Written by: Joe Fiduccia
Growing up my mom would always tell me: “enjoy these years. They are the most stress-free years of your life.” But with the constant barrage of bullies, tests, and class topics I never fully understood, school certainly didn’t feel “stress-free” at the time.
Little did I know those days would pale in comparison to the stresses of adult life.
In the beginning of my adult life, stress started with my first car. Do I purchase a mediocre car that is within my price range but needs a little work, or do I get a loan to get the car I really wanted that needs practically no work at all?
Later on, another big risk was buying our first house. Should we go with this construction agency to build our dream home in a dream location? Or do we buy a more affordable house that is already built in a lower income neighborhood, and hope to make it our dream home?
Then came the decision to have a child. Were we really ready to become parents, or should we wait a little longer and save up a little more?
Up next comes the career decisions. Do I stay in a job that pays well but leaves me feeling empty? Or do I risk it all and pursue a new job in the hopes of finding my inner happy?
In life, risks equal stress. There is no way around it. And most times it feels like jumping from the high dive at your local pool.
When we jump off the board into the pool water below, is there a risk that we’ll get hurt, or possibly hurt someone else? Sure.
Is it stressful feeling standing at the top of the high dive right along the edge, looking down at the water with the butterflies in your stomach fluttering on overdrive? You bet.
But when you make the decision to jump into that water, you no doubt rise back to the surface with a smile on your face, telling yourself: “again, again!”
That is the reward you gain for taking a risk. It is the feeling of satisfaction that you mustered up enough courage to jump, despite the stress, anxiety, and resulting fear that consumed you.
Once again I am finding myself at a crossroads in life with a new challenge. A new risk, potentially the biggest one in my life, is now confronting me. And it has led to more stressful feelings than I can ever remember.
I am getting ready to build something big. Something that hasn’t been done before. Something that will take months of round-the-clock labor to complete.
It is a project that I studied in depth through reading and research, but one that I have very little real world experience with.
It is a challenge that will require me to solicit the help of others, which in itself I am not comfortable with because of how many times so-called “experts” have disappointed me in the past.
When it is completed later this year, our lives will change forever. The weekday / weekend routine our family is familiar with will be turned upside down (in a good way). And it will become a major milestone in our journey that will remain with our family forever.
But if this new project isn’t done right, or if it takes twice as I am forecasting to complete it, our family could find ourselves in severe financial danger.
Given the challenges I will soon be facing, coupled with the fact that I lose sleep everyday because of it, I yet again find myself asking the same question over and over again: “is this new risk worth the stress?”
I’m sure any doctor will agree that the stress is taking a toll on me. How it will affect me or my health, if at all, remains to be seen. And whether or not it will be worthwhile in the end is anyone’s guess right now.
But when I am lying in bed wide awake while my family is sound asleep, I look over to them in the darkness of the night and remember how we got here.
I have been here before. Our family has been here before. And despite the challenges, we have made it this far, so why not keep that momentum going? For there is no risk too great, and no risk we can’t conquer – together.
Thus I now find myself at the tip of that high dive again. Do I jump, and experience the thrill of splashing into the open water? Or do I let the stress…the fear…walk me back down the ladder? And do I look back at that diving board from my lounge chair, wondering what could have been?
It’s time to make that decision. Is the risk worth the stress?
I am ready to jump. But which way would you go?