Embracing Life

“When you STOP WASTING ENERGY on worry and fear, it’s like removing emotional static from your mind and getting a cable hookup to the rest of the world.  Not only is the picture of your life clearer; YOU HAVE MORE VIEWING OPTIONS.” ~ Karen Salmansohn, instant HAPPY

I’ve always been a bit of a worrier by nature but never to an excessive level.  Lately, though, my worrying has gone into overdrive.  A few years ago, I had a number of health issues that sent me spiraling into an abyss of fear and panic.  Although I’m completely fine today, I sometimes still feel a little shell-shocked.  My worry and fear hover at a heightened level, and everyday life can feel like a hurdle to overcome.  This is partly because I’ve developed irrational fears regarding everything from eating raw sushi to contracting Dengue fever while visiting the Caribbean. I know on an intellectual level that my concerns are inflated, but emotionally, this over-protection mode makes me feel safe.  However, I’ve come to realize that all I’m really protecting myself from is having fun and enjoying my life.

I had gotten to the point of not recognizing myself, and I didn’t like it.  I started thinking, “Where is the adventuresome girl who enjoys new experiences?  Where did she go?”  After all, I’m the same girl who, at the age of 20, left a rural upbringing and small town to spend a semester studying abroad in London as well as traveling around England and Europe; and, I did this while living with a family and studying with students I’d never met.  I’m also the same girl who ate sashimi tuna in an open-air shack with a rooster strutting around the room while on a family trip to a tropical island in the South Pacific.  I fearlessly parasailed on my 35th birthday after sustaining a compound fracture to my right arm complete with plates and screws only a few years earlier.  And, I took on an exhaustive renovation project of mass proportions that included saving a 250 year-old house, cottage, and multiple barns that were on the verge of falling down.  I’m not a stranger to the concept of courage.  So, where did that girl go?

My husband and I had a mini-break planned last week.  A few days before we were to leave, inclement weather caused us to re-think our plans.  We discussed a Caribbean getaway, but I felt worried about Dengue fever as I always consult the CDC website for potential health issues before traveling.  Apparently, this mosquito-born illness can be a problem on some islands at certain times of the year.  I really wanted to go, but I struggled with that old, nagging feeling of worry.  Finally, after much deliberation, I thought, “I’m SO tired of feeling afraid.”  That’s when I decided that the island of Aruba looked too beautiful, and it was a lot warmer there than it was here.  So, I took a leap, and said, “Let’s go!”  We spent several days on this lovely island, and it was a wonderful break from the stress of work and managing a farm in the middle of winter.  The best part, though, was the joy and freedom I felt when I just LET GO.

Here’s the thing:  Fear told me I was vulnerable and weak, and I believed it.  I bought into that feeling, and the more I bought into it, the more I forgot who I was.  But now it was time to remember.  While I’m not completely fearless, I’m determined to persevere.  When I embraced my true self and stopped wasting energy on worry and fear, I had more enthusiasm for my life.  I realized that fear is just an emotional prison we create for ourselves, and the door may be unlocked at anytime.  After all, we hold the key.

 

 

Categories: Travel

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28 Comments »

  1. What you are experiencing is the new found maturity of judgment. Younger versions of ourselves are both foolish and careless. When time becomes more precious and responsibility becomes more urgent, we naturally change and become wiser. That is not fear, but the weight of accumulated experience. You did fly and you went for a vacation on a white, sunny beach. Fear did not win.

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  2. I’m betting many people with like feelings will be inspired by you sharing your experiences on dealing with worry and fear. Many great points you’ve expressed. So happy that you ventured and had a wonderful trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You always amaze me at how brave you are to meet your challenges head-on and then to have the courage to share. Years ago I had convinced myself that it was the worrying that kept me and those I loved safe. Like you, I learned I was only robbing myself of a life well-lived. Bravo!!!

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  4. Yes that’s the right attitude! My husband is always scared of diseases or what he might get in the place he’s visiting at and I always tell him, he needs to stop being afraid or he will never get anywhere 😉

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  5. Very good outlook on how to really get out there and take advantage of everything life has to offer instead of sitting in the shadows and watching someone else do it instead. I popped over to thank you for the follow on my blog, but find I’ve been sucked into this post quite powerfully! A very good introduction!

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  6. Just the thing I needed today! Free-floating anxiety can suck the joy out of life, and your lovely piece reminded me that my nameless fears need to be banished if I am to continue to grow. When our current house was being built, we had plans to go to Puerto Rico, but like you, I thought we had too much going on with that project and work to be able to enjoy ourselves. I was so wrong, because once we were away, we were AWAY! AND, I now am adding Aruba to my “Take Me Away” list.

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    • I am so happy to hear from you! Thank you for reading my post and for your nice comments. You’re exactly right about banishing anxiety in order to continue to grow. I finally internalized that idea a couple of weeks ago. It’s an ongoing process, but I’m more mindful about it now. I think you would enjoy Aruba. The scenery is beautiful, and the people there are lovely.

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  7. When we have gone through a traumatic experience it takes time to recover. I can give an example of when I was in a terrible car accident. My husband was driving and I was the passenger. We were not responsible in any way. Someone rear ended us off a cliff. We were lucky we survived. It took me quite a awhile to get comfortable driving down that highway with my husband. When I heard any screeching breaks I would feel very tense and fearful. I was sitting on the couch watching something on TV one time and their was a loud crashing sound from the program on TV and I almost leapt off the couch. So I think the fears are a reaction to a very scary experience whatever it was. It takes time to recover. You are taking steps to overcome it.

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  8. Good thoughts, Tonya. I think a lot of our fears are a mix of the unknown and overstimulating media. I recently read a post from a world traveler that he was so tired of people telling him to be careful. He always wanted to respond to them to go travel, get out and then you’ll be less scared!! Getting out of our comfort zone is a great way to expand ourselves, mentally, physically and spiritually.

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  9. Kudos to you for embracing your fears and proceeding anyway! One of the most profound books I’ve ever read on fear is called,”Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, by Susan Jeffers. You have exemplified courage; I bet you’ll apply this to other areas as well. Wonderful post!! Cher xo

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