Monday, April 27, 2015

Fear Not...

Happy Monday!  I hope you had a nice weekend.  We went to the park yesterday and walked a 3-mile loop (Aiden ran the ENTIRE time, luckily we have long legs and only had to jog here and there) and ended with a trip to the playground.  Aiden likes going down slides, but prefers that I go up with him the first few times, so I did my fair share of climbing and sliding.  At one point, I decided to try a short cut and climb up these discs that were a little wobbly.  Now before my next statement, let me preface that this was a “big kid” playground and it was pretty high (really, it was!).  So I started to climb and when I got to the top, I looked down.  My heart started racing and I was full blown scared.  I quickly, and carefully, climbed back down and kept my feet closer to the ground the rest of the time.  This may (ok, does) classify me as a wimp, but it got me thinking about fear. 

I love Sex and the City and one of my favorite quotes is this:

“When you're young, your whole life is about the pursuit of fun. Then, you grow up and learn to be cautious. You could break a bone or a heart. You look before you leap and sometimes you don't leap at all because there's not always someone there to catch you. And in life, there's no safety net. When did it stop being fun and start being scary?”

As an adult, I’m sure you can relate to this quote.  Thinking about my fear yesterday of a piece of playground equipment…in my younger days I would fearlessly jump off the 10 foot platform at The Beach, I did that bungee swing at Kings Island, I jumped off a 30 foot cliff while white water rafting.  So where did this fear come from?  Life.  Experience.  I now know that climbing can lead to falling, which can lead to an injury.  The same can be said about living life.  As a child I’d walk up to another kid at the playground and ask her to be my friend.  Now I get nervous when I’m around a group of peers who I don’t know. 

Now I’m sure I knew back then that jumping off a cliff could injure me and I certainly knew that kids could be mean and not want to be my friend.  So why wasn’t I afraid then?  I believe one of the big reasons is resilience.  As a child, one day seems so long and you are recovered from a misstep or rejection by dinnertime.  As an adult, we replay those moments over and over and vow to never let it happen again.  We’ve been taught that we should learn from our mistakes, so if I put myself out there and was rejected, why would I keep doing it?  The fear of going through it again takes over.

I used to be completely fearless when it comes to the ocean.  I would run right in with my boogie board, swim out pretty far and not once think about sharks or jellyfish or strong tides.  Now I walk in shuffling my feet, I don’t like to go deeper than the top of my legs and am always looking around for signs of danger.  The fun and enjoyment is definitely not the same and I recognize that.  I don’t want it to be like that, I want to be fearless again.  I will tell myself, what’s the worst that can happen?  Sharks are VERY unlikely, I’m a strong swimmer and I’m pretty sure I’d recover from a jellyfish sting pretty quickly.  But the fear keeps me from relaxing and enjoying something I love.

I know I don’t have the answer to this problem.  I know that by letting go of this fear that life could and probably would be more enjoyable and carefree.  I especially don’t want my children to grow up with this fear, as I want them to experience life with open hearts, eyes and minds.  I hope that by recognizing this fear, I can face it and push past it.  I saw a quote at the gym today that said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”  My life is fairly monotonous right now, so it’s time to step outside that comfort zone.  I don’t know exactly what that means for me yet, so stay tuned to find out.

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