Risky Business

Picture by Kyle Steiner

Risky Business

I will admit I am a late blooming unconventional adrenaline junkie. The funny part is that I had no idea how much I liked challenging the status quo until later in the season of my life. People ask me now “what’s next on your list?” and inquire as to the craziest thing I have ever done. They do so, like I am an expert at risk or something. What a concept.

My bucketlist is a bit slanted toward the adventurous and at first glance you might hypothysis that this is because I love the thrill of danger or can only find peace when faced with life or death situations. I would argue the contrary position in response. My bucketlist is about trying new things, getting out of my comfort zone, and most importantly, being able to look back on my life and say “I did that,” rather than “I wish I would have,” not about risk, for the sake of risk. I think it is about being willing to take a calculated chance.

Life happens fast. As a kid you think time will never pass. You count up on birthdays the minute you hit the six month mark and proudly proclaim that you are 8 ½ to anyone who will listen. Finally, you hit the big milestones, 16, 18, 21, but then something cruel starts to happen, and time starts to go by faster every year. Soon, ready or not, you hit 25, you hang onto 29, start to fear 35 and dread 40. Somewhere along the way you change your perspective. You stop and look back and think how did I blink and I go from a scared new mother to a veteran parent of teenagers?

Thinking about it like this puts some fuel in the tank for trying new things. If not now, when? Time to get moving, time to have an adventure!

Looking back at the choices of my life I can see threads of the risky business character, when as a young kid I was determined to learn to salom ski despite a profund lack of knowledge, training, and boat power. Stubbornness overcame common sense, and eventually, I figured it out.

Later, some thought I was nuts when I excitedly accepted my future husband’s marriage proposal at 22 years old. We were so naive about life, marriage and careers, but I was certain this was the love of my life and there was no way I was going to do anything but say yes. I’ve never been sorry.

Picture by Kyle Steiner

Even more thought we were nuts when we sold everything we had and moved across county with two babies so my husband could go to grad school and we could go into debt beyond our eyeballs!

We jumped into parenthood a few years before that, and somehow, managed to find our way to raising a couple of really cool young adults.

Our parents about had a heart attack when they found out we bought a home sight unseen in a small Adirondack town. “what the hell are they thinking?” they asked each other. We made some crazy sounding decisions along the way but in reality we never thought any of them were really risky. To us they were calculated choices.

In our minds, they were all carefully thought out, and they were calculated decisions, chances on a future that we were willing to bet on, because we believed we could handle the consequenses along the way.

In each situation, while to the rest of the world, we seemed to be dancing on the edge of disaster, we knew we were just taking the next step on our journey.

Picture by Kyle Steiner

Don’t think this was without it’s challenges or that we didn’t doubt ourseleves somewhere along the way. We did. We just looked at it like, we had no option, but to make it work, so we would continue to try things, assess, adjust, and reassess, until eventually things worked out.

Going into business for ourselves is really not any different. To the world this seems crazy, to us, it feels like a chance to fulfill our dreams. I am sure we will question our sanity more than once, but if I know us, we will just keep at it, until we make it happen. Stubborness has its advantages.

I fear that to many of our family, friends and neighbors our recent decisons again seem insane, risky and just plain nuts. Why would you put your house up for sale right now when prices are still down, why would you put your savings on the line, risk your future and buy into a business in a worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, why would the two of you be willing to work 7 days a week 16 hours a day week after week?

My answer is that this is a classic example of perspective. It’s all in how you look at it. It all comes down to this, is your glass half full or half empty? While others see dropping home prices, we see a turning market and buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines waiting to buy, especially now, with historically low interest rates. We see the opportunity to be our own bosses, to run our business passionately and the way see fit. We see it as a positive to bet our futures on each other. It has worked for us in the past. My bet is it will work in the future.

I have to tell you working this hard toward a common goal elicits a combination of feelings, exhaustion being at the top of the list, but it also is really fun and while the hours we are putting in are long the days have never gone faster.

My crazy ideas probably sound nuts to most of you but I think it is more fun to live life this way. I still don’t know what I am capable of and each new adventure and challenge that I face teaches me something new about myself. I call this creating the life I want. I call this my bucketlist.

So my friend, I ask you “what’s next on your list?”

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