Fear, and feeling afraid of anything can be such a life-halting force. It can deter us from moving forward in our lives, it can tempt us into drinking the bittersweet nectar of self-wallowing. It can drive us off the proverbial cliff; yet at the same time fear can be a potent motivator for many. The fear of failure, or mediocrity in this case for me, is a constant in my world.
I’m afraid of failure, right now at this point in my life. Failure is something that is on my mind a lot these days. Far too much mental energy is expended in my mind to thinking about my life, and how I feel as though I’m not reaching my potential. I’m afraid of mediocrity, of living life in the box, of every year that goes past being identical to the last. A generation of us have grown up with the ideal that we can all be ‘Whatever we want’ as long as we put our grit, determination and drive to it and work hard for it. Is this the truth? Is it possible to work hard and reach that impossible dream, or are we all setting ourselves up for a fall? For me, I feel as though it has been a long, slow and difficult progression, getting what I want, and where I want to be in life. Right now, my career [or lack thereof] is what has been filling me with fear.
Truly, I’m afraid of being 40 and still being a Human Vending Machine. It all comes back to this. I don’t want to be folding clothes, tidying pillows, putting chairs away and wasting my days away with a ‘hi, how are you?’ I just can’t do it, and I refuse to. Yes, I know that so many other people are struggling with so many problems of much more magnitude than my little conundrum, yet lately I have been putting a lot of brain power and thought to my future, and my escape plan out of my current job. I just don’t want to be there forever, my dream is to be in a workplace where my skills other than that of selling are appreciated, a place where I am motivated to give my all because I actually enjoy being there. Where I am now currently is far from this. It is a factory. Fast Furniture. It’s terribly difficult to face the day there sometimes, to put on a brave face and live day in day out. I started my current job almost two years ago, with the intention of progression. Which inevitably has not happened. I’m forever thinking about my future at work, and formulating little plans and fantasies in my mind, the foremost being the moment I finally attain that job that will lead me to an actual career, and I tell everyone there that I’m leaving, with a big unapologetic grin. Am I placing too much strain on myself? Is this fear something that will leverage the best out of me to get me off my arse and get out into the world, or will it make me drift in a malaise?
I’m afraid of being in stasis,I’m afraid of every year morphing into the next, each segmented division of time being the same as the previous, as well as the next.I’m afraid of not changing, growing or evolving. Of being static. I want to change. ‘I Am Willing To Change’ is something I tell myself almost daily. It’s a simple self-affirmation that I will say to myself in the mirror when I wake up, or at work on particularly difficult days. I Am Willing To Change. We all can change. I truly believe this. We keep the core of ourselves intact, yet we are always in a state of flux. Transforming, discarding and shedding our old selves, and forming our new selves.
What is life without change? Meaningless, stale and fetid. I know this is quite a dramatic statement, but in my eyes we all have to be willing to change ourselves, to adapt, to be dynamic. I’m not the same person I was 7 years ago. Both literally and figuratively. My skin grows, dies and is replaced by fresh new skin. My hair gets greyer each year. My mind grows un-incapacitated, expanding like an infinite USB memory stick. I learn more and more every day. I collect information, no matter how trivial, and I manage to store it away for future use. I collect life experience as well, and snapshot every event in my mind.
I am afraid of losing this ability, of not being able to collect things like experience and information, of taking things at face value, of not looking past the present, of not breaking life down into its core components. I’m afraid of my world being confined like an ornamental garden: manicured, pleasant and placidly safe.
Fear and being afraid can be a positive thing; it’s what makes us strive to achieve foremost. What would life, the world and existence itself be like if it weren’t for a small dose of fear to motivate us into doing things? Into achieving and reaching higher and higher goals? It can help us grit our teeth and carry on towards the light on the hill. Perhaps I should choose not to be afraid, but to look forward to my future, to take every step towards that future with a determination and undaunted, unbowed outlook.