Posted by: Joan Spiller | August 3, 2011

It’s a risky business, this life thing

A year or 2 before I left CJ’s father, I found a book with a poem in it that really resonated with me. So much so, that I wrote it out on a piece of paper and carried it about with me in my wallet. Every now and then I’d pull it out, read it and think “I wish I was brave enough to do ..<all sorts of things>”

One day I got brave enough to take control of my life and happiness and so it was that CJ and I set off to Hawke’s Bay from Auckland with nothing more than our clothes, a bean bag and (oddly enough) her piano. What could I do? She kissed the damn thing goodnight / loved it. No way was I leaving *that* behind!

I well recall those first few months in HB staying with Mum & Dad. Not the least because I broke both my ankles .. ! Eventually, I found us a cute little townhouse in Frimley and we moved in with our piano and our beanbag. I bought myself a new bed and acquired bits and pieces to try and make the place ‘home’.

With $407 a fortnight “DPB” funding, money was – shall we say: tight! My rent was $150 a week. So I had a small amount of money left over each “pay day” for us to get by on.. I used to default on either the phone or power bill on alternate months and try to make it up the following month – it was not fun, but we had fun for all that.

One day I will blog about the whole trauma of dealing with the dept. of social welfare as it was known back then. I’d not experienced reverse racism (nor had it resolved in such an amusing way) in my lifetime. But that’s a post for another day..

Anyway I recently was reminded of this poem and wanted to share it – I believe it’s from Leo Bascaglia. Whoever wrote it, inspired me and in fact I still think of the words even tho I no longer have my dog-eared hand written copy.

It’s called: “Risking Freedom”

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach for another is to risk involvement.
To expose your ideas, your dreams, before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To believe is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The people who risk nothing, do nothing, have nothing, are nothing.
They may avoid suffering and sorrow, but they cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love, live.
Chained by their attitudes they are slaves; they have forfeited their freedom.

Only a person who risks is free..



  1. That poem… you reckon it is written for EVERYONE… even ME!!!


  2. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!


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