Risks and Courage

Take a Risk and Make Courage a Habit

I’m a risk taker.

But I’m also a closeted scaredy-cat, so taking risks doesn’t mean I’m fearless.  In fact, stepping outside my comfort zone makes me anxious.  I fear judgement, or that I’ll disappoint myself and others.  I even worry about success because with that comes pressure and expectations.  Often my fears are unfounded, and sometimes the things I worry about are realistic.  I’ve fallen from grace more times then I want to admit, and the lessons that go with that have been hard won.  I’ve made lots of messes.  But, it’s the risks I’ve taken that have brought adventure, skinned knees, love, heartbreak, and self-discovery into my life.  Each experience has helped shape who I am.  And I like me.  So, in order to follow my dreams, my internal mantra is, “take a risk and make courage a habit”.

A Year of Change and Resolutions

Why am I talking about risks and courage?  Because change is happening, and I’d rather make friends with it than fight it.  Yes, it’s scary… and that’s okay.

One unexpected change in my life came in October when I learned I had leukemia and I would need cancer treatments.  These daily infusions take a toll on my body, resulting in far too many hours in bed, staring at the clock.  I want to incorporate what I love into my life by making it as much of a priority as dealing with my cancer.  So, I’ve made a commitment to myself to get back to doing what brings me happiness.  My resolution: no matter how I feel, I’ll make time for photography and writing each week.

For photography, I chose the scariest of all challenges: a 52 week, self-portrait project.  Maybe this wouldn’t be scary for others, but for me: EEEK!  So why do it?  I want to push myself further as an artist, and it will take creativity to come up with 52 different ways to portray myself and my life.  Being uncomfortable in front of the camera tells me I need to work on my self-concept.  I want to better understand what my subjects feel when they come face to face with my lens.  And lastly, it will be a way of documenting this challenging, change-filled year.

For writing, I’ve promised to post a weekly entry to my blog.  I want to journal my experiences.  An important aspect of this promise is to be authentic.  When I’m writing, my fear comes from wondering how my words will be received.  I must remind myself that it’s not about the reader, it’s about me, and I need to speak my truth in this world.  The blog is my voice and it’s a wonderful feeling when others connect with what I say.  But, even when they don’t, I’ve still found fulfillment in the telling of my story.

Another major life change is eliminating 95% of my worldly goods in order to have a less tethered life style.  If I’m to live in a tiny RV and travel North America, then I need to sell the home I’ve owned for 20 years and donate or craigslist the rest of my belongings.  There’s therapy in purging, but it’s also difficult to see a lifetime of items go out the door.  I’ll need courage to embrace this change, but I do it because I believe the risk is worth the reward.  I’ll have the freedom to explore, meeting with friends and family across the country.  What could be better?

We’re all gifted with new beginnings.  Sometimes this change is forced upon us, and other times it’s of our own making.  This scaredy-cat will run towards the risks, with camera and pen in hand.  I’ll do my best to clean the inevitable messes, learn my lessons, and enjoy all the benefits of these new adventures.

What about you?  What are you afraid of?  What changes are you embracing this year? 


9 thoughts on “Risks and Courage

  1. Harvey Stanbrough

    Another beautiful post, especially in its honesty. I’m not the “you go girl” type, so I’ll just yell, “Get ’em, Sara!”

    Umm, so, that is, errr, I didn’t see up there where you said you were gonna post your self-portrait each week in your post, which you’re also doing each week. But you ARE gonna do that, right? Huh? Ain’t’cha?



  2. james norman

    I would still maintain a residence somewhere, an apartment with some of your prized possessions, or someone’s basement for storage. You may tire of the travel and it is always nice to “go home”


    1. Thanks, James. I see your point, and it’s great advice. The RV will be my home, so I’m making it very cozy with the everything I’ll need. I’m fortunate in that I’ve always viewed my parent’s house as my second home, so that’s my soft place to land if I need it.


  3. Such an excellent writing, Sara! You do have a way of getting me to look at my life as well. I sometimes do wonder what holds me back from trying all the new photo and edit skills I spend hours studying. I seem to be stuck on what I already know. Yet, Den and I had never photographed waterfalls before, or night photography and yet we did it. It’s just I want so much more. Oh well, I’ll figure me out one of these days.
    As for you, my dear friend, I am so glad you are getting yourself to do some photography even when it must hurt or feel bad because you are so tired from the treatments. I admire that kind of tenacity but what I really want to do is to follow that kind of forward thinking you have always had. It’s what I have admired about you from 1/2/14 when I first joined your 365 group. So, keep writing and clicking and I’ll start following with my own initiatives. We’ll meet somewhere in the middle, my friend! 🙂


    1. Linda, you and Denny are amazing photographers. I’m glad to know that you’re going to follow your initiatives because you’re very capable and talented! I can’t wait to see what you come up with this year. FYI – I love shooting waterfalls, using a long shutter speed to get that creamy look. I miss having water where I live so traveling to the coast is something I’m looking forward to doing so I can photograph the falls and ocean. And night photography with the stars as the backdrop and a flashlight for light painting something in the foreground = so fun!
      Here’s to our both being successful in reaching new heights.


  4. Margaret Ann Adams

    I’m with you on doing what makes you happy. Photographing yourself weekly through the year touches a nerve with me. I am not a photographer, but I have the urge to present myself as I am as I age with selfies on my writing. And…..I did not get rid of 95% of my stuff during my Tidying month, but I did let go of a lot, and I feel very good–much lighter–for doing it. So I am your cheerleader on that project.

    Sending healing energy and love to you. Margaret Ann


  5. Thank you for commenting on my post, so I could discover you. Our life journey is full of twists and turns, never knowing what waits ahead. But its the style in which we travel that matters most… free, without a too serious schedule and without all the clutter of unncessary things. I struggled with my one week self-portrait and for you to choose to do it all year…amazing.
    I wish you all the best in your life journey and may we share many photos and stories, I will certanlly follow your work.


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