Friday, April 1, 2011

Should we Fear or should we LIVE

Now that I am temporarily living back home, I get the pleasure (it truly is a pleasure) of spending extra time with my little sister. Especially this week because she is on spring break.

Spending time with her today was particularly interesting as I realized she is afraid. And when I say afraid, I mean she is not only overly cautious, but also literally paranoid about everything. She won't walk by certain houses because they "look creepy." She got scared while walking the dog because another person wearing a hood was also walking on the road (as a reminder - it has been in the low 30s here, so really, she was the weird one by NOT wearing a hood.) We went to Circle K and there were some men standing outside, they were roughly in their late teens and early twenties and they were just standing there, drinking coffee and talking. I was just running in to grab something so I left the car running (again its cold...) when I came back she was pretty freaked out. Why? Because "guys dressed like that" scare her.

And that got me thinking. How can I explain to her that by spending all of her time being afraid of things and avoiding situations because she "might" get hurt or something along those lines that she isn't truly living? She is 12, it is important for her to be cautious in some situations and be aware of her surroundings, but there is a difference between being cautious and being so fearful, that one cannot live their life.

I personally have dealt with being overly fearful and it is not enjoyable. Luckily it hasn't been long and I can already see the flaw in it and am working hard to change it. I fear death. I don't know why - but the idea of mortality actually scares me. I am realizing (again, thankfully I haven't dealt with this fear long) that by worrying and fearing death I am not LIVING! If I die in two weeks, will I have lived every minute of those two weeks to their fullest? What does it mean to really "Live" your life to the fullest? For me, it means constantly working. Working on being a better person, physically, mentally and emotionally. It means helping people, being compassionate. Loving more than other people think is possible. It goes on and on. There are so many ways to live rather than fear.

Something else has also happened that makes me fear less. That is awareness. I am aware that I am being "too" worried and cautious. I feel like there are signs all around me telling me to just LIVE.

I have found that things happen in life just when you need them to. You might get a message from a friend on a day you really need someone to reach out. You might stumble across something that just speaks to you and helps open your mind. And that is precisely what has happened for JT and me. We are both again at that point where we're done talking about fitness and weightloss and just doing it. JT signed up for the Tough Mudder next Oct. Part of that was finding other pages like the "spartan race" etc... well, on one of those pages we came across the blog I've previously mentioned "Living Myself to Death" It is literally like someone in the know realized the issues we were both having and got this guy to start blogging about them. I find myself living exactly what he blogs about. Today's blog is titled "Lots of time to do nothing when you are dead." And he basically just explains the importance of not fearing your life away. He says listen, we're all going to die so really LIVE while you can. It is exactly what we all need to hear sometimes. It is what I've needed to hear the last few months during this ridiculous anxiety i've been experiencing. He also always has great quotes that apply exactly to what he is trying to get across. Here is one.

"It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth - and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up - that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had."
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

So this post today is meant to cover several things. First, fear. Why do we fear? How can we stop being so afraid of something happening and just take the leap we need to to actually LIVE? How can we help our children stop being so afraid of things all of the time? In a world where there is so much chaos and uncertainty, how can we let them know that we need them to go into the future fearlessly so that they can hopefully right our wrongs?

Another point of this blog today is to ask you to notice when things happen in your life for a reason. Look at the bad in your life and think about the good that came from it. But also, notice when that friend reaches out just when you need it. Realize that sometimes you stumble on things and receive messages so that you can hear exactly what you need to. Whether it is to stop fearing the inevitable, or to look at your situations in a more positive light or that life is truly and gift and it is important that you realize that and cherish it - just notice.

So today I will leave you with this -

"The moment one commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of incidents and meetings and material assistance which no one could have dreamed would come his or her way." -Geothe


"We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our historical epoch, the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time and conditions of our death. But within this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we live. " - unknown


  1. Thank you, Heather, for this. You are so right. Sadly, sometimes it takes losing someone to realize that we are still here & we need to live our life to the fullest extent possible. We don't know which day will be our last on this Earth. I hope you are able to help your sister the way you want to & that she comes to realize this as well. I'm here for you if you ever need anything! I love you!

  2. I would encourage you and your sister both to explore the philosophy of the "Absurd" which was mastered by Albert Camus, my favorite writer. The concept of embracing the absurdity of the 'human experience' instead of being always worried and scared is extremely liberating.

  3. Ironically I am not afraid of dying, but I am TERRIFIED of Allen dying. I know it sounds cheesy but its true! I also fear waking up one day 20 years from now and realizing my life is halfway over and I've spent most of it just worrying and focused on my stupid to-do lists instead of just ENJOYING life. So frustrating! You're right, I just need to commit to ENJOYING my life each day to the fullest, and not letting work, Melissa, finances, etc get me down!!