To Risk or Not to Risk?

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LBM_42_Letter_Alli Tong_By Jody Tiongco-5









I’ve never been much of a risk taker. I imagine if someone were to put me on the risk-taking spectrum, I’d be on the lower end of it. I have friends and family who’ve jumped out of planes, bungee jumped hundreds of feet and scuba dived well into the depths of the ocean—but me? Nah, I’ll pass.

But I’ve always wanted to be more of risk taker. In fact, exactly one year ago, for Laguna Beach Magazine’s staff question for the January 2013 issue, I wrote that I wanted to take more risks, such as paragliding. And the universe actually gave me multiple chances to do so last year. I was invited to go skydiving and paragliding on two separate occasions, but I passed. I did, however, end up taking a hot air balloon ride in Temecula, Calif., where we almost crash-landed in someone’s backyard. Well, we still landed in someone’s backyard, but we (thankfully) didn’t tip over like the pilot warned us.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not one of those compulsive types that obsesses over every little thing and whether it’s a good or bad decision. I will say, though, that I once sat down with my financial adviser, and he had me take a survey on my level of risk-taking. I was in the “conservative” category. “What?” my finance guy said. “You’re too young to be so conservative right now.”

“I’d rather play it safe than sorry,” I replied. I also don’t gamble for that very reason.

All of this reminds of the 2004 film “Along Came Polly,” where Ben Stiller plays a risk-averse insurance agent, Reuben. In one scene, his character says, “I know that I have a .013 percent chance of being hit by a car on my way home. Or a one in 46,000 chance of falling through a subway grate. So I try to manage that risk by avoiding danger and having a plan and knowing what my next move is. And I guess you don’t exactly live your life that way.”

The “you” Reuben is speaking with is Polly Prince (played by Jennifer Anniston), who is free-spirited and loves to experience new things. If Reuben never took a risk in dating crazy Polly, he never would have found his true love. Cliche, sure. But for every negative there’s always a positive, right?

I think a little risk is a good thing, even if it’s just eating something you’ve never tried before or taking a new route to work. In this issue of Laguna Beach Magazine, we touch on a few ways that we can all experience something new for ourselves this year. From learning to live healthier (“Fountain of Youth,” page 44) and psychic readings (“The Second Sight,” page 56) to finding love in a small town (“Daring to Date in Laguna,” page 38), I hope there’s a story in here that inspires you to do something out of the ordinary or think differently. Although I’m not going to make any more paragliding promises, I am up for the challenge of doing something new this year.

Alli Tong
Editor, Laguna Beach Magazine

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