Piggy-backing on last week’s post because fate or some higher power placed this fortune next, I will write on trying new things and taking risks. Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me that many of the fortunes I pull from my cookies lean towards this subject.
People prefer to be comfortable, and we tend to need encouragement to move out of our comfort zones. I like to think of the fortunes as momma birds booting their baby birds out of their nests, except it includes a sweet cookie.
I recognized this week’s fortune from Scottish writer Tobias Smollett. Although I’ll be honest, I couldn’t remember the man’s name (I found it ironic that a similar name was in the news recently), but I did recall his story: the son of a wealthy judge that heads off to university to become a surgeon but loves writing more than medicine. He heads to London to write some plays and bombs, so he takes a commission as a naval surgeon. After a precarious tour, Smollett traveled to Jamaica where he married an heiress and returned to London to set up a medical practice in Downing Street.
Medicine was a fall-back for Smollett, but that alternate path led him on a journey that eventually paid off. Writing still coursed through his blood, so he continued his passion. He wrote numerous works that gained him recognition in London’s literary society, including The Strange and Surprising Adventures of Captain Roderick Random, that gave him his big boost. The picaresque story of a rogue hero reads much like a fantastical adaptation of the writer’s own experiences with medicine and the navy. Well, they say, “write what you know.”
Let me get back to Smollett’s quote and our fortune for the week. Setting out on an adventure can be daunting. There are risks a plenty, but there are also rewards. Tobias Smollett may never have had a success story if he had not failed on his first attempt. He may not have chosen the surgeon’s path that took him on a journey to find the foundation of his novel.
The risks of failure don’t have to tear us down or frighten us away. They can be a keystone to a new foundation that makes us monumental. Everything we do, everyone we meet plays a role in our lives. These things make us who we are.
How do we take that tenuous step out of our comfort zones? We just do. We put one foot in front of the other and walk that path. It can help to remember stories like Smollett’s or have a fortune like today’s pop up. It can help even more if you ask for encouragement from friends or family—sometimes a daunting task in itself.
We must bravely dare to take that step into the unknown. Or to quote Star Trek’s title sequence, “to boldly go where no one has gone before.” Our lives are our story, and only we can live them, risks and all. We never know how it will turn out, but we can look back and learn from our experiences. Who knows? Maybe our fumbles will be a story worth telling or the next best-seller.