Is it really cowardice?

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I admit it. I am not very brave.

I avoid whatever might cause me discomfort physically, mentally, financially, emotionally or any other “ally” you can think of. I don’t take any chances. I evade anything that can cause me pain, anger, distress, fear, guilt or any condition that is not pleasant, fun or amusing. I am getting pretty good at it, too. It is not easy and it has taken me years of suffering all those maladies and many others, over and over again to just get to “pretty good.”

I wasn’t always a coward. Early on, like most kids, I just jumped in with both feet without concerning myself with consequences. Quite a few of those consequences proved either agonizing and/or embarrassing so I learned to think before I jumped and to not do really dumb stuff.

As I got older I was outspoken, rebellious and defiant. I questioned, argued and confronted. I was standing up for what I thought was right, true and fair. That also caused me a lot of trouble because parents, teachers, bosses or those with any kind of authority, do not like being challenged. I won very few of those challenges. I learned a lot of hard but useful and enduring lessons.


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Over the years I like to think I have mellowed some. OK, stop laughing. I am still on the side of right, truth and fairness but have learned not everything is my burden to carry. I still spout off and it has cost me but I have learned a loss is not always a loss. Sometimes it’s a gift. I no longer take on conflicts best left to others. I try to stay clear of people who do not uplift or enhance my life. I quit fighting losing battles and carefully pick and choose causes that are worth my effort.

I was opposed to wearing a seatbelt when that law came out. Still having a bit of a disobedient streak, I didn’t use it until I got caught and ticketed. That was stupid and costly so started wearing my seatbelt. Used to have an ashtray on my desk until they decided you couldn’t smoke at work. Didn’t like that one either but wasn’t taking any chances on getting fined or fired. I go the speed limit and have insurance, not because I am so law abiding, which I am, but mostly because I don’t want to get charged. I won’t take any chance at giving away my limited cash to pay for self-righteousness.

Mountaineering is not an activity I will likely ever do. Same with bungee jumping, bull riding, boxing or cave diving. Don’t think I will bother to skateboard, mountain bike, sign up for hockey or football or take up free falling. I am not taking any chances doing anything that could cause me to suffer injury, harm or kill me. These days I don’t want to take any chances and get sick so I stay away from people. I don’t want to take any chances of getting you sick so I wear a mask.

Cowardice? Maybe. I am apprehensive of getting hurt, sick or wasting money. It is also about being a more mature, responsible grown up, conscious of the frailty and limitation of life. Adulting is not as much fun, but it is perspicacious.

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