Adult to adult here. If I were sitting across from you at our local starbucks on a bright saturday morning (with no viral pandemic threat), and asked what your biggest fear was at that exact moment, what would be your answer?
Some would say a future without their own family, or regretting the choice of major of their undergraduate studies. Others could say devastating storms, or an unfaithful partner. Honestly, I can't list every fear that we have currently. However, I can say that as individuals, each of us are stronger, might I even say braver than we think we are.
As children, most of us had fear of the boogeyman living under our bed. We'd walk to our beds, gather up the courage, have a little pep talk with ourselves, and check to make sure that "he" wasn't there. Over time, we stopped. The boogeyman no longer existed to us. But how? How did we spend all those years of childhood fearful of an unexisting being living under us each night? Well, we just stopped thinking about it. Some knew that they would handle it if it were to show face at the haunting hour of 3 AM. In each of our different ways of moving on, we all have one thing in common- Confidence. We all gained the confidence to finally live fearless, and honestly as a kid, we probably didn't have too many fears other than that.
Then we became teenagers, with all new stressors and things we believed would be the end of ourselves. We became fearful of those pesky white spots on our face, or the big group of girls who judged you everytime you walked past. We became fearful of our parents embarrassing us, or not looking "swag" (yes, to all the younger folk reading this, we proudly shouted that word at least 154 times a day. Even when it didn't make sense.) enough. Those fears didn't pass as quickly as the "boogeyman" did. Those followed us into adulthood, even though we really don't want to admit it. But if you grew up in the same timeframe as me, those fears shifted fast. Instead, we became fearful for someone else other than ourselves for the first time. We went through the 2007-2009 recession during our middle school years. Fear wasn't just at school now, it was affecting our home. We became fearful for our parents, who tried their best to make sure we were alright, but after we were asleep, would count their pennies and find every way to provide for us. We feared for our homes, and wondered when we'd get the news that we'd have to move to a smaller home. We then feared for our parents, worrying that a divorce could come from the financial stress that parents just weren't ready for. We no longer were fearful about looking good enough, we feared that we couldn't afford clothes in general. We experienced sympathy and empathy together. Our parents did their best, and we finally started becoming grateful for every single thing they did, and do, for us.
Oh, high school. Unbeknownst to me then, this played a major part in my life now looking back. Fun fact! Everyone else is the same way, whether you've realized that or not. There were some whose life revolved around studying, and others (@me) whose life had no center of orbit. Some were fearful of not getting accepted into their university of choice, fearful of student loans, and fearful of losing their beloved friends that they grew up with. Others were fearful of what the hell tomorrow was going to bring. Seriously! Some of us really had no idea what in the actual H-E-double hockey sticks we were going to do with our lives. We were fearful of being rejected by societal norms. Fearful of disappointing our families, and never being enough. Some feared not reaching their dreams, and some feared if they'd ever have a true "dream". We became fearful of the future. We realized life wasn't about today, and that tomorrow was closer than the hour before. Life started to have a meaning, and those meanings brought on some of our biggests doubts about ourselves. Mostly everyone graduates, and moves on with their life. We overcame the fear of "what-if?", in regards to life after graduation. We accepted where we were, and either kept moving forward, and frankly, some of us stayed right where we were.
And today, we are here. Some of us are meteorologists, some are doctors. Some are in the military, in ranks and places across the board. Some are homeless, and some are still with mom and dad. Our fears didn't stop in high school, now we're fearful for the majority of others. A few fear their life in general, and some fear for their family members who are sick. Others fear for their children, the life they will live in the world we live in today, and what it will become for them. They fear for their safety, and if they'll be successful enough to one day have children of their own. We fear for people we drive by on the way to work, who were in a rollover accident that isn't looking too promising. Then we end up fearing our own drive to work! Fears at work arise, such as not being "extra" enough to receive that promotion, or even being good enough to get hired in the first place. Our adult life is oftentimes, sadly run by our fears. We end up living only to survive our fears, instead of living our dreams. But we forget about all the fears we grew and flourished from our pasts. We forget that some days we wore those silly outfits, and made faces back at the cruel girls who judged us, ceasing their judgement. We forget that our parents made due with what they had and worked through hard times to get to the better. We forget that we have overcome every fear we've had, and we will continue to do so until the moment we die.
This life isn't meant to be controlled by fear, but to be driven by dreams. Once we as individuals realize that, we have the ability to grasp onto our life and forget the word "fear" even existed. We start living for the moment responsibly, because we know that nothing tomorrow brings is something that we cannot handle. We start to truly live.