Life in 2020 has been… a lot. I’ve had to look at death. Like, literally Bird Box style. My eyes were forced open to the realization of mortality; something I never really had a place for in my life up until this point. I’ve been busy caring for both of my dogs; one had surgery and the other immense anxiety over his buddy having surgery. It’s been consuming so much of my time and energy. I turned 26, which – has brought on its own set of feelings. Something that surprises me though is the amount of age shaming I’ve received. I’m getting a lot of “you’re still so young, wait until you’re *insert some older age*”. At what point is it okay to feel some type of way about your age? That’s like telling a child they can’t possibly feel stress. We all feel things in different capacities at different times in different seasons. Let me process 26.
Especially, because it has brought on an emotion that I’m not all that familiar with. Fear.
I’ve always been bold and fearless and not one to really think about how things could actually turn out. I got my belly button pierced at 14 with no second thought. I’ve allowed strangers to tattoo my body with no second thought. I’ve flown across the country several times by myself with no second thought. I married my best friend at 21 with no second thought. Bought a house at 19. Moved to another state at 18. I write really raw thoughts for 47 countries to read with no real proofreading process, or second thought. When I think about how many risks I’ve taken in my short adult life, I’ve concluded that I’m pretty brave. So why, all the sudden do I feel so much fear?
Quick story- there was one time in my life that I felt paralyzing fear. I was about 16 or 17 at a summer camp. It was your typical summer camp, lake included. On the lake was a blob. You know, those big inflatable things that someone tiny sits on the end of and someone not-so-tiny jumps onto – sending the tiny one a million feet up into the air, crashing into the water? Ya… that.
The younger me went on this damn blob with pride. I used to love being the tiny one that would get to be one the edge of the blob. But this particular summer at camp was different. It no longer felt fun to me, it felt absolutely terrifying. Towards the middle of the week there was a big lake competition with all of these different water activities; best sand castle, most creative synchronized swimming routine, highest blob………..
I got picked to compete for highest blob. Fast forward to me being on the platform getting ready to jump down onto the blob to be blobbed, and I was paralyzed with fear. I couldn’t make my feet move. The entire camp was watching. Literally. When I tried to back out, someone suggested that the entire camp should cheer for me. This just made me feel more afraid and now embarrassed for being afraid. I was so afraid of how it was going to feel being propelled up into the air and smacking into the water – something I’ve ALREADY experienced dozens of times before, that I said no. I backed out. Gave up. Missed out. Fear has a way of backing you into a dark corner and then leaving you there by yourself. Kind of like when I was playing hide & seek with my brothers as a child; they would have me hide somewhere in the dark by myself and then go play something else. Leaving me for what felt like forever, thinking that I’m still participating in a game with them. Here’s the thing- you’re not participating in the game anymore when you’ve let fear be the one that plays seek while you hide. Rule no. 1: always be seeker.
You literally can’t wait until it feels less scary. As you age, I’m now finding out, things only appear more scary. You have more stories and experiences under your belt that make you feel more cautious or afraid. You don’t want things to turn out like it did for so & so, so you don’t do anything at all. Or you felt the sting of the water before and remember it feeling really painful and scary… so you skip out on possibly having that experience again. It’s never going to be the right time and you’re never guaranteed a perfect outcome, but I dare you to try anyway.
I dare you to not wait until it feels right. The world is broken because the majority of us are not being who we’re called to be. Because we’re afraid to do the things that would force us to be who we’re called to be.
We need to eliminate the friction of fear. Replace fear with a motivator. My fear of living a mediocre life has to be bigger than my fear of getting blobbed, you know what I’m saying? And right now, at 26 I’ve let the mediocre be the only thing that feels okay enough to do.
A life skill I’ve acquired – when you’re feeling down or unmotivated, think back to the last time you felt like your best self… what were you doing? What qualities of that version of you are you missing right now?
When I think back to the very last time I felt on top of the world, like I was my very best self… I, in all honesty, think back to a few months ago on the night I taught my first bootcamp class & then went and recorded my first podcast with Lindsey (Pretty Powerful Podcast). BOTH of these things were enough to riddle me with anxiety and fear. Both forced me out of my comfort zone. Both put me in front of a judging audience. Both forced me to show up in the moment. I had to be brave and I had to be my authentic self, or else it would show. Not only was I doing something scary when I felt on top of the world, but I was giving. I put my entire heart, soul, energy, body, blood, sweat, tears, etc. etc. into my classes. I give it everything I’ve got. I give the people that show up something to show up for and I don’t let them leave feeling anything short of better than when they walked in. The podcast, was adding value. I added value to Lindsey, Lindsey added value to me and together we (hopefully) added value to the listeners. Everyone wins. Life needs to be more of those ‘everyone wins’ scenarios. Because you know who wins when you’re afraid? Fear. You know who wins when you choose to hold off on something? Fear. When you don’t show the parts of you that you think you’ll be judged for? Fear. You know who loses in these situations…every time? You.
I dare you to think back to the last time you felt like you had life by the balls. I bet you were doing something really, really brave. I double dog dare you to recreate that. The only thing scarier than the death I’ve had to think about, the hiccups in life that suck our time, turning 26… is living a life that fell short of what it could have been. That… is terrifying.