The older I get, and cliche as it may be, I try to take experiences, both good and bad, and turn them into a lesson learned. Take for example an incident that happened about a year ago while I was visiting one of my best friends in Louisville, very much on a whim. While going on a normal Starbucks morning run, I got into a car accident. Coffee and green tea everywhere, glasses knocked off, and a mutilated passenger door.
I felt guilty, I felt overwhelmed, and I felt regret for making, what then seemed, a spontaneous and poorly thought through decision to visit Kentucky. If only I would have done this or that. On the way back to my friend’s apartment, she told me everything was going to be okay. And it then occurred to me that as human beings living in this modern, very complicated world, we do take risks daily. As J.R.R. Tolkien so wisely wrote, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.”
I realized I couldn’t let this experience hinder my decisions to drive, visit Louisville, or road trip across the country. Beyond that, I couldn’t let past experiences dictate the present day. I may have been hurt in a relationship. I may not have received a job offer. I may have been betrayed by a friend. That doesn’t mean I won’t find love, a meaningful career, or the kind of friends worth road tripping cross-country for. I just have to be open to it when these things do come along. The fact of the matter is that these risks, and more so the fear of these risks, can be crippling. It is up to you to be fully conscious they exist and make a fully conscious effort to overcome them. Living, by all definitions of the word, is dangerous. But the risky lives are often the only ones worth living.
This post was inspired from the following quote by Theodore Roosevelt.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”