When the clock strikes midnight tonight, 2016 will be no more. A brand-spanking-new, fresh-out-of-the-box, as-yet-untouched 2017 will take its place. Goodness, how time flies. It’s amazing how much can change in a year. Some of it good, some of it bad, and some of it just ugly. This past year has been a year of great change for me. More so, I believe, than any other year I have known thus far. Aside from the heartbreak of losing my mother, there have been some dramatic changes in my life. Most of them for the better, I do believe.
For example, I overcame my lifelong fear of driving and got my very own driver’s license. I am quite proud of that accomplishment. I know that it doesn’t seem like a big deal to most, but for someone who didn’t think she would ever get her license, it is a major big deal. A few smaller but still significant firsts followed. Like my first rental car, my first time traveling alone, and even my first Greyhound trip. This past year I finally found my own personal sense of style, I found the confidence I’ve always lacked, and I even found my very first boyfriend. Well, not boyfriend exactly – I guess you could call him my friend who kisses me occasionally. In short, I think I’ve finally started to grow up. Wow. I guess this really has been a year of great change.
And next year holds the promise of even more change. Hopefully for the better. I have only just begun to find myself and the more I discover, the more I realize how much more there is to discover. Both about myself and about this crazy thing we call life. I have every intention of continuing to grow and learn and experience new things on this amazing journey. I hope that this year will hold many more wonderful firsts – both for myself and for you. To another year of great change!
I am currently contemplating and making plans for the biggest change I’ve ever made in my quarter century of living. Gosh, when I say it that way, I feel old. Anyway, this change has got me a little bit scared, I have to say. I never did anything like this before. Turning my world upside-down – I think I’m allowed to be a wee bit nervous. Maybe a little more than a wee bit, but hey, who’s keeping score? Every big change brings a measure of fear with it. Human nature, I guess. I don’t know why change frightens us the way it does. I suppose because we never know if life will be as good as it was before.
But then again, maybe it will be so much better. Who knows? I sure don’t. Which is why I’m not just scared, I’m excited too. I’m trying to let the excitement override the fear at this point. So far, it’s working. If I don’t stop and think too much. Story of my life right? Don’t overthink it and everything will work out fine. I’ve never been very good at trusting my gut. Some months back, I wrote about home. Wondering “What Is Home?” and trying to figure out why I am so restless sometimes. I took my own advice and let it simmer on the back burner for a while. And I think it worked.
I now know where I need to be and what I need to do. I do not have the whole picture by a long shot, but I have the first few pieces of the puzzle figured out. When the time comes to put those pieces into place, my world will shift drastically. I believe that I am finally ready for that. My world has been so topsy-turvy this past year, I now know that I can handle change. And change of my own making will be a welcome change of pace. (Pardon my pun.) Everything that has transpired over the past 2 or 3 years has been leading me to this point. And I am finally ready to take my world into my own hands. It’s awfully scary, but at the same time exhilarating.
Fear is a funny thing. It seldom makes sense. It certainly isn’t the strongest emotion we feel. I like to think of it as our most persuasive emotion. While others are stronger, fear sure is the best at convincing us that we are completely in his power. Sometimes the things we are afraid of are real and actual threats; sometimes there is no reason to be afraid. Yet fear so often holds our soul captive and we feel powerless to act. Overcoming fear, especially irrational fear, is one of the biggest challenges we face in life. And yet, if we want to live our lives to the full, it is something we must do.
Most people perceive me as one of the bravest and toughest people they know. What they don’t see is the inner struggle. I have wrestled with deep, almost paralyzing fear since I was – well I don’t know since when. As long as I can remember I guess. Unfounded, irrational fear. Overcoming fear is a familiar feeling for me. And yet, perhaps that is true courage. To look fear in the eyes and to still keep on doing what needs to be done. Not the absence of fear, but the defeat of fear. Or maybe that’s just the coward in me talking, trying to make me feel better. I don’t know.
There are 3 things that are stronger than fear. Three ways of overcoming fear. The first is anger. This is the easiest way, but it is also temporary. Unless it is possible to always be angry, but I don’t think it is – nor is it advisable. I have plenty of experience with using anger to beat fear. It is good in extreme situations, but will never be a permanent solution. Another way of combating fear is through willpower. For strong-willed people like me, this is a good option. Or at least, it has served me well for years. I also have a contrary streak, which probably doesn’t hurt. It’s like daring myself to do the things I’m afraid of. Every day, I push the limits of my fear, making my comfort zone ever bigger. But the best and strongest adversary in the war against fear is oh so simple: love. When we love deep and pure, fear dissipates like smoke in the wind. And suddenly, overcoming fear is an anthill instead of Mt. Everest. It is a beautiful, amazing, incredible experience.