The dictionary defines “fearless” as: Brave, courageous, bold, adventurous. The opposite of fearless is, well “fear” – worry, doubt, anxiety and apprehension.
When I was eight, I spent the night at my grandma’s farmhouse. She lived in the middle of a 100-acre hay field, with creaky doors and tall seven-foot windows from floor to ceiling. The light switch was a dangling light bulb hanging from a six feet cord over the bed; the kind you have to stand in-the-center of the mattress and search for, in mid-air.
At bedtime, during a huge electrical storm, I tried walking bravely to my room, but lightening struck and so did my fear, right into my throat. I leapt from the door to the bed in two jumps. Lying there, I noticed what appeared to be something large at the foot of my bed. I stared it down. It just kept looking at me. I didn’t move. It didn’t move. Finally, I flew under the covers, hiding, where I remained for half an hour, sweating as I pondered its presence. I peeked over the blanket and to my dismay, it was still there. The audacity! I couldn’t scream, I couldn’t move. I was being held prisoner by the unknown.
When I could no longer take the fear (or the hot blanket for that matter), my courage rose and I jumped straight into the air, grabbing for the dangling light bulb overhead, prepared to fight for my life. The bulb swung this way and that, before I wrestled it down and pulled the cord. To my amazement, I was being held captive by a trench coat and hat someone had hung on the bed post.
We imagine the worst in life: watch CNN and the economy is taking a nose dive, terrorism is in our backdoor and our country’s debt is spiraling out of control. Will our kids go to college, how will we pay the bills, should I take another job, downsize my home?
We form ideas based on fear, creating self-fulfilling prophecies that life is not going to turn out like we thought. Maybe it’s not.
Suze Orman, in her book: The Money Class said it best: “Perhaps the American dream as we knew it, is dead. It’s time to take the dream back into our hands and reshape it.” Maybe we need a new dream. Who said it needs to be a family of 4 with 2.3 kids, a 9-5 job, with a two-hour commute and a white picket fence?
How awesome would it be to live life outside of the box? If instead of being scared, living on the cusp of what ifs, you channeled fear into something positive and started your own business, telecommuted to work, changed jobs, downsized your home, created a blog, wrote down your bucket list and began conquering it? Fostered kids, adopted more, climbed Kilimanjaro, took a missions trip, built homes in Haiti with Compassion.com, helped with clean-water initiatives in Africa, with 410Bridge.com and changed the world!
Shake it up a bit and live a life worthy of the calling, a life you can truly look back on and say: You lived it. You grabbed fear by the horns and wrestled that trench coat to the ground with light bulbs swinging.
Here’s to the living the best version of you!
Stephanie Pletka is the creator of the blog Spit-up & Heels and is also a columnist for NorthFulton.com. She lives in Alpharetta, GA with her husband John and four children, Jack, Will, Andrew and Ava.