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Fear Will Keep those Star Systems in Line

Sometimes an unintended event will take it out of you. I was walking through the garage under our building the other day and tripped over a speed bump and fell on my face.  Well, I actually fell on my elbow and my knee but ended up on my back (I rolled over) looking at the dirty pipes running across the ceiling. No harm, no foul.  Except for a slight skin mark on my elbow, nothing.

But when you reach a certain age, events like that take a toll on your confidence. My walking is a tad more tentative than it was before.  The smallest cracks on the sidewalk look like the Grand Canyon. The dog, who is doing nothing different than before seems to be right in front of me, trying to ensure I will trip over her. Those plants along the way that trip you when you step on them and then catch your foot seem to have grown an extra foot. Its all in my head, but there you go.

I know all the bromides about ‘picking your self up and dusting yourself off,’ or ‘getting back on the horse’ but still, somewhere in the deep dark reached of my psyche, there’s that bit of thinking that makes me look twice at the crack in the sidewalk. I’m sure that 30 years go if I had the same fall, it wouldn’t have even registered. But…

I’ve been thinking about this, and have concluded that its fear. I’m afraid of falling. What if I break something, what if I can’t get up, what if…

I wonder how much of our lives is ruled by fear. I didn’t ask Susie on a date because I was afraid of rejection. I didn’t take a job or promotion because I was afraid I couldn’t do it. I didn’t start that business, or take that college course I wanted because I was afraid of failure. I didn’t go see my mother during covid because I was afraid. I saw a wrong committed and I didn’t right it, I was afraid.

One might say that the fellow in the previous graph wasn’t afraid but was taking the easiest path. I don’t think so. Fear, as the Grand Molf Tarkin said, will keep those star systems in line. We are told to fear God, after it’s the strongest of all emotions.

100 plus year old Larry Donoghue once told me that he was loosing his balance. Rather than give in to fear, he went to a therapist, found an exercise that would help, and got is balance back. Not bad for an 85 year old (at the time.) He could have surrendered to fear, but not Larry. I’m sure there are many such examples.

We each have to make a personal decision to look fear straight in the eye and tell it to buzz off. Its easier not to, but then, who ever said life was easy. For me, I will continue my walks, even through the garage. I will, perhaps for a while, be a tad more cautious, but I will also take a bit longer step. I will get over my fear of falling. After all, Luke took on the Death Star and won. Why can’t I stroll the neighborhood?

JVH

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