Plinky.com asked me to describe a moment in my life when it was better to be safe than sorry.
And I couldn't think of one.
And I knew I'd answered this question before:
This addiction to blame and remorse… Where does it come from? Why do so many cling to it?
Ah well, here we go again.
For me, this idea that there's a conscious weighing up of all relevant facts to make a rational decision to act or avoid just… well… It ain't me. I've always listened to my instinct, my intuition, that little voice that just seems to have the answer, or the warning.
So, in most situations, that intuition is doing the heavy lifting of deciding "how safe" vs. "how sorry" and I just end up taking the route it ends up suggesting.
Life isn't determined; a multitude of possibilities open up from even a single breath. I can only exist in my current reality.
If I didn't do something, the risk never played out – and I don't know whether I would have been "un-safe". Similarly, when I chose to act, I survived so, by definition, am "safe" – I can't be "sorry".
Sorry (pun intended), but "safe" and "sorry" cannot be judged before or during the act – they are rear-view assessments, ripe with confirmation bias and narrative-scripting. The mythology that they can be pulled into fore-sight is one of the great human fallacies (read 'The Black Swan' to understand more of that).
So, better to be safe or sorry?
Or, better to be alive to possibility and true to yourself? Yes, I like that much better.
Am I sorry for anything? Of course. The times I've not paid attention to people I love, the times my own introspection has caused me to ignore, or even lash out. And, having been a corporate ant for two decades, I'm deeply sorry that I didn't step into my full artistic potential earlier; I lost years.
Why did I stick with the world of work? Well… It was the safe option. The right call at that time – and, per the above, that's the reality in which I existed. I can't be overly remorseful or blame the younger me – my choices were mine and, seeing as how I'm not dead or seriously injured, have a wonderful family and life, they have to be the right ones.
Am I safe? No, of course not. Every time I drive my car, I put myself at greater levels of risk than my natural physiology was built to protect against (mostly sabre-toothed tigers).
Safe is a relative term. And over-emphasized in our modern society.
When I discount the things we (or, more accurately, the media and marketing heads) call deadly risk – not paying a mortgage or, horror of horrors, being unable to afford a new iPhone! – I'm safe. I have my sanity, my health, my family, music and writing. I have professional capabilities and a network that lets me run my own business successfully.
There are very few sabre-toothed tigers in my neighbourhood. I'm safe. And even if I were to be threatened, I'd deal with it and make the appropriate choice.
I'd only be sorry if I chose not to live out my potential to its full. Like I said: Better to be alive to possibility and true to yourself.