Shushing down a hill while facing near whiteout conditions while watching children unreservedly slip and slide over rails forward and backward gave me pause to consider the power of fear.
Fear of catching an edge and smashing into, and then down, the hill might have given me the impetus to buy a helmet, but it didn’t stop me from buying a lift ticket. Physical injury seems like an acceptable risk.
What seems much more difficult to overcome is emotional and mental risk. Too often we are cowed in our everyday lives by fear. Fear that the manuscripts you’ve slaved over will be rejected. Fear that the pretty girl you want to talk to will laugh in your face. Fear that taking a career risk will lead to unemployment. How often can we look back and say that we were afraid to take a step that might have led to something better. How often can we look back and see that not giving into fear led to something better.
I remember in high school, I had a chance to do a co-op placement at a pretty big magazine, but chose instead to take a lesser posting because I was afraid of disappointing the teacher who set up the “better” one. I let fear ruin a great opportunity and sabotage my dreams of being a journalist.
Let it be known, fear does not rule my life, nor did it create a multitude of regrets. I did fly to Japan with no Japanese knowledge, no money, and no idea if I actually had a job. That was scary, but I got on the plane. I persevered even when visa issues made the job look less likely. I persevered when my horrible roommate threatened to ruin an entire country for me. Fear has had its victories, but so have I. And more importantly, I will again.
I don’t think I am saying anything new. Instead, I want to reaffirm my plans to overcome fear when I face it, to leap into unknown things. To try and do, rather than to worry about doing. I will write then edit, not the other way around. I will improve rather than worry if it is good enough. I will act rather than react.
I guess we will call this one of my New Year’s Resolutions–only about a month later than tradition would seem to dictate.