The Biggest Risk of All


When is the last time you took a risk? I mean the kind of risk that has the potential to expand you in some important or beautiful way. For me, it was this morning.

I started my day with a long walk and a favorite podcast. When the episode ended, my thoughts were swirling and I realized I was 35 minutes from home. I paused on a bench and struggled to come up with my next listening choice, but I just couldn’t settle on anything. A thought crossed my mind: What if I just listened to the quiet morning air? I pushed it aside, more than once. The prospect made me jumpy; I didn’t really want to feel “alone” today. Finally though, feeling somehow expanded and emboldened by the crisp spring air, I decided to try it. I headed back sans soundtrack.

I know. As risks go, this barely moves the needle. Most people would call this peace and quiet instead. But honestly, sometimes half an hour alone with my own thoughts and feelings—with nothing to distract—is a risk. Some days more than others. And today, choosing to walk home in silence prompted a familiar jab of anxiety that I have felt, on a much larger scale, when taking the bigger risks in my life. Risks like going freelance, buying my house, starting a relationship, asking for help.

How about you? Are you contemplating a risk of your own today, big or small? If so, I offer these words, just for you.

The Biggest Risk of All

To stand at the edge of
the sure and the unsure,
the here and the who knows,
the safe and the shaking in your boots,
is to stand where life

It is in that exact space
(some might call it
sacred space)
where hope lives
and breathes.

For that is the very point
dreams can launch
or love begin;
where freedom can start
or healing take root.

But it is also—
just as easily—
where all of it can come crashing
depending on an endless variation
of things we can
and cannot

Because the thing about risk is
there’s no guarantee,
no warranty,
no crystal ball,
and sometimes,
no turning back.

You might win,
you might succeed,
you might soar and thrive.

But you might also fail,
or flail,
or fall flat on your face.

It might hurt.
It might take your breath
or your pride away.
It might leave you with
a mess.
A rejection.
A scar.
A whole new definition
of fear.

And, if you take enough
it probably will.

But, if you take enough
it probably will
do something else to you
as well.

It will show you that
you can survive.
You are strong.

And it might just give you
the courage to risk

What I know for sure is that,
some days,
for some of us,
it’s a risk just to get up in the morning.
It’s a risk to love.
To forgive.
To hope.
To say yes.
To say no.
To start.
To stop.
To show up.
To leave.
To believe.
To try again.

But what I also know is that
of what is
good and real
in life
lies on the other side of
that line—

where fear and courage meet,
where peace and peril mix,
where chance and challenge call—

and to never
step across
would be the biggest risk
of all.

Top image via

BY Julie Rybarczyk - March 25, 2018

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Beautiful words, Julia! ❤️

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

March 25, 2018 12:58 pm

That was a brave thing to do; facing your thoughts when you’re anxious or depressed is awful, to say they least. I don’t think my article will apply to you much, but I was fiercely reminded by it as I too decided to take out my headphones a while back. Since I don’t hear many people making a similar choice I liked the recognition I found here. I linked it as my website this time. Besides that, I just wanted to let you know I think you rock 🙂

March 26, 2018 4:19 am

Hello, girly!
Thank you so much for sharing this.
I love discovering blogs that are “worth it” and yours is, indeed, one of them.
Keep up the amazing work!


March 26, 2018 7:36 am

Thank you.

March 26, 2018 2:15 pm

I often think about risk for myself, and it’s definitely revealing who I really am. I shy away from things that I know in my heart to be true. I’m slowly unfurling these days, but there’s still so much work to do before I can really bloom. Thanks for the encouragement!

Eva |

March 28, 2018 1:31 pm

I sincerely enjoy so much of the content on w&d, but have found myself lingering and rereading your posts. Maybe it’s because I see myself in them (i do!) or maybe it’s because they are beautifully vulnerable and hilariously honest. I’m thankful to have read this one today and look forward to the next!

March 28, 2018 3:01 pm

Oh wow, this was just me yesterday! I usually listen to music when I’m walking outside, but there are times I don’t want to. This time, I chose not to, but instead of just walking to and from my destination, I chose to actively listen to my surroundings and it was very interesting. I do think I have a shorter attention span, so I couldn’t do it for too long, but it was strangely eye-opening. I thought to myself, “These sounds seem mundane and everyday… but if one day, I’m no longer able to hear them?” which helped me appreciate… Read more »

March 29, 2018 2:30 am

This is very great and brilliant information.

March 29, 2018 12:16 pm

I absolutely LOVED this article. It’s true, turning off the music/podcasts is a HUGE risk. When I was deep in the trenches dealing with my depression, I literally couldn’t turn off some kind of noise… if I did, I immediately would take a nose-dive. Then, the noise became a crutch. TV on at the house, music on in the car, podcast on while the kids watched their shows… I’m finally getting brave. It’s a hard thing to turn off the sound and just listen to yourself breathe. It’s taken about 2 years, but I’m finally getting comfortable in the quiet… Read more »

April 2, 2018 5:54 am

Awesome work you have done here

April 20, 2018 7:39 am

nice article thank you for sharing information

Most-read posts:

Did you know W&D now has a resource library of  Printable Art, Templates, Freebies, and more?

take me there 

Arrow Alone

Get Our Best W&D Resources

for designing a life well-lived


Arrow Alone

the latest

Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.

Hi, I'm Kate. Welcome to my happy place.











follow us on instagram @witanddelight_