Fear gets to us all.
That’s the most intense first sentence I’ve written since I was in Year 9 English and had to write a short story about a plane crash. Being one of the only 6 people in the world who’s watched every single episode of Lost as and when it was aired, believe me when I tell you I was in my element in that class!
Be it on a large or small scale, fear holds us all back in some way or another.
Sometimes it’s really smack you in the face obvious.
You don’t want to go on the rollercoaster because you’re scared of heights. You don’t want to walk along the front of that stage in case you trip and fall. You don’t want to let your foot fall out from under the covers just in case the monster that’s been living under your bed since you were 4 years old finally rears his ugly head.
Other times it’s not so obvious but still evidently there.
You don’t want to apply for that job because you don’t think you’re qualified enough. You don’t want to ask that boy out because he probably doesn’t like you anyway. You don’t want to submit your book proposal to that big shot editor because to be honest it’s not really their genre so they probably wouldn’t even give it a second glance.
And sometimes? Sometimes you don’t even realise you’re scared.
I think two of the most popular fears in the world today, the two that hold people back the most are fear of embarrassment and fear of failure.
If you look back at the examples I just gave, four of the six scenarios can be related to either fear of failure or fear of embarrassment.
You don’t want to trip and fall on the stage because then people will laugh at you and it’ll be oh so embarrassing (and you might also break your leg but whatever).
You don’t want to apply for the job because they might say no and then you’d feel like such a failure.
You don’t want to ask that boy out because he might say no too, and how mortifying would it be for you when people find out?! Worse, what if he tells his friends?! What if they all have a good old laugh behind your back?!
You don’t want to submit your book proposal because they could say no and that would of course mean you failed. Or even worse, what if the editor thinks the mere idea of your book is so laughable he shares it with the whole office and all his editor friends?! You’ll never be taken seriously in the industry ever again.
Nobody wants to be laughed at. At least not in a cruel, taunting kind of way. But in a Mindy Kaling, I’m so funny kind of way? Yes please.
With all of that being said, it’s the fear of failure and/or embarrassment that often keeps us from going after what we really want.
And do you know what I want right now? Other than a personal chauffeur and electric blanket, that is.
I want to be happy.
I want to live a life which, at the end, I can look back at and think “Damn, that was good”.
I want to laugh so much that my laugh lines map out the Amsterdam canals.
I want to be surrounded by love and laughter and good people.
I want to see light in every aspect of my life, in all of my relationships and in every damn day.
I don’t want to get sucked into a job or career that my heart isn’t in.
I don’t want to be the friend who’s wedding invite gets lost in the post.
I don’t want to go to sleep one day and suddenly it’s 2052 and I’m late to pick my grandkids up from their after school spaceship driving lesson and I’ve got nothing to show for the last 40 odd years other than a pretty big pension and a few clicky joints.
In my last post I said how I’m not normally one for resolutions, and so I completely understand if you’re sat there right now thinking “Hmm, this post has a very New Year’s resolution-y vibe going on here you wee little hypocrite, you!” but I promise it’s just coincidental timing. This has actually been brewing for quite some time now. you’re small o
When you’re young people are always telling you to follow your dreams. You can be anything you want to be! Ballerina, zookeeper, astronaut, President of the United States, absolutely anything! Shoot for the moon and you won’t be disappointed if you land on the stars, they say.
When you’re a little older the very same people who always encouraged you to chase your dreams are all of a sudden telling you that you should work on having more realistic goals. It turns out you need to actually be able to dance to be a ballerina, training to become an astronaut requires about a gazillion degrees and a super genius IQ, you’d have a hard job being a zookeeper with your allergies and apparently you have to be American to be the President of the US. Who knew?!
Fast forward a few years and you’re hating every second of the job you spent 4 years and the best part of £20k trying to get. You spend your days glumly sitting at your desk filing other people’s tax returns, wondering to yourself ‘Is this really it?’ You wish you could go back to being 5 years old, when you really believed that one day you’d be in a position of power enough to make it rain blue Smarties.
You shot for the moon and somehow ended up on Pluto. Pluto! Nobody wants Pluto. The planets don’t want Pluto and the stars don’t want it either, so why should you be happy on Pluto?! Blue Smarties don’t even exist on Pluto.
Then along come those chirpy words of wisdom again, the very same ones you were getting when you were a child. Some of the voices are the same, some are new. Follow your dreams, they say. Do more of what makes you happy.
It’s easy enough to say, but the hard part is knowing what makes you happy.
What does make you happy?!
I’ve thought about that question a lot recently. On a broader scale lots of things make me happy. Cheddar cheese makes me happy. The bus driver giving me a free or discounted ride makes me happy. Waking up to nice texts makes me happy. Seeing genuine smiles on my friends and family makes me happy. Watching Modern Family makes me happy. Discussing the difference between a tart and a pie with my Vietnamese friend makes me happy. Ice cold Pepsi makes me happy. Pickled onion Monster Munch makes me happy. Singing along to Little Mix songs at the top of my voice makes me happy.
Do you know what else makes me happy?
Writing. Blogging. Writing this blog.
Which is why I’ve decided not to bother looking for a ‘real‘ job for a while.
I’m taking chances and capitalising on my own happiness.
A few months ago I would have scoffed at the idea of not going back to a steady, monthly income. Even now my bank account is shaking at the knees at the mere thought.
A few months ago I wouldn’t have even entertained the idea of solely working freelance and blogging. Fear of failure would have held me back. Fear that people I know in real life would think it’s a stupid idea, fear that people don’t actually like my blog enough to keep it going much longer, fear that I wouldn’t get any work and would end up sleeping on the streets eating people’s KFC scraps straight from the bin.
But now? I actually don’t care what other people think. I don’t care if people think my aim to make a bit of money out of blogging is stupid. I don’t care if people think I’m trying to live out something that’s nothing but a pipe dream. I just don’t care.
The other day I bought a desk from IKEA which I then built all by myself (who needs men?! Except to drive you to IKEA and pick up the desk because you still don’t know how to drive ha!). The desk now sits in a little corner in the front room of my parents’ house and for the foreseeable future it’s going to be my workplace.
I’m going to make myself ‘go to work’ everyday, force myself to make more of an effort to secure freelance gigs, and when I’m not disappearing behind piles of foreign language dictionaries, I’ll be disappearing into the blogosphere.
This isn’t some airy-fairy announcement that BAM I’M AN OVERNIGHT FULL-TIME BLOGGER, more of a heads-up that you may be seeing a lot more of me on your feed in the immediate future. And who knows? More time at my desk may mean I finally get chance to work on those guest posts I’ve been promising for months now.
I am excited. My desk is excited. My Dumbledore Pop Vinyl is excited. We’re all excited up in here!
Do more of what makes you happy and don’t let fear hold you back.