Saturday, June 23, 2007

Taking Chances

How often do you take chances? Are you a risk-taker? Do you think about things long and hard before you try something new or do you fly by the seat of your pants? In terms of psychology’s “big five” personality traits, the personality trait most associated with risk-taking is known as “Openness to Experience.” I’m finding that, quite often, people aren’t so open, they take the safe route in life, in case something unfortunate might happen. No, I’m not just using this as another way to study for a psych class; I got to thinking about chances and risk when I read about this story yesterday via LL, a sad reminder that sometimes taking a chance does indeed end up disastrous.

I think of myself as a fairly open person. I met my husband via a BBS back in the day, before the Internet was as popular and widespread as it is today (does that make me “open” or just a geek??) At 32, I enrolled in University for the first time and although it was a bit scary at first, I absolutely love it now. I like trying new foods, new activities, traveling, and yes, even going on scary thrill rides.

Another one of my favourite things to do is meet new people. I love everything about people: meeting them, talking to them, getting to know them, figuring out what makes them tick, or even just watching them when I’m in a public place (no, I’m not a voyeur and even if I was, this is Elisson’s pad and I'm trying to keep it clean here). I’m not what you would call shy in any respect. My mother recalls me, as a child, going up to complete strangers when we would go camping and saying, “Hi, I’m ‘Chickie,’ want to be friends?”

So, it was that love of meeting people that led me to a new friendship in the summer of last year. I’d been reading these “Jawja bloggers” for a while - basically, these were the only blogs I read. I really don’t know how I ended up getting addicted to reading a bunch of cats from the southern US, it just kind of happened. When I decided to start my own blog, many of those same writers I’d been reading started to read and comment on mine as well. I believe it was early June when, through the magic of blogging, I found out that Elisson himself was coming to my fair city. Were I the tentative type, I might have been too nervous to venture out to a bar at 10:30 at night to meet someone I’d only known electronically, this Jewish dude from Atlanta who blogged one minute about fine cuisine and the next (and quite frequently) about excrement.

Everything turned out just fine, of course; we had a great time chatting over a couple of drinks and we even had the opportunity to spend some more time together later in the summer. Taking another chance, I decided to schlep my butt onto a plane and fly a mere 2500 kilometres to attend my first-ever blogmeet. A bit nervous? Sure I was, but it was worth it, I was welcomed right into the fold of the Blown-Eyes and was treated like family by E and SWMBO.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, unlike the poor girl in the story I linked at the top, I’ve taken plenty of chances in my life and so far, they’ve all turned out pretty darn great. While I don’t advocate being completely foolhardy when making decisions, I think it is a good thing to be able to trust yourself enough to try new things, even if they seem a little scary or risky at first. You never know what wonderful new experiences (or people) are waiting around the corner.

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