There is a debilitating escalation of fear as we age. The fear that we are not meeting some unknown step along the way. The fear that tomorrow is coming faster than yesterday and it chases us towards finish lines we define broadly, without care, or worse: by someone else’s measure. I have felt this fear at various times in various parts of my life: relationships, work, health, wellness. Each piece taking up too much space to handle.
It’s funny how that as we age we also gain a fair amount of perspective. The perspective comes from making it through, day after day, surviving life and all. And, we gain ground. We begin rethinking the rush to perfect things, the desire to fill our lives with meaningless activity, and the wishful finish lines. Each life event helps us see that we can navigate forward, and with the caution of lessons learned: we do.
“You can’t test courage cautiously.”
~ Annie Dillard
Learned caution holds us back; gingerly feeling for the edges of life rather than grapsing it fully in our fists. Making the safe bets. Moving when all things have been considered and never leaving the safety of the known. I’ve lived here. I’ve let this maxim gain footing in my mind through my own fear (what caution really is) or eating a few too many meals of someone else’s. I’ve lived bloated with caution for a long time and it is time to let it go. The process is somewhat forgotten, but the intent is human: LIVE.
I’m not sure what it means to expand my life to live courageously. I live well, I love deeply, I am living, and yet I am hemmed. Subdued in my aims. Playing the safer long game. Now? Well, now I’m curious.
Soul searching. Life determining. Courage testing. Here I come.