Today's post is brought to you by the Number 8.

I've taken my fair share of risks in life. As a planner (understatement), I try to be as calculated as possible but there have been a few times -- life changing times -- I didn't see it coming...and did it anyway.

The first was 1994. I was a senior in high school, and I wasn't sure what was going to happen that fall. I'd been wait-listed at one college, denied from another, and since I spent the year proving I could shoot Busch pounders, there weren't many other prospects. I got an acceptance letter from a school in North Carolina the third week of June. I do not even remember applying.

So I went. Sight unseen, packed up my bags and drove 500 miles and eight hours South. Culture shocked, utterly displaced, and knowing no one, I started my college career at Elon. Yes, that Elon. The beautiful, top-ranked, well-funded private University I could not get into if I were a high school senior today. You could say that worked out.

Fast forward eight years. I'm living in Winston-Salem and engaged to be married. And just like that, I'm not. I'm packing up my bags, newly single, hauling it to Atlanta, GA -- eight years ago today -- where again, I know no one. On my own, not making nearly enough to live here, but completely empowered by taking charge of my life (and the balls I grew that Fall) I fell in love, got promoted four times, bought my dream house, and got married. This too, you could say worked out.

It's not that there weren't tough times. In fact, those first years after jumping from the buildings, so to speak, were definitely adjustment periods. And there were times I questioned the choices I had made. But in the end, I was willing to chalk it up to "life experience" if it didn't work out, and that is what made all the difference. 

So here we are -- eight years later -- and I'm wondering, what's next? What unseen risk am I going to take that changes my life forever? I'm already losing the weight -- which has oddly been a telltale sign in every previous eight year cycle -- I know it's coming. As is the shift in behavior and perspective. When I went to college, I stopped partying and became responsible. When I moved to Atlanta, I let go and learned to let the real me shine. Most recently, I discovered what's important.

Only with great risk comes great reward. I eagerly anticipate the unknown.

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