Last week, I colored my hair a dark navy blue. It’s both subtle and chic and I love it. Despite the ongoing hair color craze of the last five or so years, this is my first time to make such a move. People have asked me why I dyed my hair and it’s easiest to respond, “Because you only live once.” And you do. But the real reason requires a bit longer explanation.
I started taking risks when I turned 22 and what’s funny is I didn’t even realize it until years later. I was quite uptight growing up and stayed within my zone. That meant, not partying, not doing anything illegal, always being the one who took care of everyone else, and always worrying about “getting in trouble.” Granted, I still find myself in this type of role, but I’ve finally loosened up and have taken risks. I started living alone and exploring cities or nearby places solo. I moved out to Los Angeles, alone, for a job I found on LinkedIn. I began to travel more, and you guessed it — I did so alone, even overseas a few times.
When I started doing these things, people began asking me, “How can you live alone?” or “How did you move to Los Angeles without knowing anyone?” or “Why do you like traveling alone?”
It just recently clicked why I do things that would otherwise make most people uncomfortable — I want to be uncomfortable. For instance, traveling alone is definitely a risk, but when I put myself out in the world and go somewhere that is entirely different from what I know, I’m challenging myself to be strong, and lo and behold, I realize that I can handle it.
I can handle being alone and confused and unsure of where I’m going. I can take care of myself even when I’m in scary situations like knowing what to do when bombs are going off outside my hotel in Greece or a mentally disturbed man is shooting people around my downtown home in Dallas. I can figure out how to get from point A to B if my GPS stops working or if all of the instructions for the subway station are in another language. I can speak up and start a conversation with other people if I’m sitting in a bar alone. I can even quit a 9-5 job that pays well, and make a career out of freelance writing which has zero security and benefits.
Though an experience may be scary or uncomfortable, I have discovered that I posses the ability to adapt, and to adapt well, and I wouldn’t have figured that out if I hadn’t taken risks.
So, yes, coloring my hair blue isn’t a huge risk, but initially when I got the idea to do it, I was nervous. What if something happened and the color turned out horribly? What if my hair fell out (not sure why it would do that, but it was a legitimate fear!)? Eventually, I had to tell myself that it’s just hair. And if it did turn an ugly color, I could fix it. And if my hair did fall out, I would just buzz it off, start a new trend, and look super sexy.
Because that’s the thing with risks — things can and do sometimes happen when you’re taking those risks. But the real question is, what are you going to do if something does happen? Are you going to sit back and cry or are you going to strap your boots on and get to working to fix it?
Thanks to taking risks, I always have my “boots” on hand and know that I can handle most anything that comes my way. And yet, for the most part, I’ve been rewarded for taking risks.
Thanks to taking risks, I have amazing friends in Louisiana, Oklahoma, California, and Texas.
Thanks to taking risks, I interviewed celebrities on the red carpet and partied at exclusive clubs and events.
Thanks to taking risks, I have an amazing job that I love that allows me to work from home and even overseas when I travel.
Thanks to taking risks, I’ve met people from all over the world and have had fun, memorable nights.
So, yeah, I’m going to continue to take risks and put myself in situations where I might feel a bit of discomfort because the rewards are worth it. I owe my amazing life to risks and uncomfortable moments, because by pushing myself to do something “I wouldn’t normally do,” I’ve learned to adapt, to make new friends, to have fun, and better yet, I’ve learned to live.