I ain’t scerred. Well…not REALLY scerred. Apparently I’m also not so concerned with grammar today…so there’s that.
There’s this overwhelming culture of fear going on. Apparently all political candidates, if the opposing parties are to be believed, are going to literally END. THE. WORLD. AS. WE. KNOW. IT. Wow! That’s scary. I guess I’ll be writing myself in on the ballot in November. I kid. Although Madame President has a nice ring to it…
I receive email after email warning me of terrible terrible things that will happen to me IF I do THIS or THAT. Or worse if I DON’T do this or that. And the emails always assure me over and over that THIS IS NOT A JOKE!!! Ummmm…neither is Snopes…you should check it out sometime.
There isn’t much that scares me. Most of the things I read or hear that I should be REALLY concerned about…I just…I just don’t care. I have very little energy for fear. I started thinking about fear as a whole, however, and I realized that I am scared about some things. And likely, some of those fears are putting some concrete limitations around what I’m capable of doing. Which seems really stupid now that I think about it. So in this year of what if I decided to lay out my fears and then figure out which ones were actually doing me more harm than good. Not in any order of importance…obviously…
- McDonald’s Switching to Pepsi. There are no words.
- Sullivan (Sully). We got a puppy in September. I’d had dogs all of my life but I’d never had a puppy. This dog is one of the greatest loves of my life. A couple times recently on my way to work there have been dogs running on one of the county roads I drive. BUSY roads. It scares me to death. What if Sullivan decides to be brave one day, runs away, gets lost, and ends up running along-side SUVs during morning rush hour? Terrifying.
- Girls. I worry about our little girls. There are the worries that all parents share for their children. Here’s my fear…I don’t ever want them to get any ounce of indication that the relationship between us and their other parents isn’t just lovely. That’s the way it should be in an ideal world…and thus that’s the picture we’ve painted. But it is challenging, and hard, and gut wrenching, and sometimes…let’s just say sometimes it ain’t perfect. I want the little girls to feel good about everyone involved and how we all relate to each other. It’s so important to me. But I worry about it. A. LOT.
- I Suck. As I’ve mentioned in past posts I sometimes feel like I suck. At just about everything. And in response to feeling that way I generally actually start to suck. At just about everything. Not anymore though, dear friends, NOT in THE YEAR OF WHAT IF. So this can actually be scratched off the list. Well…maybe I’ll wait to make sure this sticks…
- Health. I don’t want to grow older and lose the ability to move. It makes me nervous!!! This is the reason I can drag myself to the gym even when it is the last place on earth I want to be. I want to FEEL young for as long as I can. Hey…for those who know me…no cracks about my upcoming birthday. 36 is the new 25. Haven’t you heard?!
- Crabby Older Version of Myself. I do NOT want to grow up to be an impatient (see Just. A. Little. Patience), judgmental (see No. More. Mr. Mean. Guy), crabby broad. The potential is there…avoid, avoid, avoid.
- Girls II. I know I said up above that I shared the fears all parents have regarding their children. But I just want so badly for them to grow up well adjusted, happy, confident, open minded, smart, patient, kind, and charitable. With great taste in music. And leaning on the correct side of the political fence. No, I’m kidding about that last one. Kind of.
- Regret. This is a big one. I am scared of regret. Which, if I think about it, throws me into a nasty cycle. Will I someday regret spending energy fearing regret? Yes. Probably. So…moving on…
- And Finally, Failure. So this is where things get dicey…everything above feels relatively normal (are you saying you DON’T worry that McDonald’s will someday stop serving their delicious formula of Diet Coke??? I don’t get it.) but I have a debilitating fear of failure. Let me illustrate this crazy fear of mine by offering a couple examples:
- College – So after four years at a small liberal arts college, while my friends were preparing for graduation, I was politely asked to leave. Apparently four years of drinking, being put on academic probation, and continuing to skip/drop/fail classes, they’d had enough of me. I know. Shocking. I was mortified and being dumped by my school threw me into a tailspin. I tried to go back several times, to different schools, but I was so paralyzed by a fear of failing AGAIN that I just couldn’t finish. Finally I went back to my original school and graduated TEN YEARS (you should see my student loan balances…now THAT is something to be scared about) after I started school. And I’d kill to go back for more and do it better…but still I worry about my ability to succeed.
- Writing – I have wanted to write for a very long time. I’ve longed to do it, yearned to do it, dreamt of doing it. My husband has told me time and time again to just start doing it every day. My friends have suggested I start a blog for quite some time. Not until this year did I have enough nerve to actually do it. And I’m still scared of failing. Every. Day. I’m positive that one day very soon I will receive a polite yet terse note from WordPress saying “thanks but no thanks! Buh. Bye.”
- Motherhood – Not so much anymore, but when I first came into the little girls lives I was so freaked out about becoming an instant Mom that I was a little beside myself. There were tricks, and rules, and well known things that I knew nothing about. I was positive that I was a failure with the little girls and I was positive that everyone around me knew it. It was horrible. Thankfully I’ve come around and realized that I’m pretty okay at this whole Mom thing but I’m pretty sure that for the first year I looked like a deer in headlights.
The problem with being afraid of failure, for me, is that I get stuck. I don’t want to do anything for fear of failing. But I’m pretty sure doing nothing is closer to failure than doing SOMETHING. I mean, what if instead of letting the fear of failure paralyze me, I worked really really hard to succeed?
The thing about these fears of mine is that of the nine listed I have control over five, a teensy bit of control over another three, and absolutely no control over McDonald’s.
Fear drives so many of us to do things or not to do things. We (I) give it so much power. I can’t tell you the number of things I’ve missed out on due to fear of failing (do you hear that regret in my voice?). I don’t want to spend time thinking and/or regretting things I’ve decided not to attempt because I was scared. What if we all decided to stop being afraid and to start just doing the things we really want to do?
TODAY: What if I put my fears aside and really did the things that I am interested in doing? What if instead of thinking of impending failure I focus on possible success?