So in honor of the freakiest holiday on the planet, there’s a lot of “What Scares You?” stuff floating around on the interweb. (Oooh, I can play along with that one.) Who am I to shun anything remotely associated with Halloween, right? (If you follow me on twitter you already know how absolutely obsessed I am with that particular holiday.)
One thing that I love about Halloween so much is that it's the only holiday where we celebrate our fears, our dark side, those things that go bump in the night. (The Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy don’t count.) There is a wild thrill in being truly scared. It goes right down to our core. It gets your heart pumping and you get that adrenaline rush to the cerebral cortex that says, “Run for your life!” I absolutely love it.
Here’s the thing though…there isn’t a lot that TRULY scares me. I’ve actually given this a lot of thought. (Yes, there are better ways to spend my insomniac-riddled midnight hours, I know…but this is one thing I’ve been dwelling on lately.) I started running down the list of typical fears. Heights. Nope. Dark. Love it. Snakes, spiders and all things creepy crawly. I don’t think they are scary, I think they’re incredibly cool. I don’t even really get scared by so-called scary movies. Most horror movies make me laugh with their improbable plots and cheesy dialogue. We occasionally watch the old ones for fun, so we can eat popcorn and go “No…don’t all separate in the woods!” or “Really, you’re going to go down in the basement alone to check out where that ungodly noise/blood/black ooze is coming from? Good plan!”
So if you leave off Vamps, Zombies, Ghosts, Chainsaws, and all other things that go bump in the night, what’s left to be afraid of? Well, I suppose Death. But here’s the kicker. Death doesn’t really scare me either. You know what REALLY scares me? (Yes, I’m sure by this point you are absolutely dying to know.) I’m afraid of wasting my life. I’m afraid I’ll be on my death bed, looking back at the great expanse of my life and regretting all those things I did not do. All of those dreams that I had that got usurped by the meaningless tedium of making a living, and doing dishes and buying groceries and generally Surviving…instead of LIVING. Yes, ladies and gentlemen that scares the pants off of me.
I’m not joking. Even just typing those words gets my heart rate up and I almost break out into a cold sweat. Because I’m worried I’m doing it. I’m wasting huge chunks of life. Every. Single. Day.
It’s true a certain amount of life-wasting is unavoidable. I mean we have to eat, right? We have to have a roof over our heads (though I seriously question how we go about doing that in this day and age), and we have to do some of the things required to make those things happen. However, how much of the remainder am I putting to good use? Good question. Which has led me to try to clearly define what is a “good use”. I’ve got a whole mental list of what is truly important to me. Connecting, really connecting, with family and friends is a biggie. And not surprisingly, good books and film are pretty high on that list. Which is great news because I don’t have to cut back on my reading and writing and watching of movies. (In fact, I should probably do more.) But beyond the obvious, there are some biggies that I am Not doing. Traveling to foreign climbs. Learning. Creating. Making music. Devouring art. Night swimming. Slow dancing on the roof. (Yes, that one is really on there.) All those things that make me really feel Alive. All those things that get my heart pumping for another reason. How am I making time for those?
If you know me, you know I have a cunning plan to make it happen.(Well, several cunning plans actually) And I’m making some progress on that front. I’m working on freeing up the time to do the big things. But while I’m at it, I need to remember to make time for the little things. After all, it doesn’t take a lot of time to slow dance on the roof.
So, you’ve heard mine. What are you afraid of? And/or alternatively, if you share my fear, what are you planning on doing about it?