To an outsider, some of the decisions I’ve made in life might seem foolhardy. I moved myself and my young son from our comfortable life in rural North Carolina to marry a dashing, tech-savvy philosopher-musician in New Orleans. I gave up a secure job as a teacher to pursue entrepreneurship as a copywriter despite having no experience in the field. Most recently, I convinced my family to part with our worldly goods and move onto a gutted, old sailboat in order to rebuild it and travel around the world.

You know you’ve found the right fella when he agrees to vows written entirely in haiku.

While these might seem like the actions of a flighty flibbertigibbet, each choice was carefully calculated. I’d known the man I married for more than a decade, and I was confident that he would be a loving husband and father based on his gentle temperament and years of patient encouragement. I’d been teaching writing to young people for nearly a decade, and I was confident in my ability to learn the skills of a professional writer. While I know nothing about the nautical life, all of the other calculated risks I’ve taken have made me confident that my family is equipped to figure out a new way of living, too.

So far, every time I’ve gambled on myself I’ve won some prize. In my husband, I’ve gained a loving partner in all my pursuits. In my copywriting business, I’ve gained freedom and a sense of pride in my ability to learn new things. Of course, not every risk ends in a laurel crown, but even when a gamble hasn’t paid off as I’d hoped, I’ve earned an extra portion of wisdom and a few good stories to tell.