Risks

I am, as always, confined to the four corners of my painfully yellow room, again feeling the need to write. It could be the boredom of summer afternoons like this, or perhaps instinct — whatever it is, it’s telling me to write.

I write for many reasons — to while away the hours, to keep my writing skills sharp, to express my feelings. Today, I am again held in a trance by my notebook computer because a question just popped in my mind.

What will become of me in fifteen years’ time?

I have asked this out loud before, and my peers have discouraged me from thinking about it. I’ve got my whole life ahead of me, they say. And they aren’t wrong. At thirteen, I still have so much of the world to explore, and so much of my life to live.

But perhaps my greatest fear is that I will live it the wrong way, and that I will look back and regret my actions. Haven’t we all felt regret before? That little, “I wish I did that instead of this.” Didn’t we, at some point, ask ourselves how our lives would’ve turned out had we made a different decision? I have always been afraid to make a wrong decision Now, as I enter the audacious teenage years, and as the rest of my life is starting to unfold, I feel the need to make a plan, to plot things out, so that I live my life to the fullest and the way I want to. I feel that my life is better off prearranged, so that I would not need to worry about it anymore. In other words, I’d be better off without a risk to take.

But today, as I was reading Paulo Coelho’s novel By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, I came across these sentences which told me that having a prearranged life would probably not be the best thing in the world:

You have to take risks…We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.

Pitiful is the person who is afraid of taking risks…because when they are finally able to believe in miracles, their life’s magic moments will have already passed them by.

“Magic moments” will be understood by those who have read By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept. Essentially, these are moments in our life when a “yes” or a “no” can change it forever. To quote the book verbatim, magic moments

“may arrive in the instant when we are doing something mundane, like putting our front-door key in the lock; it may lie hidden in the quiet that follows lunch hour or in the thousand and one things that all seem the same to us.”

I feel that this was speaking directly to me (although it is highly improbable). If my life were plotted out prior to my actually living it, then everything I would do would become “just another task”; my magic moments would go unnoticed. I realize that although a prearranged life would be devoid of the precariousness and unpredictability of a life lived spontaneously, it would also be devoid of the thrill of a spontaneously lived life. This leads me to another quote from the novel By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept:

“The person who is afraid of taking risks…perhaps will never be disappointed or disillusioned; perhaps she won’t suffer the way people do when they have a dream to follow. But when that person looks back…she will hear her heart saying…’So this is your heritage: the certainty that you wasted your life.‘”

I do not want to waste my life. Taking risks is better than having wasted a whole lifetime. I have a dream to follow, and I will follow that dream. I will stumble, and I will get bruised. I will fall seven times, and get up eight.

What will become of me in fifteen years? I will become an accomplished person. A bruised person, but a learned person. A person with failures, but with even more accomplishments. My heritage will not be the certainty that I wasted my life; instead, it will be the certainty that I lived my life to the fullest.

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