The city is at its rush hour plight. Everyone is out and about, going where they’re supposed to go. You see everything in solar salience—from parrots to canaries, vultures to pigeons, crows to eagles, circling above you in skyscraper altitudes. There they are pandering and advertising, sampling and soliciting, compensating, violating, enduring, hunting. Then you realize something. You’re getting older by the day. You can’t read two pages of a book without getting tired, and your only bff in the last few months has been Jon Snow. Every night you can’t wait to pass out so you can stop feeling sorry for yourself, because you know that all this time you have been wasting your life away. Trapped in a fate of your own design, you have been doing what you don’t want to do each and everyday.
And yet you still do it. Defensive and evasive you circle the drain for the hundredth time just like everybody else. Why?
You know why. You’re afraid of leaving your job. You’re afraid of leaving your house. You’re afraid of leaving your husband, your girlfriend, your friends. You’re afraid to forsake your relatives, mortgage, cars, school, loans, and everything else you don’t necessarily want but just happen to be stuck with for a long time. You argue that this is normal. You pretend that you don’t want power. And you say to yourself that only a handful make it anyway. Why try? Through the years you made yourself believe in the funnel factories of aggregate potential and the virtual rabies of self-doubt. Then somewhere along the way your eyes dimmed and lost its fire. Now, you’re even afraid of leaving your own miserable self.
But then ask yourself: what are you holding on to again?
Perceived risks and neglected opportunities, secondhand knowledge and firsthand misery, these are the nature of modern fears. But wait a minute. This is actually good news. Dying slow used to be a luxury. Today, in the developed world, you are more likely to die in the poison drip of depression rather than in fatal, catastrophic social conditions. That ain’t too bad is it? Unless of course you want a better way.
And there is a better way. Getting intimate with your fears has always been a good thing so long as you learn what it is trying to tell you. Physical fear warns you of physical harm. Emotional fear warns you of oncoming emotional tragedies. You just have to learn to adjust to it. Life has never been about sedating or eradicating risk. The people we herald and idolize are all residents of fear. What you need to do is listen to it. A true examination of your own fears will provide a reality bath, an undiluted self-appraisal that will take you to another level. Because despite what you’ve heard or what you’ve been told, you are not enough.
You have to change, to dare greatly, and to act with courage. You have the human raw materials to succeed and you must forge something stronger than yourself to barrel through. Do not erase the warpaint of your tears. Do not suppress the drumbeats of your heart. Do not wish to delete your past failures because without them, you wouldn’t have access to the wisdom you have today. Smile in the face of your demons. Be happy that you heard its whispers and screams instead of the other way around. Because only when we master our fears will we be able to master our lives.