I just got an email that made me think. The question posed was this: “What scares you?”
It was supposed to be a segue into an online article about weird phobias (this is one of those unrelenting email blasts that I previously admitted to sending straight to the trash) but for some reason I looked there today, and the words reached out to me.
What does scare me? I am one of the bravest people I know when it comes to taking a risk, trying something new, or speaking up, good or bad. It’s nothing to boast about, just the way it has always been. Part of my basic wiring.
But I do have fears. Some make me feel helpless, others are crippling.
For example, I am thrilled that one child is about to get a drivers’ license, but I am also terrified that something awful will happen out on the road. I love the fact my youngest is beginning to experience more of what life has to offer, but I am scared that what she finds will not be kind.
I wake up sometimes at night just … scared, worrying about everyone and everything.
Like, I hope I will know the right things to do for a family member who is struggling. And how I want my husband, who is a bit older, to live a long time. How I want to live a long time.
I fret over whether my freelance work will continue so I can live the life I want. And I worry about whether our family will stay close as we embark on our very diverse paths. And on and on.
There is so much to fear in daily life that it’s easy to become paralyzed. People joke about the odds of being hit by a bus, but the fact is that life is precarious, and, yes, changeable without notice. Every day is a feat of navigation.
But, burdened by that much fear, we hardly live. I’m working on trying to face the things I fear, and, if not exactly rationalize them, then at least force them out of such a position of prominence. What scares you?