Fuck Everything And Run
At the beginning of this year, I left a comment on a Facebook post that Andrea had where I said something like, “….everything we’ve every wanted is on the other side of fear.” A friend of mine (whom I am adopting as a writing muse) reached out and said, You should really write more about that.” It’s taken a few weeks, but I’m finally doing just that. During the weeks that have passed, I’ve given a lot of thought to fear and I’ve watched it take hold of someone and paralyze them. Emotional paralysis does not come without risk - - you can lose friends, opportunities, experiences. Your world is closed up tight. Small. Dark. Lonely.
I don’t say this with judgment - more like disbelief. I’ve never seen anyone reach a goal without first overcoming their fear. Have I ever been fearful? Yes. Let’s review a few nervous poop inducing choices I’ve made over the years….
Enlisting in the Army at the age of 17;
Pursuing my associates, bachelor and masters degrees in a non-traditional manner (nights and weekends);
Telling Andrea that I thought she was the bomb and that I thought we’d be good together (she tried to reject me, out of fear, but I wasn’t having any of that after I’d worked up all that nerve. This is not how the story’s gonna go. And, as it turns out, we are great together).
Signed up for (and successfully completed) 2 half marathons;
Decided to train for a sprint triathlon.
Applying for any job.
So as I watch fear cripple this person, I realize that I shouldn’t really be surprised because overall, this person plays it safe. They settle. Because striving for more? Well, that’s scary and hard and requires we show up and put in the effort. Andrea reminded me of how this individual bought a bike this summer and they really only road it on bike trails. Don’t get me wrong, we have some lovely bike trails in Massachusetts but take that bike on the open road! There is so much to see, to experience, by paving our own way. There are hills to climb. A friend of mine, who’s a total bad ass, often rides her bike to and from work. This past year, she got hit while riding her bike home from work (she was ok but her poor bike did not fare as well). I never heard her say, “I shouldn’t have ridden my bike to work.” Or, “Well I certainly won’t be riding my bike anywhere but on a trail anymore.” Facing fear doesn’t mean you’re oblivious of the risks. It means you take the risks into consideration and proceed. For some people, it means taking the risks into consideration and deciding, “Eh…no thanks.”
Don’t get me wrong. We need a healthy dose of fear in our lives so we don’t put ourselves in dangerous situations and potentially suffer the consequences of poor decision making. But fear can also be a liar. So when it shows up in our lives, we should take moment to evaluate it. Is it “FEAR”? False evidence appearing real. Or are we acting in FEAR? Fuck everything and run.
Today the New England Patriots are playing in the AFC championship, again. And the pre-game hype is on as I type this and I thought to myself, "Imagine if Tom Brady never tried out for football in his life because he was afraid he wouldn't make the team?" I know. Sounds absurd to me too. No one's expecting Tom Brady level from us. But show up. Try your best. If it doesn't work, try again.
How has fear been holding you back?