Whether to take risks

We all live our lives going through all kinds of stages, experiences and risks. What I wonder is if risks are worth taking, and if yes, which ones?

Let me explain a little more what I’m talking about. I have a fantastic family with Fredrika and our two lovely daughters Emilia and Filippa, and I love them so much it hurts. Any thought about if anything were to happen to them just tears me apart.

A side of this is that I, naturally, feel the responsibility to take care of them and do whatever is in my way to make their lives as enjoyable and happy as possible. And if I were to take any risk that would potentially leave my daughters without a father, I can’t fathom the pain I would put on them. This has led to me being ever increasingly worried about if anything would happen to me.

I don’t go around every day worrying about things that might happen. It’s just that there are certain things that scare me more than others, and I seriously contemplate whether I should do certain things, if it imposes any kind of risk.

My current fear is that tomorrow, Friday, I’ll be traveling to Italy with my employer for a four-day conference, and I’m terrified. At a first glance it seems great fun, and it might very well turn out to be just that. But, the risk here is the flying and the consequence if anything goes wrong. I’m not afraid of flying, I’m afraid of dying.

And all these thoughts and wonderings just make me wonder if I should take any risks or do anything where the result can be fatal? I mean, I should of course do what I can to live my life to the fullest, but at the same time it’s not just about me anymore. I have responsibility to my loved ones that I have to take into account. Of course this is the way I feel and the way it should be, and not anything they’re forcing me to feel or ever would.

But still, what should I do? Stop flying? Stop going to exciting countries and take any risk whatsoever? That’s probably not a good life either, but I’m so very ambivalent about these questions. Without a doubt I would abandon all my plans without hesitation if I knew it would guarantee me safety, but unfortunately it doesn’t. So I will go tomorrow, with my utter and complete love and best thoughts for my family.

What if something happens to me?

21 Comments

  • Olle says:

    Dude, you are overreacting. Calm down, bloody hell. Is it you or your wife who has the montly period?

  • You should not get out of bed or go to sleep that is a risk – you have to get things into perspective. Now going to certain war zones might be a little risky but flying to Italy is probably a fairly good bet that you will return.

  • Chris says:

    Robert, you will die one day πŸ˜‰ You know that! It could be in a plane, in your bed, in your bathroom, tomorrow, in 58 years, etc. This is the same for your wife, your daughter, me, my daughter, etc. The only way not to die is not to live but err… we were not given the choice and if so we would probably have chosen to live. The second we were born, we were bound to die.

    Ok, that being said πŸ˜‰ , you have to live the kind of life you like. You can take the plane or the train. I take the train because I think the plane puts our life in danger. Not your life or mine, but the lives of people after us. Because planes are all over the sky now. Only for the US, there are about 90,000 planes in the sky each day. Planes have a huge impact on global warming. If possible, we should all try to reduce our plane travels to the bare minimum.

    But plane is safe and you can safely go to Italy and come back I'm sure πŸ™‚

  • Dana says:

    Congrats on being a grown up and thinking about your family as much as you are. Most guys don't think about these things at all. (see the first comment)

    That said, you need to take a step back. Yes, the risk to your life should be a consideration in your decisions, but that shouldn't be the only consideration. How much risk is there on your trip? It isn't like you're thinking about going sky diving or something. Some risk can't be avoided. Just make smart decisions.

    It may put your mind a bit more at ease if you knew that your family was taken care of if something did happen to you. Make sure you have an up-to-date will. Get a life insurance policy for an amount big enough for your wife to give your daughters a good life. Yes, they will miss you terribly, but you can be assured that the other things they need in life will be provided for.

    Next, think about the example you are setting for your daughters. Would you want your daughters to pass up opportunities because they were afraid of how much it would hurt you and your wife if anything happened to them? I'm sure you wouldn't. We all want our kids to get as much out of life as possible. Even if you think they don't know what you're thinking or about these fears, THEY DO. Kids pick up on much more than we realize and if you carry this too far it will effect them.

