by Lynn Kim Do

Street Talk | Risk-taking

Life has a very funny way of acknowledging our struggles. I say this in a very gingerly manner as I am beginning to find it more and more accurate. Creepily so. It’s almost, like, life is having a very symbolic often poetic way of having conversations with you. Let me explain.

I was sitting on the train by myself heading back to Bushwick at 12:18 on a Saturday afternoon. Typical because brunch. Typical because it’s a Saturday. It’s a typical move on a typical day. Three stops before I get off and a young guy breaks me from my internal conflict—World War 3 type of struggles, juggling, questioning, creating madness and perpetuating confusion…I can go on. Anyway, this young man asked me a question—“Where did you get your ring from?” I told him some bullshit place but honestly, I really didn’t remember. I dug this piece out while I was recently spring cleaning. To be even more honest, I never loved it, never had an attachment to it, and almost tossed it in the I-don’t-need-this-shit pile. But I didn’t. And god will have it that for whatever reason, I am wearing it today. “Do you know what it is?” I had an idea that it was some Egyptian beetle. I”m cultured. And yeah, I saw it kill a bunch of people in Mummies and Mummies 2, 3, 4, and was there a 5? “It’s a Scarab. My mother’s name is the early origin of that beetle. It symbolizes transition and decision.” Woah, weird. I have been struggling on a huge life decision in the past couple days, plaguing my thoughts, my relationships with my friends, my nights, pretty much every aspect of my life. We exchanged Instagram handles because, well, we are in the 21st century. He bid me farewell. And that was that. He really took a little detour in his life to drop some knowledge on me. Thank you, kind stranger.

Now what you’re about to read is a combination of a draft I wrote a couple days ago and the events up until this point including snapchat dialogue and responses for #LYNNTALKS because again, the world has a funny way of acknowledging and helping us find our path.

During the train as I sat by myself along with every other moments that I had for myself, I was contemplating between the very real current life where I live comfortably the way I am now, relishing on the hard work I had put in up until this point with the new family that I had formed, but feeling unfulfilled, letting the metaphorical creative bird in me caged and thirsty, physically sitting in an office chair from 10-6pm, and cramming all my personal creative endeavors on the weekends and before 10am or after 6pm each weekday or I leave that all behind and venture into the absolute unknown territory. Ironically, I considered this path when I graduated college. I had a challenging but, nonetheless, a full-time job offer. I considered my life journey and compared it to many well-established people, like Jobs and Spiderman. They all took a large leap of faith and many of them didn’t even finish college. But during that milestone, I knew that my path was going to be a bit different from Jobs and very different from my favorite comic book hero, Spiderman (ugh!). And I do not regret it. So contemplating my options now, I recognize that it has made the decision much more difficult. What's easier? Starting from the bottom, having nothing to lose. Or when you have plenty to lose, a lot to lose. Even if you always saw this decision coming.

What seems like the obvious answer is the latter. Maybe we can all quote some dead poet or living rapper that said something along the lines of "the larger the risk, the more rewarding.” I’m not going to question your intelligence or mine. But I do have to say, it is not an easy task. Nor is it for the weak.

Someone mentioned the significant difference in reaction to an optimist versus a pessimist’s response to risk-taking. Let me tell you what goes through a pessimist and an optimist mind while contemplating a life changing decision regardless of their beliefs.
What if it fails? What if this is a move that will set me backwards? Will unravel everything I've worked so hard for? This nice apartment? The nice meals? The shoes? All of it? What if I can't afford a decent lifestyle...or even organic fruits? What about traveling? All these things that I think I'm suppose to do, at this age, in this moment, all things society drives me to believe, for you to believe. The unknown. It's scary.
I will argue that we are all optimists and pessimists, just at different times. But when it comes to risk-taking, the key here (majooorrrkeyyyy) is what someone does with these thoughts and do they allow themselves to be open enough to truly weigh the cons AND the pros.
What if I succeed? What if I’m happier? What if this is the move that catapults me into the successful person that I always knew I can be? Have I been learning, hurting, putting in all these sweat and tears, even arriving at a fork and making the decision to walk blindly into uncharted territories, just so I can walk confidently and slay? Yes, it’s a process and I have to make sacrifices. Apartment, meals, shoes, traveling? What I’m doing right now fulfills my soul more, longer, and holds more permanence. I will get to those material and experiences soon and by ten-folds. Fuck society. I’m going to decide whether I want to walk in it, or run in it, or skip, hop, and salsa in it.  

And do I believe in having a back-up? Yes, and no.
I think people use back-up as an excuse not to do something about your internal inclination to make a decision that will change your life, to hold it off for awhile more, maybe until it's too late, maybe not. It’s scary and it’s understandable. Every person's situation, commitments, and priorities are different. But let me tell you what my true back-up is—My mother in NJ has a two bedroom apartment that my mother and my two brothers currently share. If I fall flat on my face, I have some closet space in my mother’s room and she will be happy to have me until I can get back up on my feet. That is truly my back-up plan. I will still have roof over my head, just not the sick Bushwick apartment I currently live in. And that's okay. And I'm not saying that this will happen. But a back-up plan can vary but as long as you're alive, that I'm alive, then isn't that a valid back-up plan?

I’m not sitting her persuading you to recklessly quit your life to pursue your inner passion (I am, kinda), I’m also having this crucial conversation with myself. I am learning and seeking every single moment for the right answer. But perhaps, the answer is very clear and I am, perhaps, writing about it right now.


Have some thoughts of your own on risk-taking or some life advice for me or others? Comment below or snapchat me your opinions and questions (dodolynn)! O just say, hellloooooo from the other sideeee.