There are those who are not risk-takers; those who’ve never really had the luxury of being irresponsible, knowing that every action has a reaction and consequences. They calculate, weigh the pros and cons, think about the about positive vs. negative outcomes and what each will ‘cost’ them. They roll it all around in their minds, try on all the possible scenarios for size, and then they come to a conclusion on which is the most suitable –and safest– course of action.

From a young age, I learnt what it meant to carry the weight of my decisions. So the whole process is not something I take lightly. Because there are some things in life you just don’t play with. I’m not one to decide anything of consequence in the heat of the moment. If you come to me, putting me on the spot, and ask me to make a decision right then and there, I simply won’t. I will procrastinate and find a million –and one– excuses to get out of it until I’m ready. And even if it seems as if I’m acting spontaneously, it’s an illusion.

Because, contrary to what you may believe –or what I allow you to believe – my decision was not made in the spur of the moment. I have already considered what you are asking and I know exactly what I want.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect those who are spontaneous – I envy them their lack of caution, even. It means that some part of them still maintains a level of innocence and oblivion; that they have not been completely tainted by life and thus they still have the ability to dismiss certain dangers. I’m just not like that.

I’ve met my fair share of self-proclaimed daredevils, on the other hand, who pride themselves on living their lives on the dangerous side. Well, they’re full of shit. Because, of all those ‘daredevils’, which one has really taken a chance on something worth taking a chance on? Being careless, reckless and irresponsible is not the same as taking risks.

I was at a beach once with friends. The braver few found a cliff, way above the surface of the sea, and decided that it would be an awesome idea to leap off the edge into the water. When I realized what they were about to do I was petrified. They even dared me to make the jump too; but I didn’t budge.

And yet, as I watched each of them dive, soaring through the air and then plummeting into the sea, a column of water rising on impact, somewhere deep down, somewhere beyond my racing heart and my mind that was busy making morbid scenarios of doom, I envied them. I wished that I had the balls to climb up that cliff and feel that first hand, and not through mere images.

When talking about taking risks though, I don’t mean cliff-diving. I’m applying it to a more abstract sort of leap; a leap of faith. Not faith in life or someone else; but in yourself. Faith in the certainty that you too deserve to be happy, to feel free from your demons and your fears; to actually be able to hope for something more.

How about having faith in that feeling; the one stirring deep inside your stomach, that little flutter of your heart –which has suddenly decided that it has arrhythmia– those emotions that are starting to creep to the surface, demanding attention and a voice? Why not risk it for that feeling? Even if it all seems insane, even if your calculations just don’t add up, when you first think about it.

Sometimes people deserve the chance to prove that they’re the exception to all your little rules. Maybe they’re just as scarred as you are. Or, maybe, they’re waiting for you to take that first step because they can read your caution. Are you going to let hours, weeks or months of nothing just go by?

If anything is worth the risk, it’s the opportunity to fall in love. To be loved by another, to be appreciated and to find that smile that has been buried under loads of excuses. Fuck your excuses, fuck your calculations; fuck your ifs, ands and buts. Live it; jump off that cliff and revel in what it feels like to let go of control –and all logic– for a moment.

Solely the fact that you’re thinking about it makes it worth the risk. Just the fact that you’re analyzing outcomes, means that, in your mind, it’s already happened.

I will tell you this: sometimes there are things in this life that you cannot predict. There are circumstances and reactions you can not calculate, especially where others, who also have free will, are involved. Sometimes it’s just wisest to go with your instincts and take the leap.

What have you really got to lose?

“What if it doesn’t go as hoped?” you ask. Oh, but honey, what if it does? It’s worth the risk if it brings you one step closer to love and happiness; even for just a while. Will you pass up the chance just because you’re too afraid to try it? Think about it a minute; it may be a long shot but are you really willing to take that risk?

Or do I have to dare you?

Author: Nikól Peri

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