Risk is part of daily life, and risk tolerance varies. Try something new. Make a change. Feeling vulnerable is so scary. It is.

I saw an ad: The fear is real. Do it anyway. I think of Nachshon jumping into the water as the sea split during our Pesach re-telling. He is my hero. He did not just sit on the side and order everyone else to take action; he jumped in himself. Imagine taking risks with G-d. Selective disregard for certain halachos? I am not referring to mistakes here. I mean intentional disregard. Legal risks. Safety risks. Monetary risks. Relationship risks. What defines a couple as different from a friendship? You’re thinking, “It’s common sense.” Not for everyone.

For me, the worst part of being temporarily unmarried is being prevented from giving of myself fully in all ways. Emotional intimacy – oneness – is the coveted prize. Relationship skills are typically learned in a healthy family household. If not, they can still be learned with the help of professionals and mentors in a normal situation.

I am a team player. When I say something, I do it. Continuously. I was determined recently to stop living in extremes. So I did. If someone displays chronic impatience, leaving others feeling “rushed,” it is time to depart. Friends, remember this: If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. The body keeps the score. Life is lived through connection not commiseration. And so I took the bold step, despite risk involved, of ending unsatisfying relationships honestly and calmly. I am always relentless in my efforts to improve. I have changed the way I think about so many things that changed the way I felt. Disclaimer: This does not work well with betrayal, which requires a special plan in order to heal.

A toxic situation would be one where someone is left feeling held down, small, disregarded, manipulated, or that a connection is conditional. Healthy, mature adults cooperate with each other. With empathy, and armed with social skills, they follow through, progress, and build together and separately. We may take risks in life, but never regarding a loved one. Self-confidence and the confidence of a loved one must be preserved at all costs.

Honesty is the foundation of trust. Selective memory may erode that. If someone does not remember meaningful things like lessons from a shiur in order to incorporate into daily life, or discussions of growth and plans, yet recalls details from decades ago that are non-pertinent to anything currently, it will be difficult to build from that basis. If we do not guard our health properly, that is more than a risk. It is Russian roulette.

Willpower in all areas allows us to live optimally. That means not this one time. All the time. Or at least most of the time. And speaking of time, a clock on wall digitally showed seconds counting. Life goes by so quickly. Every birthday reminds us of that. The gunman in the shul near San Diego reminds us of how precious every moment is and how we just never know.

Gratitude is the bedrock of thriving connection, both with G-d and with others. Sometimes there are things in the way of developing and maintaining long-term thriving relationships. Mental illness is a killer. It destroys lives and families. Those of us who have been in the inner circle of mental illness sufferers know this is no piece of cake. Proper medical interventions are required.

Watch out for those who promise to undergo therapy and do not follow through. That is not a risk; it is as foolish as ignoring physical ailments or illnesses. Things get worse in life, snowballing. It’s nobody’s fault for having an illness, yet not seeking treatment is a fault. I was told of a new support group for those affected by somebody else’s mental illness called “Supportive Souls.” To be sure, there will be times we have taken a chance that was less than fruitful. Life happens. We choose our reactions.

I believe everything happens for a reason. It is up to us to seek out the lesson and apply it. I was determined to forgive something hurtful. I was not sure I could. I set the goal with a timeline and a plan. Today it was lifted from me, much sooner than I thought. I am so grateful both for the ability and my willingness to forgive another and to forgive myself for allowing situations that have damaged me. I restored my confidence, gained clarity, and in line with prevention was able to walk out peacefully without looking back. Going forward, I am fully prepared to take risks both in life and love.

I must admit that I did not heed advice regarding certain business and personal relationship risks, and I aim to be more cautious. Sometimes we may think that just because we think or feel a certain way then others might or should also. They don’t. I have come to understand that each of us perceives things differently and that is okay.

I learned very important life lessons in my 12-Step meeting today. First: Look for the good. Second: Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Next: Learning to determine which things regarding others are my business and which are not. I learned that there is always help and hope, but yes I knew this already. They added: As long as behavior change in action takes place and not just words. I learned that while some things can be learned together as a “we,” other things must be undertaken solo, and the ability to maintain behavioral change cannot be conditional or dependent on anybody else. I learned that another’s relapse is not our problem unless it affects us directly. I learned about potential triggers towards relapse and how crossing a boundary occurs. That is taking a risk unwisely. We must always consider who or what we have to lose when we play with fire. When a breach does occur, how do we make amends? That is a worthwhile risk. Atone, Attune, and Attach. For real.

Friends, please give me this opportunity to take a risk and authentically apologize for causing pain. I am truly sorry. I can only say that I have learned in the past few weeks where I have erred in judgment and understanding, including things I have said. While I never intended to hurt, I acknowledge that I did and wish I knew then what I know now and could reverse it. Some of you will hear from me directly if you will allow me to do so. I have learned more about gratitude and am grateful for those who showed me kindness and love with a generous heart and hand. I recognize now what I couldn’t then. I feel very blessed to be part of such a wonderful and sincere community and remain shocked at the amount of fans I have somehow influenced. Tonight someone called me a hero. I know that I belong, that I am enough, and I am thankful. With a kind word and a smile I will always accept all of you. Remember, you matter.

We are all in this together as we strive to build ourselves, our families, and our communities toward the climb of our full potential, sometimes pushing each other along and sometimes being pushed along. Baruch Hashem!

P.S. This entire script just disappeared in Lalaland. I sat for a moment thinking, no way, it can’t be. Then, without reacting, I pushed the un-do button and here it is. So this morning someone said to me regarding an awareness leading to action change I made, “Well, that is just one time.” It is most definitely not just one time, because all we have is each moment, and I will never stop striving and accomplishing, since in life there is not always an “un-do” button. Some things cannot be undone. Consequences teach us that. We live and learn. Hopefully. I do – the only way I know to live fully and more importantly, fulfilled.

Sarah Shalek (Newcomb), and family/team are NY State Licensed Realtors for over 17 years, serving all areas in the five boroughs and Long Island. They hold several specialty certifications and are members of the Long Island Board of Realtors and the Multiple Listing Service of Queens and Long Island. They make their home in and are proud long-time members of the Kew Gardens Hills community. Sarah can be contacted at 917-459-7549, or by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Coming soon: Your greatestshow.com.