- an unpleasant emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger
- anxious concern
I hate fear. Who doesn’t? What I hate more than fear itself, however, is when I give in to it—in big ways and small ways alike. Fear makes you miss out on some of life’s best offerings.
This post falls in the small column, without a doubt. But, if these words encourage someone to step outside their comfort zone in even the smallest of ways, it’s worth the space.
My previous post (A Worthy Labor of Love) spoke about apprehension, which to me is a not-too-distant cousin of fear. If you read that post, I was apprehensive of the prospect of tackling travel with bikes, biking equipment and a kiddo, sans husband. A Worthy Labor of Love spoke of following through with my intentions and our (J-man and my) success in our endeavors.
This post is not much different, except my emotion on occasion this week was fear. I was afraid of traveling to new and unknown areas and trying new trails with my son. I was fearful to tackle a solo backroad ride. After all, my dear mother reminded me—it’s desolate and backwoods out there. There’s safety in numbers and over the years I’ve come to rely greatly on my husband to act as buffer between our family and the evils that lurk outside our pedestrian lives. Truly, if it doesn’t happen in a 25-square mile radius, I most likely don’t do it. I’ve become complacent in my old age. Always the adventurer, time and circumstance have tempered my adventurous spirit. I’ve spoken before about my inherent wanderlust—something that has followed me, and at times downright plagued me, throughout my five-plus decades on this earth. One thing I’ve come to know is that wanderlust is like bread dough, if you let it sit for too long it runs out of gas and will cease to rise, but I digress.
This post is about taking chances and experiencing the best life has to offer in a given moment. I’m so thankful J-man told me he wanted to ride a new trail on our second day out. Had he not, I most likely would’ve returned to the one from the day before—one that I have ridden hundreds of times in my lifetime. At his urging, however, I stepped out of complacently and squarely into adventure. Accessing the trailhead, as it was not well detailed on websites, gave me pause at the onset of planning the ride. Additionally, riders commented about climbs, bumpy trails and ambiguous trail closures due to construction. Further in the comment thread, I read the first-hand account of someone who witness and reported drug dealing activities at a skatepark across the street from the trailhead. I was beyond nervous; I was fearful. I was fearful of putting myself and my son in harm’s way. But, as is sometimes the case, too much research and thought can wreak havoc on joy. I bit the bullet and took a chance. Boy, am I glad we did. It was hands down the nicest gravel trail I’ve ever ridden in my entire life. The flow was easy and the pastoral views were spectacular. It was exactly what my soul desperately needed. J-man said it was the best ride ever. And trust me, hyperbole eludes him so it must’ve been a great ride.
Fear manipulates us in many areas of our lives. Fear invokes complacency and keeps us from living the life we want (or perhaps more deeply—the life we are meant to live). We become comfortable–in relationships, jobs, life in general. We become afraid to step out and pursue things that bring us joy. We avoid risk at the sake of losing our security. We diminish our abilities and capabilities, and ultimately are less honest to our own selves. We settle.
Don’t let fear manipulate you. Embrace the moment. Jump into life with both feet. Enjoy it! This is not a dress rehearsal. You have one chance to make the most of your time on this earth, dear reader. Make certain you do just that. Make it the best ride ever!
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. ~Dale Carnegie