Monday, November 19, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 19 - Overcoming Fear

Note: Today is day 19 in my series "30 Days of Thankful."

But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,

Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker, 
And in short, I was afraid.
-T.S. Eliot - "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

T.S. Eliot is probably my favorite poet of all time. And that poem is my absolute favorite poem of all time. If you haven't read the whole poem, it basically talks about being insecure, afraid, and letting your fears get the best of you.

A lot of my life up until recently has been ruled by fear. Fear of being alone. Fear of taking risks. Fear of failure. Fear of disappointing other people. Fear of disappointing myself. But in this new world I'm living in, I've some to realize that there's something empowering about overcoming fear.

Life as of late has been all about overcoming fears. I haven't lived alone in 4 years, so that was pretty scary at first. Although the person I lived with previously traveled for work all the time and left me home by myself and I travel and stay by myself more often than I'd like to even think about, the first night alone in my new home was rough. My cats and I huddled together, jumping every time we heard the tiniest noise. Which is kind of ridiculous. I live in a safe neighborhood. And to be honest, the house I'm renting up is kind of busted up, so if anyone is going to rob anything, it's not going to be my place. Plus, I'm across the street from a high school stadium, so cops tend to patrol the area nonstop. I don't need another person to make me feel safe. I'm in control of how I feel.

I haven't been single in about 12 years, and that was - and still is - a little scary at times. But it's not the end of the world. Despite what I've told myself for years and years, I am perfectly ok on my own. Sure, it gets lonely sometimes, but I don't need someone in my life to make me happy. I have great friends, an even better family, and spending time alone isn't quite as bad as I expected it to be. Check that off the "fear" list.

Another huge fear of mine is swimming. Silly, I know. But my ex's parents had a boat that was spent a lot of time on and being on the water really made me more than a little panic stricken. I tried to keep my cool about it, was tough. I'm "over" missing out on summertime fun, so I signed myself up for swim lessons starting next week. I hope to add this to my ever increasing list of things that I used to be afraid of that I've overcome.

Life is really too short to be ruled my fear. Take a risk. Try something new. The worst thing that will happen is that you don't like what you're doing. I know that I plan on really focusing on addressing the fears in my life going forward and doing my best to try and get past them. Because it's a lot more fun to take a risk and fail than sit in your house and be afraid.

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