What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
I have been thinking about this a lot over the past year. Its funny how I clear I am about how long I have been thinking about that actually. It is tempting to say I have been thinking about this my whole life…but I know now that I haven’t. I have been so focused on what I want within what I think are my limitations that I have somehow lost my ability to dream big. I don’t even know when I stopped dreaming really big, but I do know it was before high school. I was pretty “realistic” about my dreaming by that time. The messaging in our culture is so focused on plugging away and then retiring that we don’t even realize that this dream does not really fit all of us. We have invested ourselves in pursuit of watered-down version of a dream older than our Grandparents. Or at least from a time when “plugging away” and then retiring meant security, or some semblance of it.
There is something freeing about letting go of the myth of security. Letting go of the thinking that, if we plan well enough, invest well enough and save well enough…we will be safe. There are still people now who are retiring comfortably, but there are more stories every day of people who had that in their plans and are not able to retire…at least not comfortably, whatever that means.
Lifting my head from this myth has made me realize that “safe” was never really all that inspiring to me. There is no adventure in that. And, as I look at my safe-seeking kids, I realize that I have been modeling, by example, that comfort is more important than adventure or taking risks.
Erica Jong famously said, “And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” I believe this in my heart. But I have not been living it as much as I would like.
I am glad my kids want to be safe, it is somehow in their nature. But I want them to know that they have access to more, should they want it. I want them to, at least occasionally, want something so passionately that they are willing to close their eyes and take that leap into the unknown. I don’t want them to think that their dream is safety.