“Just Lucky, I Guess”

To say that I’ve taken some risks in my life is a major understatement. I used to drive my parents crazy with some of the stunts I’d pull. Yep…jumped off the garage roof with an umbrella “parachute.” That didn’t work any better than the bath towel cape. Tried to ride my bicycle around a car—ever seen a wheel moving down the road from underneath the vehicle? Climbed the highest tree in the park. Walked across the railroad trestle above the river. Swam across, too. Spelunked in a washout cave. Disappeared to Colorado for over a month with no money in my pocket. Hitchhiked halfway across the country.

The kinds of risks I’ve taken after entering “adulthood,” however, haven’t been nearly as death-defying as some of my youthful escapades. On the other hand, they’re even scarier for me. It seems like the more responsibilities I feel I have for others, the less I want to take risks in case it would harm them somehow. I guess that’s part of growing up.

One of the things that seems to be a constant for me, however, is that I’ve always known that I have people I can count on to help me out if I really get in serious trouble. That’s one of the “keep me awake at night” scary things about the last year after losing both my parents and my wife. They were the foundation on which I built every castle of dreams.

I haven’t stopped taking chances. I guess I’ve just had to find some other kinds of safety nets, fallback options, good advisors, etc. Actually, the more I think about it, I usually try to find people I know I can count on when I have tough decisions to make. The only times I’ve really been afraid for myself is when I’ve felt truly alone, done some stupid stunt all by myself. Even when my buddies and I pulled some hair-brained antic, at least I knew we’d end up in jail together, or sharing the same hospital room.

The same holds true, in a sense, for all sorts of major life choices. When I need or want to do something “big,” I feel good about it when people I trust are helping me. This is even the case for sales people and professional folk. I’ve found a doctor with whom I “click,” for instance. I like my insurance agent, the guys who service my car are fellows I’d go fishing with, I have friends I’d call day or night, there are bartenders (female J) and waitresses who make sure to give me hugs and know what I want to order, I met a real estate agent who could be my daughter. Any time I have people like that in my corner, I feel as if I’ve made the right decisions.

An old friend once told me, “You’re the only person I know who can fall in a bucket of sh*t and come out smelling like a rose.” I guess if I’m going to fall, I’d just as soon know that getting back up will be worth the effort. I’d still like to skip the falling down part.

Stay close. I’ll help you up.

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