Leapdragon 2016 - Aron Hsiao Was Here

The vexing risk-taking calculation.  §

The risk-reward thing in life is vexing.

© Aron Hsiao / 2006

No risks means no rewards, but there is something to be said for not putting the rewards already “risked out and achieved” into jeopardy.

So you’re constantly on the boundary between managing to appreciate everything you’ve got and earned on the one hand (not to mention not fucking up your life in any number of ways small and large) and trying to make sure that you don’t descend into a kind of unhelpful stasis on the other.

Some people manage this intuitively and do rather well at it, but I suspect that for many introverts, and for INT types in particular, this is a conscious analysis that has to be made on an ongoing basis.

I tend to swing between periods of risk-aversion and risk-taking in life, and both can be harrowing. During risk-averse periods, the threat of a boring, unproductive, low-meaning life tends to hang in the air and color every day; I begin to feel a kind of panic that nothing is happening and nothing is going to happen and thus each day is progressively less useful or worthwhile. I can almost see the clock on the wall ticking, the seconds of my life draining away.

During risk-taking periods, I almost immediately get freaked out—I find myself constantly asking, “What have I done, and why wasn’t I satisfied with what came before? Why did I have to go here just now?”

Is there some way to strike a reasonable balance? I haven’t found it in 41 years. Is the fact that I’m conscious of all of this merely a dimension of my personality? Is the secret to dealing with all of this simply to find a way to forget that it’s there in the first place?

And if so, what’s the method by which this can be accomplished?

If you had asked me when I was young, I’d have said that by 40+ years old I’d have this figured out and sussed, but what I seem to have figured out is that whatever you struggle with when you are young is likely what you will struggle with for the entirety of your life.