I’ve done some terrifying things in my lifetime: fallen in love, travelled the globe, got married, became a parent.
I’ve quit my job to move in with my boyfriend (now husband), I’ve quit my job to move across the country, I’ve quit my job to stay home with three kids. (I have more gaps in my resume than I do years of professional employment. Sigh.)
Starting this blog was terrifying. Sending my manuscript to an editor was terrifying. Even though I’ve been writing all my life, calling myself a “writer” was/is terrifying.
But all these leaps of faith have led to really exciting experiences. As I’ve said before, I try not to have many regrets. Pausing my professional growth for the sake of my partner and family was hard, sure, but I still believe it was the right decision. I have faith that my time will come. (Especially since my husband often reminds me he plans to retire at 40, so I guess I should probably pick up the financial slack soon… How much do they pay those sign-twirlers outside pizza places? If they’re paid in pizza slices I am very interested.)
I’ve been challenged. I’ve taken risks. I’ve jumped the gun and I’ve also missed the boat. And most of the time, thankfully, I’ve landed on my feet.
However, my next endeavor is actually, truly terrifying. Nightmare-inducing. Almost certain doom. I’m talking about debuting my poetry collection to a classroom full of restless, ruthless six-year-olds.
The idea of reading in the local schools was presented to me a while ago, but I characteristically ignored it like my worrying coffee habit and the sprouts of grey hair on my head. I really like reading to other adults, but performing my unpublished, un-illustrated work to elementary students would be like dipping my toes in a pond of hungry piranha. (Semi-adorable piranha with finely-tuned literary tastes and no filters.)
But this experience would greatly inform my writing. I would learn what works, what doesn’t work (gulp) and research my target audience first-hand. Plus, it could be fun. It could be a disaster, but then again it could be fun. (This is also the reasoning my husband used to convince me to have third baby.)
I consider the many inspiring quotes on taking risks, especially this one by William G. T. Shedd: “A ship is safe in harbour. But that is not what ships are built for.”
Then I consider this lesser-known quote by my five-year-old daughter, upon hearing a rough draft of my most recent rhyme: “This stinks. What’s for dinner?”
Either way, this opportunity is probably a risk worth taking (or a humiliation worth risking).
I guess we’ll have to wait and see.