When I was 11 years old, I lived with my aunt for a year in the beautiful city of Palmdale, California. During that year I decided that I was going to do everything that my mom would not let me do. Since my aunt lived at the very top of this hill, I decided that it would be a great idea to ride my bike down the hill at the speed of light. I had absolutely no fear and apparently no sense. I did not wear a helmet or any kind of protective gear because I thought those were for “children” and not a mature 11 year old such as myself. Some of the neighborhood children gathered around as I walked my bike to the middle of the street. Yes, not only did I decide to ride my bike down a hill but, I decided to do it in the middle of the street as well. I straddled my bike and began to pedal forward, gaining momentum with each push. Soon, I was going so fast that my cheeks started vibrating due to wind pressure. My heart was beating like a tribal drum and I felt like I was flying. With a wide smile and tears streaming down my face, I amazingly made it down the hill unharmed.
Now that I am an adult I can’t help but wonder what possessed me to do such a thing and where was my aunt? I also think it’s interesting how I can recall this event, when I can’t even recall what I had for dinner two nights ago. This is because somewhere during the transition of adolescence to young adult, I stopped taking risks. I can’t actually pinpoint the moment I stopped taking risks but I believe it was sometime during high school. Many of the risks I had taken at that time were falling apart.
When a risk does not produce the outcome that we want, we tend to focus on failure instead of going back to the drawing board. I can honestly say that if I would have fallen off of my bike during that ride down the hill, I probably would have did it again and worn protective gear the next time. Now, whenever an opportunity presents itself and I start to wonder if it’s too risky, I remember how amazing it felt to ride down that hill instead of how torn I was the last time I took a risk. After all, if it doesn’t workout I can always go back to the drawing board.