Dare to live, lose the fear

Last year, before I went to New Zealand, I was feeling apprehensive and worried. I had returned home with no job and to take another 2 month vacation meant I would be fully out of a job for 6 months. But that wasn’t what I was worried about. I was worried about travelling with a friend I met in Japan. We weren’t that close in Japan, but we got on, despite the lack of many common interests. Travelling for me is a thrilling adventure and I am usually always excited for it. But since Japan, I feel like I have become a strange creature of habit. I don’t feel fully comfortable and I think that is my problem. It is what fuels my fear and my hesitance. What made it harder going on this road trip was not being sure I could maintain conversation for 3 weeks without either of us getting bored.  I’ve always felt like we didn’t have a real friendship. He’s very private and even though we hang out in groups, I haven’t always been completely comfortable with him. I’m not sure why. So I did’t know how this trip was going to be as it would simply be the two of us.

Well having now finished that trip and my 2 month holiday, I have realised how petty my worries were. I’ve said it a hundred times before to myself but it honestly is true:

Don’t let the little things get you down or sweat the small stuff. Don’t let fear rule your life and ruin your chances.

If I didn’t take this chance to travel, I wouldn’t have made such incredible memories and explored so many places. I don’t know when or if I’d be able to have done the amazing road trip around NZ to ultimately discover a new country and the beauties it has to offer. What I was also really afraid of was not being physically fit to do all the hikes and tramping that I knew we would be doing. But there is nothing wrong with going slow and taking it easy. I’m not in the best of health, but I am striving to achieve that goal and get fitter.

I have no regrets going on that trip. It was so much fun. I learnt to let go a bit. I discovered more about my friend. It was all in my head, we got on perfectly well despite the lack of common interests! It went much better than I expected and we had amazing weather. NZ is a truly beautiful place especially if you love the outdoors, hiking, lakes and mountains!

Those memories of Japan still continue to haunt me (in a good way – I just miss my students!), it was nice to reminisce, challenge myself physically and mentally. For the latter, I went bungee jumping. I feel like as I get older, sadly I become less fearless! I had no qualms going skydiving when I was 21. Though admittedly that is a completely different ballgame and not as terrifying in an odd kind of way. But the point I am making is that I notice that I am starting to take less risks as I get older. It’s not always a bad thing, however, I don’t want that to stick. I want to take risks, to challenge myself. I don’t want to be controlled by fear. So here’s to daring to live fully. Take chances and don’t look back.

 

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No longer the best

Friends are so important. They help you through difficult times and they are there for you. Well, if you have friendships that you feel are slipping out of your grasp, be sure to chase them if they are worthy.

I spent two days with my best friend and realised not for the first time a sea of change and a real difference between us. We’ve been friends for over 14 years which is one of my greatest accomplishments. She is my longest friend and the one I considered my best friend to be forever. We met as teens in high school and instantly became fast friends. We have lifted each other out of the darkness one time or another. We are completely different – she is a scientist and I am a philosopher; in school she was in the top set and I was in the bottom. We couldn’t be more different, but what always united us were our shared moral values.

In friendships, it is not unusual to experience a feeling of distance between friends. We are always changing. But today, I discovered as I voiced my feelings of distance, that this time I was not wrong about this uneasy feeling that had crept over me. As a philosopher I needed a question answered before we parted company: “Are we still best friends?” Because the truth was it didn’t feel like it. The previous day, I persuaded her to show me her PhD acknowledgement section and I was surprised to see how very low on the list I was carted in with her other good friends; one whom I did not know about. Don’t get me wrong, I was honoured to be in the section, but I was shocked at how small my part played compared to other friends. It was then that I realised we had somewhere along the line separated. We no longer turned to each other as the first in line to help us with whatever was ailing us. Instead we chose different people, at least she did. I can honestly say I always turned to her first and still to this day. But the struggle of writing her PhD I realised, I could never fully understand. She asked if I was disappointed and I lied and said I was not; it was lovely. But in that moment I felt horrible, like I didn’t mean much any more. Later in the day, I asked when we would be travelling together like she promised, only to be told that she was broke and would not be doing so anytime soon.

As I lay in bed the previous night pondering it all, I decided that I would quietly let go and disappear from her life. I clearly was no longer the best, I was a stranger and she was a stranger to me. The fact that I didn’t know about the struggles she went through and the fact that I had tried to share my struggles but due to all her focus going on her PhD, she had limited time for me. We somehow lost the way to communicate. As with couples, the I becomes We. She was planning to visit me in Japan. Then she invited her boyfriend. I was mad, but I accepted it. Finally she cancelled her trip to visit me in Japan because of the PhD. I wasn’t surprised. I was relieved because I didn’t have to take time off my busy schedule. We had encountered this before. So many times she would cancel on me. So many broken promises. But it didn’t matter because she was my best friend. Well, not anymore. Today I lost a best friend. Or perhaps it was months ago.

