October 31st: Fear
Ha, I just realized this is a perfect topic for Halloween! Fear! But, as I stood brushing my teeth a few minutes ago, wondering what I was supposed to write about today, and the word “Fear” popped into my head, it wasn’t the monsters-lurking-under-the-bed type of fear that was calling to me. It was more the “Oh my God, what am I even doing?!” type.
You see, even earlier this morning, I booked two round trip flights from SFO to Boston Logan for my daughter and I, for March, to go look at possible places in Maine…or possibly New Hampshire…where we might want to live when we move next year.
I think what this did was, it made it a little more real for me. It’s one thing to daydream about something in a far-off, someday kinda way. To talk about it, say it like you mean it, picture it in your head. It’s another thing entirely to take steps towards that idea becoming a reality. And that is what I am doing- not just making plans but following through.
Now suddenly…I am kind of freaking out. Here are some things that popped into my head after hitting the “complete your flight reservation” button.
“What if there is a snowstorm and I’m too scared to drive?”
“What if I hit black ice and kill both of us?”
“What if it turns out that I HATE the cold?”
“What if I run out of money?”
“What if…what if I am making the worst mistake of my WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE?!”
You see how that snowballed? (no pun intended, but absolutely delighted by it anyway)
So, here’s what I have to say to myself: If there is a snowstorm, you don’t have to drive. You’ll make alternate plans. You can’t control black ice, but you can drive slowly and when it’s light out, and you will be cautious. If you hate the cold, guess what? No one is forcing you to do ANYTHING. You are allowed to change your mind. You will not run out of money. And the worst mistake of your life? Seriously? Have you forgotten where you came from? Settle down.
It’s normal to be afraid when you are making big, or sometimes even small, changes in your life. There are no guarantees that things will work out the way you want them to. I know this. I also know that sticking with the tried and true, while safer, isn’t the way I envision living my life. Knowing this, it will be necessary to accept that I will have moments of self-doubt and fear. And that’s okay. I will press on anyway.
Today, I hope that if you are being called to take a leap of faith, but you are allowing fear to stop you, you can start to see that your fear is not a red light, but a yellow one- at most. Fear asks us to slow down and pay attention. In most cases, it doesn’t mean to stop completely, to give up, to turn around. Fear is a helper, if you let it be. Rather than run away from it, see if you can acknowledge it, hear what it has to say, and if there is space for both your aspirations and a healthy dose of caution. Just make sure fear isn’t hogging up more room than it should. It likes to spread out when you don’t keep an eye on it.