I went to an oral surgeon the other day. In short, I will need two surgeries, 12 months to heal and the jawbone from a cadaver. In addition, since I will be under anesthesia there is a slight chance I might die.
Now that you know what I do for fun, let me focus on that slight chance I might die: Is there anything in life that guarantees you won’t?
These days more and more are not willing to take a chance.
There are warning labels on everything. Bridges “ice before road when wet.” The box is “heavy – two person handling required.” To use an item “gloves are required.” A medication “may cause drowsiness… use care when operating a vehicle.” An electric drill is “not intended for dental purposes.” You get the idea. Your safety is your responsibility, not ours.
As Sergeant Esterhaus used to say on “Hill Street Blues,” Let’s be careful out there.
Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? We should all realize that ultimately we are responsible for our own safety. (Parents and guardians: I trust you are aware of your responsibilities.) We all know better. We are careful out there.
Let’s be honest. There’s a chance you “might die” for a whole slew of reasons other than an adverse reaction to anesthesia. If you don’t look both ways before crossing a busy street, a bus could hit you. If you smoke too much, you might get cancer. If you drink too much, you may die from liver failure. These are all personal choices; it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand what I’m getting at here.
Then again, there is a whole spectrum of other reasons you might die; those you have absolutely no control over. A brain aneurysm. A traffic wreck caused by the negligence of another. Being hit by a random gunshot while minding your own business in a rocking chair on your front porch. Or simply when nature runs its course and calls you home.
My point is this: Life is a risk. Bad things happen, often to good people. However, don’t allow apprehension to get in the way of living your life. Do the necessary research and make wise choices. Have fun. Live a little. Enjoy life (even those who live to be 100 will tell you: life is short). In fact, why live a little when you can live a lot.
Perhaps the biggest risk I’ve ever taken was competing in my dream race that required running 135 miles through Death Valley in the heat of summer. Before I took my spot on the starting line, I was required to sign a waiver that included this statement: “I realize that by competing in this race I might die.” I had already done my homework before I applied and knew exactly what I was getting into; I didn’t hesitate for one second. Later that summer, crossing the finish line at the portals of Mount Whitney was one of the greatest thrills of my life.
We take risks every day from the moment we wake up in the morning to the time our heads hit the pillow at night. If you think about it, simply going to sleep is a risk because waking up the next morning is never guaranteed. You just never know when your time might be up, but you do have control over what you do with it while it still belongs to you.
Life itself is a risk. Be willing to take them if you want to have the life you want and deserve.
If there was a warning label on life, that would be mine.
Scott Ludwig lives, runs and writes in Senoia with his wife Cindy, three cats and never enough visits from his grandson Krischan. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His books can be found on his author page on Amazon.