I was a very fearful and shy child. Painfully so. I know many won’t believe that, but my mother will back it up. I was introverted and books were my companions. They helped shape my understanding of the world and helped feed the fires of fear with information.
As a child, I was terrified of sharks, quicksand, undertows, rattlesnakes, and Communists. The former fear was fed by Sister Urban in second grade who convinced me the Communists were coming to lock up all the priests and nuns, causing me to run home every day and lock the doors, just in case.
Books saved me, and access to the Internet would have done me in! My mother made sure we were at the library on a regular basis and luckily as I aged out of the children’s department in fourth grade we moved to a community with a very liberal policy of letting me check out adult novels! And I could walk there by myself if my book supply was running low!
As I grew older fears and dangers shifted shapes, and shyness was beginning to be burned out of my by wonderful teachers that included Sr. Nancy Murray in high school and Mr. Marinello in college, and by becoming a teacher myself.
As a parent fears changed again, focused on the children. But I also had to face my fears of being a single parent, twice. After 37 years of parenting, my fears to turned to my own life. What was my purpose? Where was I going? Can I afford my dreams? Can I afford not to pursue my dreams?
I know how to escape an undertow, a shark attack and what to do about a rattlesnake bite–I no longer have to suck out the venom and spit it out, THANK GOD. I have a coat with a radio signal in case of an avalanche–for real–and now monitor avalanche warnings before skiing or snowshoeing in the mountains.
Different phases of life, different fears, different dangers. Learning the difference between fear and danger helps. Information helps. Friends help. Family supports.
I know that as I age the fears and dangers will be related to health and finances. Will I fall and get hurt? What if I get sick? Will my finances hold out for a long life?
I’ve faced a lot of fears over the past year, and some danger, and it’s far from over. Fears expand in relation to growth. Now I fear not trusting my instincts. Not pursuing dreams. Not dreaming. I fear I will retreat to safety. I fear I will not make the most of my “wild and precious life.”