end of the world when we confront people. But it’s forcing myself to do it in the first place that’s so hard – so I don’t get much practice with that one, haha. Even just being comfortable around groups of people is a tough one for me. I’m shy I guess.

      January 10, 2014
      • I don’t imagine you being shy at all! You have a podcast! But I do understand what you mean. I avoid confrontation whenever I can, especially with strangers.

        January 10, 2014
        • Haha, I do those phone calls from the privacy and comfort of my living room, and I still get butterflies before each one! I’m great at work. I’m just comfortable there and knowledgeable. At a gathering of people I don’t know well, I have no confidence at all.

          January 10, 2014
          • I do the same thing with my phone calls. I’ve gotten better having to deal with some insurance issues, but I really have to psyche myself up before I make them!

            January 11, 2014
  5. This is an interesting concept. There are so many things we do in our lives that could be considered risks. A toddler learning how to go up go down steps, learning to drive a car or even being a doctor, a police officer, and/or fireman. Those who skateboard, jump out of airplanes, and/or cliff climb to me are risk taking folks but to them they are just people doing things they love. The outcome is worth more to them then the risk.

    I remember days when I was younger that I would climb trees, hang upside from a bar, and sit on top of the monkey bars (I wasn’t able to cross them so I sat on them); then one day my friend and I were playing on top of her monkey bars and when it was time to get down I couldn’t. I was terrified, we played up there many of times, but for some reason on that day I learned what it was like to be scared. I had to wait until her father to get home so he could help me down. Mind you once I was down I could stand under them and reach them. 🙂 I no longer sat on monkey bars, or climbed trees, did I become chicken or did I just not find it as enjoyable. Sometimes in life we foresee the future in our mind and the risks do not outweigh the pleasure. So, for you, the pain of a hamster bite just doesn’t seem worth the risk to hold the hamster.

    Sorry, this was so wordy, the subject just got me thinking. 🙂

    January 5, 2014
    • It does make you think, doesn’t it!? You made me think about how my nieces just climb and jump and do all these things that they don’t seem to be scared to try at all. The WANT to!! They don’t want you to stop them from trying. At some point we learn fear and prudence. My first nephew was more scared at a younger age than the other three, but I don’t know where that came from in him, if he just learned it younger or if it was already in him and he reached an age where it naturally came out.

      Your story is so interesting and I wish I knew what flipped that switch in your head – what about that one day, that one time on the monkey bars, made it switch from worth the risk to not worth the risk. So fascinating! But this is a good thing for me to remember. I need to keep asking myself if the outcome is worth the risk.

      January 10, 2014
  6. I took a lot of risks when I was young but I didn’t know it. I was sorta a clueless space cadet. These days I pretty much avoid risk.

    January 5, 2014
    • You know, when I really think back to my teenage years, I took some major risks with my life and safety. I wonder sometimes that I made it this far, really. Those kinds of risks I avoid for sure!!

      January 10, 2014
      • My Gramma used to say, “The Lord protects the innocent and fools”. I sure wasn’t innocent but still I was protected. 🙂

        January 12, 2014
  7. Daddy #

    It seems to me you stopped reaching into the hamster cage because you had already held the hamster. That doesn’t necessarily mean you no longer take risk, but maybe you have just had enough of hamster holding. Your horizons have changed, but your propensity for risk taking seems to me to still be there. At least I hope so. From the time you tried to take your first tentative step, I’ve witnessed you taking risk. And I still witness it.

    Weren’t you taking a risk when you started your blog? For that matter, aren’t you taking a risk every time you post an entry? To expose your true inner self to others may be one of the bigger risks you can take. Through your blog you have allowed us to peek in. To be known is to be judged, for better or worst.

    What about your podcast? Weren’t you taking a risk when you started it? Aren’t you taking a risk every time you call someone for an interview?

    You don’t need to be an adrenaline junkie climbing mountains or jumping out of airplanes to be a risk taker. “Ordinary” Life provides enough opportunities.

    This precious Life of ours is, and will always be, what we choose to make it. And if we are lucky enough to choose right, it’s full of hamster cages. When we reach in, well, sometimes we get bit, but sometimes we get to hold that darn hamster. My greatest hope for you, my dear, dear daughter, is that you will always keep reaching in.

    January 10, 2014
    • I went through a long period when I didn’t take risks. It almost seems now that I hibernated through much of my 30’s, and I’m just coming awake again in my 40’s. I am taking more social and emotional risks now, that’s for sure. But it still doesn’t come easily or naturally. But we do have to make the most of the life we have, and I don’t want to waste mine being less than I can be.I think that’s the main thing, is that some people are fine and happy avoiding the risks. But I am not. Or at least, not anymore.

      January 13, 2014
  8. I think Chesterton said it well when he said, “Our Father is young, and we have grown old.”

    We lose our child-like sense of wonder to a world of obligations, expectations, and degradations. Playing it safe comes with the territory when much rests upon our shoulders.

    January 12, 2014
    • That’s a good point too – when you have a family or bills or even pets that rely on you, you have to consider the consequences much more carefully. I think a lot of what happened to me is just discovering that the world, and the people in it, was not as safe a place as I had thought.

      January 13, 2014
  9. I’d say you lose the excitement. After decades of having a hamster in your hands, you don’t feel that the desire outweighs the risk anymore. Or maybe you just lose the interest – I bet you’d still take some kind of a risk in some other kind of a situation. Wouldn’t you?

    January 19, 2014

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