They say that when you’re on your death bed, you won’t think about all the things you did do, you’ll be thinking of all the things you didn’t do. Well, I’m not on my death bed, but I already have a couple of things that I didn’t do, that I am now kicking myself for not doing. I had my reasons at the time for not doing them, but now looking back, I realize those reasons were simply one: fear.
For many of us, we don’t mean to, but we let fear dictate our lives. It may be fear of rejection, fear of repeating past mistakes, or just fear of the unknown. No matter what it is, it’s pretty easy to boil it down to some sort of fear. Unfortunately, actually getting rid of the fear and doing something is a lot more difficult. But, if you want to live a full life, it’s pretty necessary.
I didn’t tell a guy how I felt about him years ago back when we were in college together. It wasn’t that there was a lack of opportunity. He and I hung out several times, we went to parties, had classes together, spent some time at the beach together, we even lived in the same dorm at one point. I really liked him, and it seemed like he felt the same, but there was something holding me back. Fear. I was scared of repeating past mistakes, of essentially repeating the past, because sharing how I felt about someone had blown up in my face in the past. Unfortunately, I don’t have that same chance to tell him how I feel because we aren’t in the same city anymore. And I really regret that, because sure, it might have not worked out in my favor again, but what if it had? Because I was afraid of sharing how I felt, I will now never know if he maybe felt the same way. I played it safe, and might have missed out on something great, simply because I was scared.
The same thing can be said for not going on an amazing trip. I know several people who want to travel, but are a bit afraid to. That’s ok, travel is scary. You’re going to an unknown place, possibly one where English isn’t the first language, and you’re going in with no idea of what to expect. Will people be friendly and help you out if you get lost or will someone try to steal from you while you are over there? Travel creates a lot of unknowns and with those unknowns comes a lot of fear. But, I can tell you from experience, traveling is also exhilarating, and some of the sights that you see are breathtakingly beautiful. You get to surround yourself with a history that you may otherwise have never seen before. So don’t let your fear of the unknown get in the way. All life has risk, to live means risking your life in some way. So risk it.
Things may not always go your way when it comes to taking risks and trying things, but you can always try it, and then if it doesn’t work the way you planned, chalk it all up to experience. You never learn or grow if you stay in the same place. You never really know how people feel if you don’t let them know how you feel too. This can be applied to so many aspects of your life, if you only swallow the fear, and have faith that even if it doesn’t work out the way you want, you’ll gain something from it. There’s always a lesson we can learn, and not everything you do will be good. But that’s just life. There are too many variables for us to control everything, which means sometimes we just have to take a leap of faith. And remember, you miss all of the shots you never take.