As she answered my question, I understood the truth. We were no longer best friends. We had been utterly changed from our experiences, that our lives were no longer close to the same track we had been running on. We were close friends for sure, but we were not solely exclusively best friends. It was very sad. It was the cold, hard truth. It hurt. But it’s okay.

I realised that we are now of an age when we are no longer children, we are adults soon to marry, settle down and have children. We were going in different directions and there was nothing we could do about it. Maybe people shouldn’t have best friends – one best person out of good friends, it’s not really fair. I don’t think I could have another friendship like that again. But at least I have made some lovely friends. So I won’t disappear from this friendship and quietly fade into the background, but I won’t fight no longer being the best, because this time it’s a two way street. It’s a decision and not just mine.

The Fear

This post is about things I have been experiencing lately which seem to be hindering me. Mainly it is my past which keeps me shackled in chains desperately trying to escape the painful memories of the past few months. It doesn’t help that facebook is there to remind me of the evidence, the people and the experiences. Fear is however a massive factor in life which prevents us from doing the things we really want to do, i.e try a new experience, get a job in a completely different country, shop in a certain place due to the bad reputation or even the fear of going on a date/meeting with someone because of what may happen. In life we all face many challenges, but I mostly seem to run away from them giving excuses as to why I can’t or don’t want to do something.

The fear of failure so what’s the point in trying because without trying I can guarantee I won’t fail! But that’s a stupid way of thinking and the truth is everyone fails at something at some point in their life. I keep running away from most things in my life because I am scared. I won’t willing walk into a bad neighbourhood unless I have to because I am scared I’ll be attacked or surrounded by a gang. But this is silly because you can be attacked anywhere! I know this but I am still wary. I won’t work abroad because I will know absolutely no one and I will be completely by myself. But I have already conquered this and it did not end so well. I ended up hating the American camp experience. It is different I suppose if you are working abroad with more freedom in a different environment. I won’t find a job because I am scared I’ll be rejected. This is also silly because if you don’t try you will never know what could have been yours! I won’t go on a date because I am scared it will all go wrong. What can I say I am just a very cautious person. I don’t want to get hurt like my friends. Only a date though right so its harmless? Well I have no idea! I’ve been on 1 or 2 dates before and they’ve never really been successful because either we start a debate and I get angry at the guys answers or the guy just doesn’t call me back.

Last night I had a nightmarish dream where I was on a date with this guy I liked whom I met but hardly know. So we are not really friends as we don’t know much about each other but anyway we are at this cafe just talking and then suddenly he stands up and his accent changes- he starts to talk funny in a different accent which surprises me and then he stands up and moves to the side. I start to lose sight of him and so I lean closer round the corner to look at him and he hugs me. Instantly I feel repelled inside. I want to run because I don’t like this closeness and even though I’m attracted to him I am scared and somehow can’t seem to connect with guys any closer than friends. I wake up and I realise that I am far too scared or maybe I am not ready for this kind of thing whatever it is. But I am 21 and I’ve never had a boyfriend. I can go abroad and live alone, I can do so many other things but somehow I can’t seem to get close to people who want to have a relationship with me. Don’t get me wrong I have a lot of close friends- most of whom are girls- though a few guy friends.

I am in love with an idea (as are all girls I believe). The idea of falling in love and meeting Prince Charming. The idea of having a blissful relationship but the truth is there is no such thing as Prince Charming and I shouldn’t expect so much from the guy. I see happy couples and people getting engaged and I want that just like anyone out there. I don’t want to be alone. But somehow I hold back- guys ask me out and I say no. I just can’t seem to get over it. I AM TERRIFIED! I am just scared of what life has to offer. But I shouldn’t be and I have no idea why I am scared. This guy well he’s real and he asked to meet up again now that I am back from America. I don’t know what to do. Obviously I will meet up with him, but I am scared because I don’t know what he wants and normally I make it very clear what I am looking for. Maybe it is because I like him so much I want things to work out but at the same time I don’t know what kind of guy he is- I don’t know if he is a player, if he is looking for something serious or casual or whatever. I know what I want I think. But fear always gets in the way. I can easily jump out of a plane no worries. I can go rock climbing and all that and I can risk my life in some dangerous activity but when it comes to dating and all that I just can’t seem to commit. I just can’t seem to go further and I feel repulsed in a way to be touched by someone I hardly know. I know that one little date hardly gives them permission to touch me, but after a while if we become closer then there is reason to.

There’s just too much that time cannot erase. There is so much that holds us back (well holds me back at least). Some people may not understand because I sure don’t understand myself. But then we are complex being and no one is the same. I hope that I can discover what I want in life and I hope I can get rid of these fears because they all sound stupid! But psychology and life experiences sometimes dictate your feelings which in turn dictate the outcome. Life’s not fair. But I will try, but sometimes you just can’t help the fear.