Fear & What It Means to Live


“Forever is composed of nows.” - Emily Dickinson

Fear is a funny thing. It can be startling, appearing as if from nowhere, telling you to run, to hide, to wait. 

It can be slow-growing. You don’t always notice it at first. Strangely enough, fear often begins with a dream.

It begins with knowing what you want out of life. An “eventually” which you plan for, eagerly anticipate, and count down to.

You don’t feel afraid. You don’t know you are.

Until it’s not eventually anymore. All of a sudden, it’s become now or never, and you stand before everything you’ve ever wanted completely paralyzed.

You see, the job of fear is to keep you safe. To protect you from harm, a fire alarm in your head warning you before you do something stupid to jeopardize your own safety, be it physical, emotional, or otherwise.

The thing about life, though, is that it demands risk. In order to achieve anything worthwhile, you have to risk losing it.

You have to risk failing.

Falling on your face, often publicly. Being rejected by someone you’ve spent years only dreaming of. Proving right all of the people who told you you’d never amount to anything.

And that’s terrifying – I’ll give it to you. 

As a dreamer, it’s easier to stay within the confines of your mind. You control the narrative. You get the happy ending, and the job, and you stick it to everyone who dared to tell you you couldn’t.

It is safer to never have tried at all than to try and fail.

But it is not better.

Your life is comprised of the choices that you make. Forever is composed of nows. Who are you, if not made up by the moments and choices you make everyday?

Who do you want to be?

You can’t choose to always succeed, to never get burned, or to get everything you want.

You can play it safe and still face the unpredictability of life and the inescapable limitations of simply being human.

External circumstances are beyond individual control. It’s not all up to you, and the sooner we accept this, the better.

You may not get to decide what you are in life – but you absolutely get to decide who you are.

I hope you choose to be brave. 

I hope you decide to fight for what you want.

I hope you refuse to settle for a mediocre life and challenge yourself to be great in all things.

Not for reward of acknowledgement or boasting, but to live a life worthy of who you were made to be.

I don’t subscribe to the idea that your only purpose in life is to “be your best self”, at least not in the way I think the phrase is often used.

But I do find it hard to believe that you could fulfill your purpose without doing so.

Your life. Your choice.

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