TAKIN’ RISKS IN 06January 2nd, 2006
Hello, and Happy New Year! Did any of you watch the drag queen drop in Key West on New Year's Eve?
Last year I actually went down the street to see it live, but this year I wasn't in the mood to battle the crowd, so I watched it on CNN. Sushi, Key West's leading drag queen, climbs into a giant high-heeled slipper, and is gently lowered from the roof of a bar to the ground, where she pops open a bottle of champagne. Then a lot of fireworks go off.
Personally, I consider Sushi a pretty big risk taker. I mean, I wouldn't climb into a fake shoe and let someone lower me down a building. Really, Sushi is an example to us all, especially to those of us who, like my high school friend Kim Goad, have decided that '06 is all about taking risks.
That's what Kim told me her motto for the new year is: Takin' Risks in 06.
That doesn't mean she's going to be engaging in stupidly risky behavior. It just means that this year, she's not going to be afraid to try new things and hang out with new people.
I think this is a good thing for all us of to try—take some risks in '06. If there's something you've been wanting to do for a while (so long as it isn't illegal, or involves writing a boy a note or email in which you confess your love with him, which, as Dr. Jaffe and I have discussed numerous times in this blog before, is NOT the way to go about winning him over, since 9 times out of 10 he is already going out with someone else, and then he is just going to show the note to everyone you know), why not take the risk and do it now?
It took my dad dying to finally make me realize we don't have a lot of time on this planet, and if there's something you've always wanted, you better go after it now, while you still can.
For me, the thing I'd always wanted to do was write for a living. But I was too afraid of rejection even to try sending something out.
Then my dad died. And I realized the worst thing that can happen to you is not that you get a stupid rejection letter in the mail. The worst thing that can happen to you is that someone you love could die.
And the second worst thing that could happen to you is that you never even TRY to achieve your dream because you're too afraid of failing. So what if you fail? At least you have the satisfaction of knowing you tried.
And what if, like me, you DON'T fail? Sure, I got TONS of rejection letters (and sometimes still do). But you know what? They always make me just try HARDER.
And, eventually, I got an agent, and a book published. And here I am today, writing full time for a living, something I never would have achieved if I hadn't taken a risk and tried.
So go ahead. Be like Sushi, and my friend Kim: Take risks in '06…
–Hang out with someone who may not be in your “crowd”—he/she could turn out to be cool.
–Try a new sport or activity—it could be the one for you, and you never knew it.
–Go after that new job or promotion. It could be the best decision you ever made.
–Ask a guy out—you don't have to tell him you've had a huge crush on him since the fifth grade. Just ask him if he wants to go see SERENITY or something with you. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.
–It could even be something as easy as turning off the TV, hanging up the phone, logging off the Internet, and picking up a pen and pencil to see what comes out. You could be an artist or a poet. But how will you ever know it if you don't take the time to find out?
Because you never know what could happen unless you try.
You might even end up on CNN, like Sushi.