Just by looking at this picture from a post last year, I think it’s safe to say I’m a risk taker!
Wearing leopard, blogging about it, living overseas, chopping off my hair…I’ve always just gone for it. Somehow it’s become a part of my make up. I constantly take risks, I embrace experience, and I want to try it all. Basically, I think I would be pretty bored if I wasn’t trying, testing, doing new things. There’s this recurring question I often ask my mom: who’s she worried about now? She’s got five of us kids, so she’s bound to be worried about one of us. I don’t often make the list as of late, but oh, I used to! She recently told me how worried she was about me as a teen because I always had this “go for it” mentality. Some things never change.
The way I am always living by going for it got me thinking….how do I do it? How do I live this way? While the five items below don’t necessarily elude to a risk taking attitude, I do feel they are a bit of the background of what makes me take risks and live my life with a “go for it” attitude.
1. Be the maker of my own happiness.
Back to my mom….She always instilled this concept in me growing up. I’m the one who gets to decide my attitude. I’m the one who gets to decide to love or hate, smile or frown. Making happiness a conscious decision truly works, and I must be the one to decide it. In regards to my happiness, I cannot rely on anyone or anything else to create it. Yes, I can be entertained and I can be loved; I can be caused to smile, laugh, even cry. When it comes down to whether or not I’m happy though, that’s got to be me. I choose. I can look at my life, situation, day, minute as half full. The other option, well, it’s just not going to make me happy, so I decide not to go there.
2. Live today in the moment.
Today is happening right now. It’s the moment I have. I could always be fretting about the future or analyzing the past, or I can decide to live in the actual minute I’m in which I’m in. By living right now, I seem to usually have a good time. Perhaps it’s reckless or too laissez-faire, but I like to appreciate the now. (As an aside, social media seems to get a bad rap with this idea stating that all of this documenting our lives takes us away from living in the moment. I can see that, but I can also see how social media allows for a visual documentation of the moment. We used to print out pictures and place them in scrapbooks. Now we just post them to our blogs, or Facebook, or Instagram accounts. It’s still documentation of the now.)
3. Try best to let go of regrets.
Don’t get me wrong: I’ve got plenty of regrets, but I try my hardest not to dwell on them. It does no good. If anything, I can hopefully look at any regret and learn something from the experience. I forget what science or math class it was, but I do know a negative integer plus a negative integer equals a negative integer. The point being negativity breeds itself. Same goes for the positive, so I think I’ll go with upward, forward movement. It’s safer on the heart and the mind. Therefore looking back is one thing, but to look back and regret everything is detrimental to one’s path.
4. Then forgive.
During one of my life experiences, I worked on a Native American Indian Reservation as a 3rd grade teacher. It was right after I’d graduated from university, and I really had no idea how to be a teacher. I remember feeling so frustrated with this one student. It was my wise mother who told me, Ann, ya gotta let it go. You can’t keep holding on to your anger with this one student. You have to move on and forgive him. Oh, wow! The moment I did that….well let’s just say that young boy became a very special student of mine. In order to let go of regrets, we also have to forgive. Sure anger may have been present, but then when it’s over, relinquish the anger and move on. Forgiveness allows us to do this. Forgiveness isn’t just for others; we also need to forgive ourselves of any regrets, any mistakes we make along our pathway called life. Because ya know, we’re going to make them. Forgiveness is key–even when it’s easier said than done.
5. Have grace and more importantly be gracious.
My name Ann actually means “grace,” which is rather ironic when examining how terribly clumsy I am! But there’s an aspect to having another type of grace that I think is really important. Having grace to me means being kind and honest; it means having humility and being courteous. Being gracious to me means being thankful but also being aware of other people’s grace. When I am gracious I feel accepting of the people in my life with an appreciation towards their impact in my life. It could be the cleaner in the library or the boss of my school, yet in showing graciousness to anyone and all, I always feel that human nature is more fully balanced and that the people in my life may feel more appreciated.
Somehow I think by deciding to make myself happy, by living in the actual moment, by trying to have no regrets and also forgive, plus by living as graciously as possible, I tend to be more of a risk taker. In writing these five attributes I realize they aren’t necessarily risky behaviours, but somehow with this mindset I feel allowed to go for it in my life. I want to live life fully, and with these attributes drilled into my backbone, they seem to support my attitude every day.