Yesterday, my friend Jayne Kesler shared something on Facebook that ended with the words, "It's not about being unafraid--it's about being afraid and doing it anyway."
Which explains why my sister-in-law and I went parasailing over the Gulf of Mexico. You did know I'm paralyzingly afraid of water, right?
|Photo by Chris McGuire|
It’s why, although I fear losing people I love more than any other one thing in life, I don't love them any less to protect myself. Why, although being in love is possibly more painful than even childbirth or a toothache, I not only did it when I was 20, I've been doing it over and over ever since. With the same guy, only he's not the same--he changes, and so do I, and what's that all about?
I am afraid, as many of us are, of the horrors of dementia and Alzheimer's, of suffering and making others suffer. Of breaking a hip and falling down stairs and of hitting my head. But I am not going to sit in a chair and wait for it to happen--no matter how hard it is to get out of the chair.
I fear slowness. Writing slow, walking slow, thinking slow, responding slow. But I will still get there—it will just take longer. (My husband fears that I will never drive slow, but that's a different conversation.)
I try to catch the things that happen too fast--grandkids growing up, summertime's swift passage, and lunchtimes with friends. There is sadness in their wake. Wish-I’d-saids, wish-I-hadn’ts, wish I’d gone… But, at the end of the too-short days, there are still the memories of the pleasure.
I recently wrote 152 words in an entire day and I thought of how many days like that it would take to write a 70,000-word book and...oh, holy crap, it would take 461 days. That would be more than a year of the limited number of them I have left, so should I stop because I'm afraid of how many 152-word days are ahead of me? No, I didn’t think so, either.
So far, I don’t have any plans for challenging any particular fears, but I do hope we make some soon—and come out laughing on the other side. I hope you do, too.