Thursday, January 03, 2013

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”

― Mark Twain

The greatest feelings I have had came from conquering my fears. From sailing to snowboarding to windsurfing to surfing to getting married to buying a house to having a child.

When I was ten, a blowhard, know-it-all neighbor offered to grace us with his sailing expertise with our new 14-foot sailboat on a scary, dark, cloudy and windy day in November on Lake Michigan. 

The douche-bag proceeds to capsize us - not an easy task in such a wide and slow family picnic boat - and sent us clinging for our lives in icy waters hanging on the the rails for dear life. 

For the rest of that winter, I couldn't bring myself to look at the endless dark block of ice that was Lake Michigan, because I kept imagining my body at the bottom. 

To call what I felt about sailing a phobia is to give it a trite, psycho-babble cliche. My fear was paralyzing. My fear had a life of its own. 

But because I loved my dad very much, and I knew sailing with him was important to him, I forced myself to get over my fear. 

When I did get over my fear, I discovered a great lesson: when you overcome a fear, it not only results in incredible pride, it creates its own  passion. Suddenly sailing was something I could not get enough. Each time we went out and I didn't drown, it confirmed my bravery. 

Lack of fear is idiocy. Overcoming fear is bravery.