Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Risk and fear

Out and about yesterday, bargain hunting for kitchen gear in the sales. Mrs S had baggsyed the drivers seat, so I'm relaxing in the co-pilots position letting my mind wander. Found myself thinking about the mechanics of the risks we all take on a daily basis. For example, sitting in the front passenger seat in traffic at some eighty kph could be compared with falling face first off a wall. Say there was no engine, windscreen, seat belt or airbag in front of me and I came to an abrupt halt, there is a distinct chance that I would not survive. Particularly if that sudden halt was occasioned by a solid concrete wall. Yet many people take equivalent risk daily without even a single nod towards the consequences. To even fully consider the consequences would mean you'd spend your days in a permanent state of abject grovelling terror.

A century ago such a mode of travel would have been inconceivable. Yet today most of us shrug off even the merest notion that we are an eyeblinks inattentiveness from serious injury or death. Then you see the self same people worrying themselves sick over stuff with an infinitesimal risk factor, like pesticide residues, mobile phone radiation, or having the occasional drink. As they say over here, go figure.

For my own part, I'm rather glad that I never listened to the worry warts who said moving to Canada was foolish; "No Bill, you'll never make it, not qualified enough" (Shows how much they knew about me, eh?) Mrs S and I stepped up to the plate, and despite a couple of strikes (If you'll forgive the Baseball metaphor), made it along with the rest of our little clan.

There's a saying that the unexamined life is not worth living. It occurs that part of that examination must come from serious tests of the mind, body and spirit. A simple physical challenge like a Marathon is not sufficient to qualify. Any such experience must leave an indelible mark between the ears, and destruction test a persons self doubt to be truly valid. Needless to say, this entails considerable risk, especially financial.

Sometimes I've been given to thinking that if I'd known what the immigration road ahead had been like; I'd have thought twice back in 2001 before giving my solemn oath to Mrs S that we would emigrate. Instead of taking a deep breath, nodding, and saying; "Though hell itself should bar the way." Let me tell you, there's a considerable downside to this trying to do the right thing all the time. In the intervening nine years we've pretty much destruction tested our relationship and both become more than we were. All because we decided to confront our natural fear of the unfamiliar and manage the inevitable risk of taking a chance.

I'm enjoying it so far. I think.

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