Life With(out) Fear
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Life With(out) Fear

Bravery isn't about the absence of fear, it's about overcoming it.

Life With(out) Fear
Fly Tandem

As I stepped onto the plane, leaving behind the familiar airport in an even more familiar state, I felt a wave of fear fill every single part of my body. From the tips of my fingers, which now curled around the overstuffed backpack, to my toes, which now attempted to keep my clumsy and now overly weighed down body from stumbling down the narrow aisle, a tingle of hesitation could be felt. The feeling of hesitation and more strongly fear reemerged, this time stronger, when I felt the wheels of the next plane leave U.S. soil for the last time. I had a general sense of when I would return, but no date and definitely no return ticket. By the time that plane landed in a new time zone and continent, my mind raced with the possibilities of what could go wrong. Would I miss my bus? Would my flight be delayed? And certainly my bags were going to be lost. None of these things happened. Looking back, it was foolish to have this fear.

On the outside I look incredibly brave — or at least that is what people tell me. I don't really feel brave though, because inside it all terrifies me. I sat at my bus stop in London, terrified that I was in the wrong place, that the bus would break down, or more obscurely, that there was a conspiracy of sorts to ensure I didn't make it to my next flight. I wanted to cry so much during that day. Maybe some of that could be the immense jet lag and exhaustion I was feeling, but it cannot take the full force of the blame for the tears which seemed almost inevitable.

To allow fear to limit our actions seems foolish to outsiders, unless they themselves feel that fear. For those who experience these fears, they are very real. I cried at the Grand Canyon because I was so terrified of heights. Yet, I still went to the Grand Canyon, tears and all. This highlights my view of how fear should be handled in our lives. Fear is going to exist for each of us, anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. It's all about overcoming that fear and not allowing it to inhibit our experiences that matters. Life is going to be full of challenges and experiences which test our understanding of ourselves. Being brave isn't the absence of fear; it's swallowing that fear and doing something anyway.

In my first month of being abroad I jumped off a mountain.Yes, the girl who cried at the Grand Canyon launched herself off a mountain cliff and paraglided over Austria. Was I scared? Terrified. Yet I got strapped in and suppressed every notion that maybe running toward the edge of a cliff wasn't the smartest idea. Logically, I knew this was safe, but fear is a strange thing. Rational thought doesn't always exist when you are afraid. Looking at the photos later, I don't look like the nervous wreck I felt like. I looked like I was so happy, and I was. It was conquering that fear of taking off and putting myself in that scary spot that was hard.

It's so easy to look at other people and say they are so brave, but that thought misses the fundamental idea behind bravery. Bravery is doing something despite your fear, not in the absence of it. Anyone can be brave, we just have to want to be.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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