rock and grass

I have faced fear in many forms.  I’ve gotten up in the middle of the night and wandered through the dark house in pursuit of something that went bump and woke me from my dreams.  I’ve free-climbed at Joshua Tree National Park only to get to the top, look down, and wonder how in the world I was going to get back to the ground.  I’ve found myself dangerously close to deadly animals, from hearing bears sniffing at the edge of my tent in the Sierra to finding my hand inches from a Black Widow to pulling a friend away an instant before he stepped on a rattlesnake.  I’ve stood at the top of Mt. Whitney and looked down.  I’ve been unemployed with bills due.  I’ve spent time in a waiting room while a loved one underwent surgery, uncertain of the outcome.  I’ve felt the power and rage of a surging snow-melt river pulling me towards rapids intent upon breaking me.

I have known fear.

My heart has pulsed at rates that hurt.

My body has been poisoned by floods of adrenaline.

My mind has played through more worst-case scenarios than I can remember.

More than I care to, anyway.

I am not an adrenaline junkie.  I haven’t actively sought out these situations and I’ve never liked how they made me feel.  I’ve never liked the resulting comedown and hangover.  I’ve never liked the visions my imagination produces to accompany each near death experience.

However, the fear of fear has never kept me from an adventure.

It was my choice to look down when I reached the top of Mt. Whitney.  It was my choice to enter the Kings River in early season after the good winter that turned it even deadlier than normal.  It was my choice to place myself into those situations where I could encounter bears, buffalo, snakes, coyotes, mountain lions, and on and on.  I have refused to allow my life to be curbed by the negative what-ifs and potential consequences of danger gone wrong.

Obviously, not all of my fearful situations were within my control, and I never enter an adventure un-prepared.  (“Be prepared” is the Boy Scout Motto, and I am an Eagle Scout after all.)  But, by refusing to let fear dictate what I do, I’ve lived a life of grand adventure.

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe.” – Batty (Rutger Hauer): Blade Runner

Why is it, then, when I can I stand at one of the highest points in the world and look down despite my fear of heights, that I let my fear of change rule so much of the rest of my life?

I’ve wanted to publish one of my novels for many years… but it isn’t “ready,” and once I self-publish I can never then submit it to a traditional publishing house, and what will that mean for my career, and what if nobody likes it, and I’m afraid of the answers to those two questions.

I’ve wanted to move my family out of our condo and into a house for many years… but that would mean more housework, more responsibility, and much higher bills, and I’m afraid of what that change would do to our way of living, our standard of living.

I’ve wanted to leave California for many years… but I’m comfortable here, my job is here, and there is so much than can go wrong in a move.  I don’t want to fall prey to the grass is greener syndrome and I’m afraid of what that major change will mean for me and my family if something were to go wrong.

How can I stand against fear in some aspects of my life so rigidly, and bend to it so easily in others?

I’m a rock.

I’m a blade of grass.

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13 thoughts on “rock and grass

  1. Maybe, on the publishing side of things, you could take some advice from another blogger who’s just been published? http://brainsnorts.com/ is where Rich hangs out and he’s a former English teacher turned writer and he’s written a number of posts about his journey towards getting published, and I’m sure he’d be willing to support you through the process.

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  2. I know what you mean. California has it’s pluses and minuses. It’s very expensive, and there is definitely more life to be had elsewhere, but getting there and getting settled especially with a family could prove difficult. When my brother up and moved to Colorado with his wife…I was worried. He wasn’t working, and he said to me that he could look for work there or look for work here. He was right, and he is very happy now, but it wasn’t without a bit of struggle at first. Now I envy him, but like you… work is here, and who is to say that a meaningful happy position could be found elsewhere. Scary. You can’t put a price on liking your job and the people you work with. That’s so rare to begin with.. how do you leave that and hope to find it again. sighs… get an editor….submit that book to a traditional publisher…lots of them, and see where it goes. 🙂 Then go from there. If you don’t push yourself a little you may find yourself full of the regret that comes with dreams unrealized. One dream at a time…and it seems to me that that one is the most doable right now. 🙂

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  3. I hear you, brother. Jen want’s to move out of California and especially out of the desert someday, with someday being less than ten years from now. I would love to get out of California to somewhere I would feel more ideologically inclined, somewhere cheaper, somewhere else basically. However, I run in to the problem that I actually do love the desert, my job/career is here and my immediate family that need help is all within an hour drive. Couple those with the fact that if I left Federal employment I probably wouldn’t be qualified to do anything, I would lose my retirement and would have to start over fresh.

    Scary propositions.

    Bonus points for using one of my favorite movie lines.

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    • Scary, indeed. Wouldn’t it be nice if the right choices were easily discernable from the wrong ones? That might end up being rather boring though. Perhaps there is something to be said for the adventure of the unknown and their risks.

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  4. I’d have to write a book first, so that’s a problem, ha ha, but I’ve always (since I first heard of self-publishing) figured I’d publish myself, then hope that it would reach more people that way, rather than just reaching a few agents, and more people would have more opinions about it. Of course if all those opinions were negative…

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  5. I tried to comment on this earlier today. My internet has decided it wants to crap out.

    Anyway.

    This is a paralyzing feeling, isn’t it? I’m going through it myself with my own family.
    I don’t think there is a right answer. Only – what’s right for you.

    I like what Dani added above.
    Sometimes you’ll never know what you could gain unless you take a risk.

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  6. You can publish that book, or even move out of state…you’ve done amazing things, but when you have family, it takes a different view . IL has plenty of snow,.and your business. Lame comment, but you can and have faced fears, you.

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