Sometimes, when people get settled into the mundane tasks of life, they forget to take chances. When the Covid pandemic first broke out, people were stuck at home and they had time to pick up new hobbies. They learned new recipes, learned new instruments, and new games. Some adopted new pets. Some made friends with their neighbors. Since that time, life has started to return to normal. People have started to get settled into routines. Life is busy again. I am back in my routine and less likely to step outside of my comfort zone. Looking back on the past several years, the chances that I took, big and small, were truly worthwhile.
At the age of 21, I had a serious boyfriend. We were both in college. He was set to graduate and join the army as an officer, having completed ROTC in college. Immediately upon graduation, he would be sent to an army base to begin his service. This posed a challenge as I wouldn’t graduate college for another year. His dream was to go to Germany to provide medical care to U.S. soldiers being emergently transported from Afghanistan. Seeing as we had been dating for a while, we had open conversations about how the army might affect our relationship. My boyfriend wanted to know what I thought.
The time came for him to tell the army where he wanted to be stationed. After spending many hours thinking about it, I gave him my answer. “I think you should do it. You should put Germany as your number one duty station.” Though he hadn’t proposed, I knew he was the right one for me. I trusted that if our relationship was meant to be, it would work out. Those who know me know that our story ended well. This boyfriend became my husband Derek. We are happily married with a sweet and sassy toddler and a feisty cat. Everyone has different stories. Not everyone has had a long-distance relationship between continents. However, we all take big risks.
Taking chances can mean making big changes like moving across states, switching jobs, or asking someone on a date. There are small risks too like calling a loved one, trying a new dish at a restaurant, or planning a weekend getaway. Pursuing a new opportunity at work can be an adventure. Painting your nails a new color can feel fun and spontaneous. Try a new coffee shop. Try a new yoga pose. Hike a new trail. Recently, I started playing a card game on my phone to prepare to play with family. Learning card games makes me nervous so this is a big step.
“Taking chances” can sound like a cliché. To me, taking chances means living a full life; it means making life-altering decisions; crossing things off your bucket list; ignoring the pit in your stomach, and going for it. Maybe in your life, there are opportunities to take chances like that.