Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Life is like an amusement park

I am not a risk taker. I was one of the few people in San Francisco during the dot-com boom who did not buy up IPO stock, who never amassed a tech portfolio. I much prefer to see my money gain slowly in a savings account than chance blowing it all on the stock market. I have only been gambling twice, and both times I stuck to the nickel slots, venturing over to the quarter slots and the $3 Blackjack tables only briefly enough to get a free drink. I tend to plan most big steps I make, down to every last detail, to avoid the possibility of anything going wrong. I don’t play hazardous sports, or travel to dangerous places. I live life on the safe side, and prefer it that way. I know bad things can happen no matter how careful I am, but I prefer to minimize the chance.

My sister once made the perfect analogy; life is like a amusement park. You have the nice kiddy rides, the bumper cars and merry-go-rounds. They are fun but gentle and never make you sick to your stomach. Then there are the rollercoasters and the other big rides that spin and flip you about. They are exhilarating and scream inducing. Along with the fun though comes the gamble of loosing anything you did not tie to your body as well as anything in your stomach. I tend to live life mostly on the kiddy rides, and when I do venture onto the rollercoaster I make sure I have an empty stomach and nothing in my pockets to loose.

Yet this move we are planning is risky, and that is already weighing on me, even though it is at least half a year till we leave. I am approaching the biggest and scariest ride I have ever seen. We will be packing up our lives to move back across the world. We do not have a home there, or guaranteed work. But we are going to sell our house, ship all our belongings, and start all over again. Yes, I have made such a big move before, over 4 years ago, when we left SF for Amsterdam. But Mr. P’s company sent us, so he had work, and they paid for everything including temporary housing till we could find a home. I am excited that we finally decided to go, but the risks are weighing on me. I know that these risks are necessary to get to where we want to be, and if I stay nice and secure, I will also stay unhappy. But I am scared to get unto that giant coaster with a lot in my pocket. What if I loose it all?

So what do I do when I see the boogeyman around every corner? When I stay up at night thinking of all the little things that can go wrong? I start to plan, down to every last little detail. In the last week I have started the “BIG MOVE” file. Already there are lists, spreadsheets, pie charts and appendixes. Everything is outlined; there is a cover page and table of contents. There are links to movers and PDF files with health insurance quotes. My obsessive side is definitely showing. As the queue to the coaster creeps on and I get closer to the ride, it will only get worse and worse. Mr. P fully expects to come home some day and get a PowerPoint presentation detailing every possible bump in the road. Already I am driving him nuts with “it is all going to be OK, right?” and “we are doing the right thing, right?” The only thing keeping me sane is how happy I am to know I will be going home, even if I have to ride that coaster to get there.

So internet, what do you think? Are we mad? Or am I just an old scardey cat destined to live my life on a merry-go-round. Would you get on that coaster?

posted by Laura @ 2:24 PM   11 comments