To live is a risk in itself. Not because you could die at any moment, no. That is a given. We begin dying the day we are born; the rest is just fate and time courting each other. The risk is if you ever find yourself alive in the truest sense of the word. If you stand with your eyes wide open, holding space in the world. To be a person is risky business—you have all sorts of pitfalls when it comes to living as something more than yourself. All friendships are scary, and so is all love. There is always a chance the dice are never rolled in your favour, that things go from bad to worse, but it is essential to go outside still and smile at others.
Climbing a mountain is not risky; it is adventurous and thrilling, but the part often mistaken as risk has nothing to do with the mountain. If you fall from the cliff and die, you wouldn’t know it, no, but the messages you never responded to will remain, the calls you never made will become impossible, and the chances you never took will disappear in a snap. It is the end of possibility that is risky.
It is too bad, however, that many, if not all, require no mountain to suffocate possibility. They do not live; they merely spend time. Every action is a wager. It is a pity, then, that most do not act. They live like they have already tripped on a pebble and fallen. They live closing doors faster than they open up—and they do open up! Life has a way of extending a hand to us to push us into paths unknown. The danger, then, is to stay put.
Risk it all, I say. Talk to the person sitting across from you. Try, at least. Sip that coffee hot—piping, even! Chug that cocktail. Stay awake till your eyes are heavier than the weight on your shoulders. Push every door open. Shout yes more often than you say no, but if a no feels risky, then do it. It is when we have something to lose that it matters to go all in.
To be alive is the greatest gamble. It is the riskiest thing of it all. Double-or-nothing—that is what every second offers us. Each path forks into two more. But all wind up if you stay put.
The risky bit, I reckon, is to keep walking.
This piece is a part of the Soaring Twenties Social Club (STSC) Symposium #17. The STSC is a place for people who believe so profoundly in the simple ideas of identity and art that the mere existence of this belief earns the status of rebellion. In a world where originality is waning, the STSC strives to maintain the good fight. In this camaraderie, the Symposium is a monthly, almost disattached collaboration set around a central theme. This month’s theme is Risk.