I've never been a huge risk taker.
When I was younger, I used to think I was doing crazy shit but in reality it didn't qualify as anything close to certifiable.
I was doing what I now like to refer to as, "Long Island Jewish kid crazy" types of things.
Long Island Jewish kids don't bite the heads off of bats, ride Harleys or drink moonshine from a jug. We don't snort bath salts, hang out in brothels or get tattoos of screaming eagles.
When Long Island Jewish kids rage we do stuff like play tackle football without pads, drink Rumple Minze from shot glasses stenciled with Greek letters and sometimes we would even borrow our older cousin Steven's fake ID.
But even that was a long time ago.
When my oldest daughter was born, I started to dwell on my own mortality and the fragility of life.
I would look at her and thank God for her 10 tiny fingers and her 10 tiny toes. When she would fall asleep on my chest, I would get lost in the absolute miracle of her fluttering heart beat.
After awhile I became hyper aware of my choices and all of the consequences that could possibly rip from me all of these gifts I had been blessed with.
I adopted the motto, "I don't do anything that might kill me."
Whenever a moment of adventure would present itself, I would jokingly offer up my new found philosophy. It became an excuse I used to pass on a lot of cool opportunities.
That meant no more tackle football without pads because I might break my neck, no more roller coasters because I might have a mini-stroke and no more white water rafting because I might hit my head on a rock and drown and so on and so forth.
But this was all bullshit as it turns out.
I wasn't being smart. In reality, I was living in fear.
When you live in fear, you relinquish any shot you have of growing, both mentally and spiritually.
The real tragedy of it all was that by turning my back on growth, I was setting a terrible example for my kids.
I certainly didn't want my kids to think of me as their Dad, aka the big pussy who won't go on rollercoasters with them because he thinks he's going to have a mini-stroke.
So here I am, 44 years old, taking baby steps towards growth for myself and for my kids.
Today I walked into 7-11 for my morning coffee and I noticed the Pumpkin Spiced Creamer sitting there, whispering in its little creamer voice, "growth. growth. growth." I reached for the creamer, tossed my fear aside and poured a healthy dose into my cup.
"Wait a second." you say. "Where is the risk in that?"
I am lactose intolerant.