Safety glasses are a common accessory. There is an awareness that every move you make has the potential for danger.
I worked there for a few years and even served as the Safety Officer for my work group. No one really cared as much about the safety meetings as I did. I took great advantage of the opportunity to write wildly amusing (I thought anyway) emails encouraging people to focus on their personal safety at all times. There weren’t blogs back then, had to take advantage of any opportunity…
Changing a light bulb? You’ll need safety glasses, a sturdy ladder, and a spotter. Dirt in your eye, falling risk, broken glass – all potential dangers.
Crawling into a chemical vat? (I was a computer programmer, the chances I would be crawling into a chemical vat were pretty slim…but you just can’t be too safe.) You’ll need to make sure people know you are in there, and you should probably wear safety glasses and have a spotter. And, like, just don’t do that, right?
Anyway – danger avoidance has been deeply ingrained in me. Going into any situation, I have a strong sense of how it could possibly go wrong.
Where I could get tripped up, spill something, run into sharp objects.
Needless to say, I do not run with scissors.
Last weekend I went to see a psychic for the first (and very possibly last) time. Along with a number of sort of accurate, but not terribly insightful things, she told me that I have a pattern of disappointment.
She said I go into situations thinking they will turn out for the best, and then they don’t, and I am disappointed.
I’m not looking out for the danger.
When she said that it made me sad. Poor broken me, not getting what I want. Disappointed and let down over and over.
I should break that pattern, it would be so much healthier to not be disappointed.
But as I thought about it, what leads to the disappointment is always something awesome. Something joyful and exciting with great potential to be amazing. The fact that it doesn’t always turn out to be amazing is, well, disappointing. But to avoid the disappointment, I’d have to decline the joy.
I’d have to go through life in the emotional equivalent of safety goggles. And I don’t want to do that (they mess up my hair.)
When it comes to physical danger, I am completely down with staying on the safe side. I am admittedly terrified of all kinds of stuff – heights, and bridges, and spiders. I avoid them at all costs. Take precautions. Manage the risk.
But I refuse to live life avoiding emotional danger. That, to me, seems profoundly worse than an occasional staggering disappointment.
Don’t get me wrong, the staggering disappointments suck. I’d prefer to have a lot less of them. But if they are part of the package, I will gladly accept them (well, not gladly exactly…but I will accept them.)
I am blatantly disregarding the advice of the psychic.
I will continue to be an optimist. I will look at what could go right and not how it might go wrong. I will squeeze all of the joy and happiness and excitement out of every situation, without giving consideration to the potential consequences. I will be reckless with how wide open I keep my heart.
I will not suit up in protective gear. No helmet, no goggles, no net.
I might fall, but it might be into something amazing. And I’m willing to take the risk.