Risks make life worth living

Caitlin Brown

The other day I almost walked right in front of a moving car. Was I talking or texting? Nope. Was I immersed in a textbook because I just couldn’t put it down? Definitely not. All I was doing was wearing my coat.

When the snow is falling, what else do you do but put up your hood, which in my case happens to be a fluffy, puffy monstrosity, happily at home in any Gary Paulsen novel. Subject to blowing back off my head with the slightest gust of wind, I had no such luck that day. The profusion of (sheep) hair fringing my vision obscured the car I should have looked both ways for, but was now walking in front of.

Luckily, a handy stop sign the driver was obligated to observe saved me from an Emily-like fate from The Devil Wears Prada, and I was able to carry on in my merry, now purposefully hoodless, way.

Scary. The question I kept asking myself was how many more dangers are lurking for us unsuspecting hood-wearers? Buses? Trains? Far-sighted grannies with overflowing shopping carts? The possibilities are endless. What I also want to know is: How do we avoid all this? Yeah, ok, by taking our hoods off, sure, but what if these hoods aren’t always so literal? What could we be missing every day that we really should be seeing? Fickle friends? Slippery slopes of skipping class?

We all know these little demons could be around every corner, but do most of us care? We take risks when we make friends, know what we’re doing if we decide to miss a class. We always look for the best outcome — we have to.

Georgia O’Keefe said, “I have been terrified every day of my life, but that has never stopped me from doing everything I wanted to do.”

What’s a life without fear? Fear of the unknown is what keeps us scrunched in our seats in the movie theater during those jumpy parts. Fear is that feeling you get when you sled down the mega-hill and there are trees everywhere. What we do when we’re afraid proves us — shows us and others something about ourselves.

This isn’t to say that we should purposely put up our hoods and walk through traffic, shouting about how much we love livin’ on the edge. I was in the crosswalk when my little incident almost happened. I’m asking what opportunities could we be missing if we’re going through our days deliberately avoiding situations that might be frightening or new? We should all learn how to put our hoods up — not because we’re afraid, but because we look forward to whatever might be right in front of us.

Caitlin Brown is a freshman nursing major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].