Skinny dipping and risk-taking
Last weekend I went skinny dipping in the Millbrook pool. My accomplices will remain nameless, but alas, we were all caught by the Washington University Police Department. Yes, we were all naked. Yes, we were upset about getting caught. But none of us regret doing it. We had fun flinging ourselves into the cold pool, feeling free and excited. Don’t think we weren’t punished; WUPD is making us pay for our irresponsibility. I will not be skinny dipping at Millbrook again…but that definitely doesn’t mean I won’t be swimming naked ever again.
Sometimes you have to take risks. Whether it’s taking a challenging course, trying out for a sports team or asking someone on a date, risks make things happen. Without risks, everyone would act safely-emotionally, physically and mentally. Romeo would have ended up with some boring Montague-ally. Lance would never have won the Tour de France seven times. Einstein would have stopped doing math after he failed the subject in high school. To get anywhere, you’re going to have to take some big risks.
Junior Michele Leonelli turned risk-taking into an amazing metaphor: “You wouldn’t [refuse to] eat a hamburger just because it gets your hands dirty. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” Relationships can lead to heartache (i.e. the messy hands), but the good times are usually worth it (i.e. the amazingly juicy meat), so take the risk. You will never know true love, or true happiness, without letting go of your reservations and taking a risk.
At church this past Sunday, the message was on the subject of letting go of our control and surrendering, whether to God, a person or a task. Many of us at the University find it hard to give up control. I am probably one of the worst control freaks I know; surrendering to anyone or anything scares the shit out of me. But at church it occurred to me that taking a risk is the same as letting go of control. You’re not sure of the outcome, but you need to have confidence that everything will turn out in the end.
In Chinese the word crisis, closely associated with risk, is written as two characters. The first character represents danger. The second represents opportunity. A friend responded to this fact by saying, “I absolutely agree with the Chinese on this one! My girlfriend and I tried a new sexual position that was quite dangerous but had a lot of potential. I was nervous that I would walk away limping, but I took the risk, and it was the best sex of my life!” Though this is a humorous example of risk-taking, it demonstrates the point that sometimes taking a risk might be indispensable in obtaining a wonderful relationship, a great job or even an exceptional session in the sack.
So don’t be scared of taking risks. Be scared of never feeling like something is truly worth the risk. Listen to the lyrics of Chris Cagle: “Sometimes the greatest risk of all/ Is never taking one at all.”
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