(This blog post should be subtitled, Holy shit, what have I done?)
About a month ago, I was talking with my therapist about risks. I have always thought of myself as risk adverse, while she pointed out that some of my decisions could be thought of as risky to others. On my recent weekend in Gettysburg, this came up again when a fellow traveller thought my solo travels, which are restorative for me, were brave and awesome.
My therapist and I landed on a theory about my perspective on risk: For me, putting together a plan, communicating and sharing that plan, and being held accountable for the execution of that plan is what I find to hold the most risk. I’m not talking about a project plan at work or a planned vacation. I’m talking about a life plan that requires me to communicate what I want to accomplish to other people, who could then potentially see me fail. I have rarely furiously pursued things that I was passionate about because of a fear of failure. Not that I haven’t failed. I have. Spectacularly. But it’s easier to fail when you were pursuing something that didn’t matter all that much in the first place.
(Oy. Stephenie B – as I wrote that I realized that you and I talked about the same damn thing the other day with perfectionists and exposure, and I just now made the connection. Now I want to rethink everything I’m about to say, but I still need to just get it out there!)
Last Tuesday, I was accepted to graduate school. Not just to audit a history class that was never going to be my life’s work, but to get my master’s degree and ultimately be licensed as a mental health counselor. To change the direction of the rest of my life. And I really want this. I want it so badly that I’m willing to go to school full time and work full time. I want it so badly that I’m willing to tell all of you about it, put myself out there, and risk the possibility that I might fail. I don’t think that I will–this isn’t about pessimism versus optimism–but I could, and I’m still pursuing it.
Today, I bought a house. My mom, my dad and I are moving in together, just a few doors down from my sister and her family. Our houses aren’t even on the market yet, but the perfect house came up and I needed to take a risk, make a long term plan and commit. Sharing a house with my parents in shouting distance of my sister, brother-in-law and nieces? If that isn’t risky, I don’t know what is. But I’m all in and I’ll do whatever it takes to make it great.
What is the connection to Ferris Bueller? I have jumped right into the deep-end of this risk stuff this week. It’s happened so fast, but I want to stay present and aware of this moment and this shift that is happening in myself and in my life. I think in two or three years, I’m going to look back on this period of eight days as the moment my storyline shifted.
* If you didn’t already know the origin of the quote, you haven’t watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off enough times. How many times is enough? It’s never enough. Watch it again.