    I think you should keep these fears in mind, don't completely dismiss them, but you still need to relax a little. Use your head, use common sense, don't purposely put yourself in dangerous positions, make sure your family is provided for if something does happen, and above all, enjoy your life and your family without fear.

  • Johan says:

    Perfectly normal thoughts … when you change your daily routine away from that…

  • Joó &At says:

    Everyone dies, Robert. Everything dies. Ashes and dust…

    Liv skadar din hälsa allvarligt och kan leda till en lÃ¥ngsam och smärtsam död πŸ˜‰

  • Jeff L says:

    Certainly valid thoughts, but really, if you start thinking that way you won't do anything.

    Much better chance that you'll get in a car accident than the chance that your plane will crash. Will you stop driving?

  • Jrf says:

    Oh Robert, you poor soul. Have a hug !

    There are so many things I wish I could say to you in response to this blog, I hardly know where to start, so let's just sprout some of them at random:

    * The chances on being involved in an accident with a plane are small. Statistically aircraft travel is the safest form of transportation.

    * As others have said before me: life and death are intrinsically bound together, one cannot exist without the other for our kind and we *will* all die at some point sooner or later.

    Being afraid of dying will impede your ability to enjoy life.

    Ask yourself what would be a better memory for your loved ones to have after your passing: a memory of someone denying themselves a full enjoyable life out of fear or the memory of someone enjoying life to their fullest ability taking risks while not losing track of their responsibility to others.

    Reading your blog above I think you already know fairly well that you are taking the second path even though you sometimes have your doubts – which is only human.

    * Like Dana said before, if it can help you put your mind more at ease, try and arrange for some of the practical impact of your passing by making a will, having life-insurance, possibly a funeral insurance and making a list of 'funeral wishes'. It may sound macabre to do so, but it will help those left behind to feel free to focus on their feelings and grief as they don't have to worry about the practicalities.

    * In addition to the above, a very beautiful way of leaving something behind for your loved ones (and therefore always being prepared) is by creating a memorybook or memory box for each of them.

    In a memory box you can for instance put little notes, photo's, cd's with favorite music or music which carries memories, stories you write etc whenever you feel like it.

    When you are gone, your loved ones will have a very personal recollection box with things you wrote and found important.

    A memorybook is often a more basic and structured version of this in which you write about yourself, so that your children – especially if they would still be young when you died – will later know who their father was.

    For inspiration, please feel free to visit the website:
    http://www.remembermewhenimgone.org/ which offers a free memorybook template in nearly a 100 languages, including Swedish.

    Even though the above may sound very fatalistic, it is not meant as such.

    Speaking as a daughter whose father died when she was 8, possibly the best suggestion I can make is:

    be !

    By that I mean: just be yourself, the obviously loving, caring and responsible husband and father which you seem to be.

    Even though it is more than 26 years ago that my father died and I remember very little of him, I *do* remember that he was a loving father and every day I recognize more and more bits of him inside myself.

    If his death taught me anything it is to *live* and to make sure I never have any regrets about things I didn't do (i.e. I do them instead).

    Oops, got a bit carried away by the looks of it… very long comment now, but who knows you may find something of use to you in it. I hope you will and I wish you a great time in Italy and a joyous reunion with your family on your return.

  • What Dana and Jrf said, plus have you every thought of getting professional help? It doesn't have the stigma it used too have and can be very helpful.

    Remember, now that you're a father you job is to raise you children to be adults. That means that they will sometimes suffer consequences for their actions. You will teach them to think, to be self sufficient.

  • Robin says:

    Yeah, just like Dana and Jrf mentioned earlier: get a life insurance. That's about the best you could do πŸ™‚ !

  • Steven Clark says:

    Hey I'm with you robert, every time I look at the reality of what I'm doing in the flying thing it kind of blows me out – sitting in a metal tube full of aero fuel travelling at hundreds of miles per hour half a mile above the ground… yep its dangerous alright.

