As a kid, I loved Evil Knievel. He was a world famous motorcycle daredevil who performed jumps from 1965 through 1980. I watched several of them on TV and remember him jumping cars and buses and always trying to break his previous records. He would make several trial runs up the jump ramp and stop at the end as he looked over the gap he was about to jump. My anticipation grew with every trial run just waiting for the actual jump to take place. His jump attempt over the Snake River in a rocket was awesome failed but what a try! He not only broke records, he broke bones. By 1975 he had broken 433 bones and made the Guinness World Book of Records. He went on to perform another 5 years after than. Talk about a risk taker! This guy risked his life many times over in pursuit of his career.
I tried my own Evil Knievel stunts as a kid. My dad had a pair of heavy metal ramps he used to load cars on a flatbed trailer. I set up one of the ramps as my jump and placed one end on a concrete block. The ramp was only a foot wide or so, so my takeoff had to be perfect. I started with one block which put the end of the ramp about 10 inches. I placed the ramp on our hard packed dirt and gravel driveway. Not the safest place to take a fall! There was a slight decline towards the ramp that allowed me to reach maximum speed. It was also summer and about 100 degrees with searing hot sun. The pressure was on to make this jump! I lined up my bicycle, complete with banana seat, uphill from the ramp. Unlike Evil, I couldn't make a trial run to the top and stop or I would topple off the side. I revved up my motorcycle and took off and hit the ramp at perfect speed, in the air, nailed the landing and hooray for the great daredevil Mitch! That was just the start. I added more concrete blocks and my finale was on a wobbly four block ramp aimed about 90 degrees toward the sky. I broke many records that summer and even convince my sisters to lay on the ground a few times so I could jump them.
Evil Knievel took major risks in his performances, but not without studying the risks, double checking his math, using safety equipment etc. As kids we all take crazy risks without thinking about safety or what could result. Fortunately, as we grow older we understand the risk/reward aspect of life and make better decisions. Unlike Evil, I only broke one bone in my childhood but suffered many bruises, scrapes and cuts.
As we all go through life we make thousands of decisions based on risk, some that we barely think about. There is risk in everything. In relationships and marriage, in births, in our jobs and everyday living. Most of the time a risk taken is later a cherished memory. Take the good risks in life. Take the chance on a great relationship. Take the chance on having children. Take a chance on that promotion or change in your job position. Take a chance on that restaurant you've driven by never tried. Take a chance on offering help to someone. Take a chance on that new vacation spot. Don't take the chance on the gas station sushi or egg salad sandwich!
In retirement we have to look at risks involving our money and investments. Do you put your retirement funds in an aggressive or non--aggressive fund? Do you withdraw 3% or 4%? Do you put all your next egg in the .75% certificate of deposits at the bank to be super safe? These risk are important as you need to make sure you have the funds to live for the rest of your life and the decisions are not always easy. Each risk assessment in this area just comes down to your comfort level and no one answer or portfolio mix is right for everyone of us. Retirement also involves risks taken with your health. To take the flu vaccine or not? See a doctor regularly or take your chances of not catching a health condition early? Each of us has to weigh these decisions and the bottom line is to gather as much information as you can and then do everything you can to protect yourself, family and finances so that you can enjoy a long healthy retirement.
Feel free to comment with stories about you own crazy risk stories.