I believe in risk.

Lori - La Jolla, California
Entered on June 8, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

Without risk, we limit ourselves.

I grew up on a Midwestern farm. Every few years, a dark, gruesome, green sky appeared and we all know what was coming. The breeze stopped. Then the hail started, the water poured through the yard, and it usually didn’t stop until all the tiny green sprouts from the ground were beat to a pulp.

Life went on. My Dad never quit. He choses to risk every day trusting that he will make it.

My Dad is 68, still farming, and in love with life.

I’ve had six careers in 20 years, not counting the odd jobs in between.

When I was a Russian linguist in the US Army, I risked my life in Operation Desert Shield/Storm. I learned how to work as a team, fearlessness, and to appreciate life. I earned the right to not approve of our political leaders who put me there.

After my honorable discharge, I was diagnosed with Desert Storm Syndrome; later identified as Multiple Sclerosis. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t see, and I lost my sense of balance. I risked becoming involved at the gym and changing my diet. I have been free of symptoms for almost 10 years and have run six marathons.

During my bout with MS, I earned my Ph.D. in Molecular Biology. I took the risk of years of low income and debt for and advanced education so I could fill my soul. After my research days, I started writing for a biotech company, risking loosing my footing as a researcher. They say once your leave research, it is impossible to come back.

I took the risk.

In between research and other forays in biotech, I became trained as a massage therapist. I gave up valuable stocks, a high salary, and the respect of my colleagues to risk opening my breadth of experiences. If I hadn’t left research I’d have never been able to help others through their physical and emotional pain. I learned the importance of healing, trust, and the close connection between the mind and the body. If I hadn’t taken this risk, I wouldn’t know the awesome power of the mind over the body.

I have chosen to not bear children. I have a higher risk if developing breast cancer. There may be no one to take care of me as I age. I accept the positives that could come from it. Importantly, I’ve accepted responsibility of both taking, and not taking, risk.

By ignoring the advice of others from the mainstream, I have experienced things that I could have missed my entire life. I see risk as opportunity to meet others in various walks of life—who I could have never have met—to learn aspects and facets of life that I could have only known by reading or listening about them, or not at all.

I’m going to be 38 years old this year. I can’t wait to take a new risk. Risk is a treasure. Risk is life.