    But I guess so is life in general. Might swallow a wasp while you drink a coke or eat your sandwich too.

    And there's nothing wrong with feeling responsible for other people in your life – thus feeling you should play it safe.

  • Maaike says:

    Hey Robert,

    Try not to worry so much! Stress is bad for your heart πŸ˜‰

    But seriously – like the others said: the drive to the airport may be more dangerous than the flight itself. So it's not as if you're taking a huge risk by flying.

    Besides, I think if you spend your life doing the things you really want to do, you're setting a good example for your kids. And that's important as well.

    I hpoe you're having a great time in Italy!

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Thank you! I sincerely appreciate your comments and concern, and I will do my best to enjoy life, within reason!

    And, most importantly, I will definitely avoid letting any of my fears, in any way, affect my beloved daughters. Thanks for reading!

  • Time to check up on your insurance I guess … just to make sure that, should something happen to you, your family won't be fucked financially on top of losing you!

    Yes, the f-word applies here … so get it taken care of.

    And, make sure that being ALIVE is the biggest impact you have on others … death comes to all, but not all can be said to have been truly alive.

  • First, it is a very valid concern you have, indeed. Is great you care that much about your family as you do.

    Second, I have to be yet another one here to agree that we all are going to die some day and, in my point of view, it is always success when parents die before children. So the best case scenario (IMHO) is that you will leave you children one day, I only hope this happens in a very distant future and not now, but is not up to us to decide this.

    Now, on this grounds, precisely because you care that much about them is that (IMHO) you must think more about what are you going to leave them when you die, instead of trying not to die.

    I don't have children yet, but I have a lovely wife and I wouldn't like to take unnecessary risks land die but also I don't want to leave to her and to my future children a legacy of not doing what it takes for what we believe we must do.

    I wouldn't avoid a fly unless I have a reason to believe that particular one has a greater risk than the average. After all, it is more likely to be killed in daylife accidents than on a plane crash.

  • Marco says:

    Hi old friend!

    It's really nice to see you're able to write so honestly about your fears on your website. There's plenty of people who don't have the guts to do such a thing!

    As others have already said, the risks of getting killed in a plane crash are far lower than the risk of getting killed in some stupid daily life thing such as a car crash, getting run over by a bus or … heck, even slipping over something in the bathroom. Therefore a plane flight isn't really anything to worry all that much about.

    It is however really good to think about the 'what if' situation like Dana and others have indicated. Especially if you have a family and the responsibility that comes with it it's a very good thing to make some arrangements in case some worst case scenario actually occurs.

    By the time you read this you're probably back again so I hope you've had a great time in Italy!

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Thank you! I've had a great time, and am also thankful and glad to be back, and to find your nice comments!

    And I really do agree about being alive, and I'll do my best about that!

  • Mikael says:

    The book (in swedish) I trygghetsnarkomanernas land discusses why avoiding everyday risks (such as travelling) is not a good idea for yourself nor for your children.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Mikael,

    Thanks for the tip!

  • Emmi says:

    Wow, I read this & it echo's my own feelings! I'm not at any more risk of dying than anyone else, or at least I don't think I am. I guess being a single Mum to a 2 3/4yr old little girl, who has very little in the way of extended family, my fears are who would she go to if the worst happened? It's ok for people to say stuff like "Dude, you are overreacting. Calm down, bloody hell. Is it you or your wife who has the montly period?" either this chap is childless or really don't care about his kids.

    Reading this & comments I've come to realise I'm normal to fear this but that doesn't make it go away, nor should it.

    At this very moment I'm watching tv on the mummy diaries (it's not exclusive though, dads go through this too – some anyway!) It's inspired me to create a memory box for my little one. Whether I die prematurely or live to a ripe old age, I know this box will contain stuff my daughter will of never realised about me.

    They're a great idea! Every parent should do one.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Emmi,

    Thanks for your comment, and interesting to see that you share my feelings!

    A memory box sounds like a great idea, I really should consider that.

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