I don’t think I’m a brave person.
I’m anxious, I over-analyze and spontaneity is usually reserved for late night Waffle House runs.
I constantly kick myself for living life in fear.
My boyfriend and I were recently talking about how we feel were not “that outdoorsy” or “that adventurous” compared to some of the crazies we see on Instagram. But when I really started to think about it, we are pretty outdoorsy and adventurous compared to a lot of people. I’m shocked when I run into somebody who’s lived in Colorado for a couple years and has never made it up to the mountains. I can’t believe it when someone says they’ve never camped or been to the top of a 14er or snowshoed or skiied.
But then, I have to back myself up.
Fear is nothing to be ashamed of.
Doing something new is freakin’ scary. Especially if its something completely foreign to you. I grew up peeing in the woods and doing 65 mph on glorified planks of wood, but I’m pretty terrified to take my first Uber this weekend* and walking alone in the city at night makes me shake in my boots.
Its easy to stay in our comfort zones. Maybe going out drinking every Friday night and spending the weekend going to the mall and watching Netflix is your comfort zone. Maybe, like me, you’re comfortable going on road trips and primitive camping, but traveling internationally without your folks scares you.
Its okay to be scared. What’s not okay is letting your fear lead you to a life of complacency. There is a big, beautiful world out there just waiting for you. If you let your fear overwhelm you and get in the way of those things you really want, if you let your fear run your life, is that truly living?
Would you rather live life in your comfort zone and die having never really lived at all, or would you rather take a chance, even if you’re scared as hell, and experience life?
Complacency is what scares me the most and its what drives me to conquer my fears.
So, what are you afraid of? What’s stopping you?
I’m not going to ask you what’s the worst that can happen, because dying might be the answer. So, I’m just going to say that we’re all going to die one day and you’re more likely to die in a car, within 5 miles from home, choking on your own spit, etc than you are doing the thing that scares you (unless the thing that scares you is say, free climbing, or motocross, or something just stupidly dangerous; that fear is called survival instinct and you should definitely listen to it.)
Fear isn’t always palpable. Maybe, when you read this you’re telling yourself a story about why you can’t get out and do that thing.
I’m not scared, I’m just not fit enough.
I’m not scared, I just don’t have the time.
I’m not scared, I just don’t think my boy/girlfriend would enjoy doing X.
These stories you’re telling yourself? Deep down, they really are fear. You’re afraid that it will be hard, that you won’t be able to finish that trail. You’re afraid that if you do it, you’ll miss out on the other activities you usually do on the weekends, or your friends will judge you for missing a social obligation. You’re afraid your SO will judge you for wanting to do something new. And that’s okay. The first step in conquering our fear is to name it.
My challenge to you is to identify that one thing that you really want to do, but are scared to. Is it learning to rock climb? Is it camping somewhere without pit toilets? Is it missing a crazy Friday night to wake up early and watch the sunrise? I’m challenging you to face your fear.
Because dying without living, is so much worse than whatever you’re afraid of.
* I wrote the first draft of this post a few weeks ago and, since then, I have successfully Uber-ed and conquered that fear. SEE!? Go for it! To you, my fear might have seemed silly, so maybe yours is too! Give it a shot!