Current mood: contemplative
So I was reading my friend Chuck's blog:
Often in life we take for granted many of the risks that we encounter everyday.
However, my question today is...just what kinds of risks are worth taking? What risks are worth neglecting? How do we draw the lines between the two?
Think about it:
The mere act of breathing itself is a risk.
We take risks with the foods we eat.
There's a risk involved with driving on the road, or walking on a sidewalk.
When we approach someone or talk to someone we take risks.
When we watch TV, stretch our backs, play sports, drink water, use the phone browse the web, read a book, laugh, yawn, sleep, or even doing nothing at all we are taking considerable risks.
Some people may say that some risks are greater than others and that's what makes one worth taking and another not so much...but isn't it all really just a gamble anyways? Isn't a risk merely just a risk?
How does one person justify whether or not to live life to the fullest or to live life to the longest? I mean, "sure" it's be great to do both, but what if you were able to pick just one?
Many people would flagrantly boast, "of course I would prefer to live it to the fullest!" Still...I mean what if you had to face that choice up close and personal? We're talking about YOUR life here...would you sincerely, really, and truely choose death if faced with it? Would you have the balls?
Here are some example thoughts from the Chuk Sauce:
1. If you had cancer, and there was only a miniscule chance that you would live? You had the choice of living what life you have left with the disease, or you had the choice to live in a hospital and hope to be cured with a very slim chance for success? Would you chose guaranteed death for a week to live life as full as you could, or would you take your very very slim chance for a cure and wait it out in the hospital?
2. Would you be willing to risk acting a complete fool for a mere dream that may or may not come true? Or would you prefer to be famous, adored by many and remain what your idols see in you, and be able to achieve/retain all your fame and fortune? Would you be strong enough to follow a passion and risk losing a life of luxury or would you be willing to risk the dream for popularity and wealth?
Just a thought.
And this is my response:
Some people choose to live their lives to the fullest, others to live as long as possible-- including your cancer scenario-- there are people who make one choice or the other, and a lot of factors for each person that leads them to that decision.
It reminds me of a church billboard I was driving past yesterday. It started out "Life is the the sum of..." and I stopped reading there, because life is not math. Period. One plus one doesn't always equal two. Sometimes it equals zero, sometimes it equals infinity. And most of the time, it's somewhere in between the two. Because no two people will react the same. Some will take the risks and reap the rewards or learn from the mistakes. Others will never take a single risk for fear of the mistakes and will never really live at all.
And most of us, when we're honest with ourselves, usually take the risks we personally don't consider risky... and very rarely take the risks we do. And sometimes it leads us to great happiness (the biggest risk I ever personally took was telling the man, my best friend, that I'd loved for 8 years that I loved him, risking him telling me he didn't feel the same or even ending that cherished friendship-- but he felt the same way and we'll be celebrating our eighth year of marriage this halloween) and sometimes to misfortune (We shouldn't have bought the house we did, when we did. Two years later, we were heavily in debt, on the verge of bankruptcy and very much on the verge of unemployment).
In my mind, the biggest scale is between hope and fear. If you can hope, you can risk. If you allow your fear to overcome all hope, you won't risk, even when you can... even when you should.