Lately I’ve been thinking…am I brave?
I always considered myself to be brave. I’ve managed some extremely difficult situations. I’ve tried new things. I’ve gone to new places. I moved away from home to live in a new city with less than $1000 in my pocket. I’ve stood up for myself. I’ve spoken in front of large audiences. I’ve performed to small crowds.
I’ve been brave for my children. I’ve killed the big bugs, held their hands on their first scary amusement park ride, and stood up for them when they needed me. When my daughter had back surgery, she asked me to accompany her into the surgical room to be with her while she was put under anesthesia. I was as scared as I have ever been in my entire life as I led my 10-year-old into surgery. I sat with her and held her hand as they hooked her up to machines and then as they put her to sleep. I never stopped smiling at her and I didn’t cry until she was fully under. A lovely nurse gently pulled my hand from hers, picked me up off of my chair and walked me, weeping, out of the room. I wiped my face and found my husband, putting my smile back in place for him. I was brave.
But lately I’m not feeling so brave. I think it may be my age, it may be my father’s cancer fight, or it may simply be the state of the world we now live in but I feel more anxious and worried than ever before. The list I worry over in the dark of night gets longer and longer. I worry about my health, my husband’s health, my parents’ health. I worry about our finances and the long list of things we need, things we will need, and whether or not we will ever be able to retire. I worry about the kids. Oh do I worry about them. I worry about their present, their futures, and I even worry over things that happened in their pasts. I worry about our safety both locally and globally. I worry, worry, worry, worry….and I’m tired.
I also feel as if the list of things I’m scared of seems to be growing as well. I often play “getting to know you” games with my students. One question that is often asked is “what is something you are scared of?”. Common answers are darkness, ghosts, spiders, and heights. I always participate as well and while I’m not really afraid of spiders (except for those big ones you find in tropical climates), I’ve been finding that I could talk about things that scare me for a good ten minutes. I’m scared of EVERYTHING these days. I’m scared of heights and falling from them and I’m scared of deep water (especially when I’m with my children). I’m scared of fire, close spaces, and paranormal activity (yes, I believe it exists). I’m scared to fly, I’m scared to walk through a dark parking lot, and some days I’m scared to send my children to school.
I’m scared of life without my parents.
I’m scared of change.
As I hurtle through this stage of my life I’m beginning to understand that I’m going to experience some changes and I’m going to need to make some changes. My parents are aging, I’m aging, and my kids are aging. Life seems to be changing before my eyes and I’m being encouraged and sometimes pushed into making some changes that will probably make my life better, happier…different. Big changes. And I’m scared. I’m not feeling very brave. And the clock keeps ticking…
So I need to get my brave back. I need to fire myself up again. I can be brave. I HAVE been brave. I’ve kicked some serious ass. I’ve slayed my share of dragons. And I can do that again.
I need to take a deep breath,
open my eyes wide,