“Life’s great paradox is the struggle between risk and security.” Gregg Levoy
I was twenty years old when I decided to leave my scholarship at UCLA in my 3rd year to hitchhike around the United States. It was 1970, I was a longhaired pinky commie hippie totally done with school and gymnastics. (It would be twelve years before I returned to college.)
Desirable Risk Over Security
At the time the excitement of the risk was far greater than the security I received from a scholarship that paid for my education and apartment. I fully embraced the passion of traveling north to Oregon then across to Michigan and up to Canada, closing the journey in New York and Province Town, Rhode Island a before heading back to LA.
I wasn’t alone. There were three of us with backpacks and a guitar and a total of $500 that lasted a bit more than three months. It was crazy. Who in the world would give three hippies a ride with three backpacks and a guitar? The thought never entered our minds.
We began in Malibu and three months later found ourselves back in Pico Rivera. We had a blast and dozens of memorable experiences. I was home only a few weeks when I was invited to join three buddies to drive to Mexico for another month.
Adventure in Mexico
We traveled as far as Guadalajara. Yet another experience into the unknown. Security never entered my mind. I was a gypsy wanderer in search of adventure, new people and new places. I learned to do it on a couple hundred bucks. We had a VW van and sleeping bags. We stayed in a hotel only once. That was all the security I needed.
Fast forward forty years and you find a guy with a couple bucks in the bank and that old gypsy soul. In the in the fours years post retirement I have visited 20-30 counties taking 2-3 international trips each year. In fact, I write this post sitting in the lounge (drinking agua con gas) in Lima, Peru.
So what’s the moral of this story? Risk (with wisdom) overrides an oftentimes-irrational need for security. Especially when the security is about money… unless you have none. Even then, you don’t have to travel the world to find your passion. And yes, that is what I am writing about—passion.
Risk: The Route to Passion
Passion is something you don’t discover by sitting around watching TV. It is something you have to look for by experimenting with things that feel like a risk. For instance, I couldn’t draw stick figures and yet at sixty I taught myself to paint abstract pieces and I learned to draw.
Next week I have reserved my spot in a homemade improv session. I’m not an actor nor comedian, but off I go. Such adventures have become a habit. Who cares if I fail? I can always try something else. I may even get laughed at, but the people doing the laughing are usually the ones most stuck in the same ole, same ole. At least I took risk and gave something new a shot.
And in the process I just may discover a new passion like the ones I’ve already discovered: painting, writing, podcasts, baseball, reading, movies, and helping find clean drinking water in Uganda.
What About You?
So what is it you are planning to risk in search of a new passion within the next month or so? Surely there is something you’ve “always wanted to do” but have been putting it off till next year.
Take an acting class, try yoga, drive a couple hundred miles from home and spend the night in some strange place or choose from dozens of other adventures.
Okay I already hear the “but you know understand my obligations or lack of funds or someone to take care of the kids.” All I can tell you is don’t let ‘em get you down. I know two single moms raising kids in high school. One took a week to hike the Grand Canyon and the other travels annually to another country on less than $1200.
You can do it as well. Just decide!
Take a New Risk
And Discover a New Passion
Photo courtesy of XXX at istockphoto