Risky wisdom

ORLANDO, Fla. — I’m a little young to be wise.

Granted, I’m not a toddler or a child or an adolescent or even a college student, but I’m in my mid-20s, and that’s not quite an age that usually generates wise, deeply thoughtful, deeply inspiring actions at all times.

Today’s #ThinkKit prompt is: “What was the wisest decision you made this year? Who did it impact? Describe your decision-making process, discuss the results, or just share a little learned wisdom.”

I didn’t make great big decisions this year — I changed jobs, moved states, and got married in 2012 — but in 2013, my wisest choices were the risks I took.

Since the middle of last year I’ve worked closely with my friend Tim,  who lists “risk” as one of his core values and lives to shake up the system. That isn’t my style, not at all. I don’t love upsetting people, or making huge waves, and I sometimes have problems with nerves when I’m confronting or communicating with someone I perceive to be higher/better/smarter than me. And that’s an issue. I can’t be productive when I do too much of that.

My first wise choice was realizing that my instincts to be “too nice” were problematic. (That’s probably a choice I made a while ago.) But I actually started to act on it, trying to be more true to who I am in all scenarios and not always considering power dynamics and what I would be seen as if I did shake things up. So I’ve tried to have tougher conversations, push a bit harder, do what I can to challenge things and not stick with it. I can’t say I’ve done this all the time or pushed as hard as I can, but I’ve started to try to change my frame of mind, because of a discovery that I’d say is a wise one.

I’ve also taken some risks in a physical sense, like going skydiving. (It was amazing; here’s the video.) I did some running races, even though I cannot run because of my artificial hip. Instead, I pushed myself through racewalking and challenged what I might have thought was possible. I bought a racing bicycle and started riding, risking my hip in another way, and knowing that I cannot fall to the right. I got a dog, another big risk (for me) and a learning experience I’ve already written about this month. I’ve tried to be tougher in my job and stand stronger in discussions and arguments, with varying degrees of success.

Risk isn’t at my core, and it’s likely it won’t ever be. But I guess my wisest choice was to begin the process of letting risk and challenge become more of a part of my routine.

Part of being younger is that I’m still figuring everything out, so maybe next year I’ll discover that I’ve strayed too far from stability, consistency and being nice. But as I said, I don’t have too much lasting wisdom just yet. It’s still early.


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