Fearless

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I watched Insidious (Chapter 1) today and I felt very proud of myself. One of my biggest fears is that unknown depth that could or could not come from death. It’s almost ironic to be afraid of dying, because I find myself preoccupied with my “second life” before I’ve even given myself the chance to live the first! Or maybe there isn’t a second one at all? Death is a mystery that I am not excited to solve.

But to fear it is something else entirely. I’ve been working on this fear over the past year because I know I want to live my life to the fullest from beginning to end, no matter what that end may be. The mere thought tends to make my mind race and my heart overload, but I’ve finally gotten to the point where watching a scary movie about that very thing (sort of — no spoilers here I promise), makes me feel excited, not terrified.

Excited, because I am reminding myself that it’s just a movie for sheer entertainment, and boy was I entertained.

I have a few fears: thanatophobia (the fear of death) and arachnophobia. But I think fears can make us healthy, if we learn how to deal with them. I have a theory that those who claim to have no fears are actually afraid of their own fearlessness. Fear can remind us to live, because moments are precious. Fear can remind us that we are living. The statement of being “Scared to death” is ironic to me, since I feel that being frightened usually makes one feel very alive — once all is said and done, and you realize you’re completely fine.

Or maybe you’re not completely fine, but you know you will be, or can be. There is an upside to fear, so I have decided not to eradicate mine completely, but to face it from time to time and remind myself that I’m still living.

 

And so, with a very, very cautious (and yes — slightly fearful) heart, I add on to my 30 before 30 list:

20. Face my arachnophobia.

I obviously can’t just go out and face my fear of death, unless I see a classic game of Russian roulette in my future. (Which trust me, I definitely don’t!) But I can start with the other one. I haven’t decided how I will face my fear of spiders, but all I know is one day, I want to be able to say, I confronted a spider and I was not afraid, and mostly importantly — I’m still living!

Expectations vs. Reality

I had my own 500 Days of Summer moment yesterday and the results were shocking, in the best way possible. If you’re not familiar with the movie, it brilliantly describes love by comparing our own naive and sometimes outlandish expectations with what really occurs. It talks about how we ignore the bad so that we can tell ourselves something is only good.large_500_days_of_summer_blu-ray11

I had one of these moments so hardcore. After years of waiting for that certain someone to finally commit to me, only to find out that he has moved on to someone new (and so quickly!), I decided to do what any sane human would do, and I deleted all of my digital memories of him. Photos on Instagram? Gone. Photo albums on Facebook? Also gone. Deleted from my G Chat, perfect. I remembered how many conversations we had via Facebook messages (over 1,000 messages once I actually went to check them), and before deleting them all, I decided to read them. I expected to see bittersweet memories of what I could have had, if I had only tried harder! Loved harder!

But what I expected was much different than the reality.

What I actually found was conversation after conversation where I put myself on a limb only to be rejected. I found so many times when he passed me over to do something else with his friends. I even found her name — the one he is with now. I feel so dumb for not realizing earlier that I never had him. Even back then, I had already lost him to what he truly wanted.

I thought this realization would make me sad, but it didn’t. After the dumb feeling wore off, this realization enlightened me. It taught me a new lesson. It reminded me that I don’t need to grieve for something I never truly had from the beginning. It reminded me that I didn’t need to feel that I had screwed up or I had prevented something great from happening. Great things and great loves will happen to me. I just have to remind myself to look for the real people who care for me, and not expect it from the fake people who don’t.

At the end of the day, a reality check isn’t such a bad thing. We are given them on a daily basis and they usually end up making us feel like we have egg on our face. I say let those reality checks make you feel stronger. It’s only natural to want life to be a dream, but if you have to wake up, wake up refreshed and ready to take on the next challenge with clarity.

And so I add number 19 to my 30 Before 30 list:

19. Learn to be happy on my own.

Why?

I created this 30 before 30 list because it’s so easy for me to think that I should give up on all the great things life has to offer. It’s exactly like this quote from Stephen Fry:

 

I think it’s a trap of adolescence and young adulthood. Because let’s face it, young adults are like adolescents who don’t realize they’ve grown up yet. Living life is more than just doing it,it’s a realization that you can. As an adolescent, you can’t. Don’t have money, don’t have permission, don’t have a way to get there or a car to drive. As an adult…what’s stopping you? Probably the same things — but now that you’re older you can do something about those things. No excuses!

 

I will not make excuses for being unhappy. I will not give up. Maybe I’ll take a class or something. And stop listening to such sad music.

 

This is inspired by 30 Before 30. This is my list.

 

My 30 before 30 list (I’m still adding to it daily!)2014-04-20 20.23.12

1. Visit a historical landmark and castle in Ireland.

2. Write and finish a novel.

3. Work out consistently for at least a month.

4. Stand in the middle of Times Square.

5. Hike to Pickett Butte Lookout in Oregon.

6. Run a half marathon.

7. Go camping.

8. Have a fluent conversation in Spanish.

9. Drink nothing but water for at least a month.

10. Learn how to snowboard.

11. Go horseback riding.

12. Take piano lessons.

13. Volunteer with a charity.2015-07-25 12

14. Visit a museum a month!

15. Audition for a national talent show.

16. Record an album of my own music.

17. Fill up a photo album with photos from my 35mm camera.

18. Pay off at least two credit cards.

19. Learn to be happy on my own.

20. Face my arachnophobia.

21. Throw a fabulous party!

22. Officially start my own company.

23.  Learn the art of meditation.

24. Learn a new kind of dance. Tango? Samba? Waltz??

25.  Take a kickboxing or boxing class.

26. Take a trip somewhere — anywhere — solo.

27. Stop drinking soda.

28. Buy another flute (and play it!)

29. Get back to my natural hair.

30. Watch more sunrises.