Last night, a new friend asked about what I meant by risks in my last post. They were confused because they always saw risk as just a financial term. For me, I think of financial risk as really understanding what could hurt the lifeblood of an institution, it’s finances. If I think about risk on a personal level, it’s really what would put my own lifeblood at risk.
What would put my lifeblood at risk would be anything that would keep me from pursuing a life worth living. This is a much more fundamental question that everyone should ask themselves personally. Beyond the basics, what else do you want to do? What else do you value? When I moved back to Colorado, I thought I was pursuing some underlying desire. Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture confirmed this for me.
In The Last Lecture, Professor Pausch is terminally ill with cancer, and he described how grateful he was for doing everything he wanted to as a kid. Childhood dreams seem like a great place to start.
People navigated by the stars before they navigated with a compass. For me, who was the star in my life? My grandfather. He started his career after he left the internment camp, got an education, provided for my dad and the rest of the family to live in the suburbs. During nights and weekends, he volunteered for the Japanese-American Citizens League, a civil rights organization. I was always pushed by him to be the best I could and build on what he started for our family.
However, when he passed away, I realized something else. Yes, Ji-chan really did a lot for the family, I knew that he didn’t have the best relationship with my dad because he worked so much. Whereas, my dad and I still do everything we can together: ski, bike, drink, etc. My parents made an active decision when they were figuring out where to live to not live on the North Shore of Chicago because they knew they would get pulled into the chaos of competing in a major city. Living on the North Shore of Chicago, while much more lucrative for them, would have risked how my parents wanted to live their lives. This meant so much to me, and it was at my grandfather’s wake that I realized I wanted to move back to Colorado. To be Frank, I know Frank would be proud of that decision too.