The idea of it terrifies you. Thinking about it makes your breathing erratic and your palms sweaty in just an instant. You feel anxious and cold and nervous.
It’s the only thing you can think about. You obsess over it, constantly. Day and night. All the time. Thinking, pondering, trying to figure out why you want it so badly and wondering if there’s anything easier you could do that would satisfy your wants and your curiosity.
And even though thinking about this thing makes you feel nervous, you also feel restless and antsy and panicky over how badly you want to do it.
It doesn’t matter what it is, the thing you are so desperate to do but are simultaneously so afraid of. It could be skydiving or windsurfing. It could be stand-up comedy or dancing or acting or applying for the job in a foreign field. It could be writing or painting or starting your own business or learning how to design clothes or studying a new language.
It does matter how crazy or how physical or how seemingly casual it is. It’s whatever gets your blood going. The thing that, for some reason, you are too scared to do. But the thing that you cannot take your mind off of.
You’re probably scared of failing or of hurting yourself or of making a mistake or finding out you can’t do it. You’re probably scared of admitting it to yourself that you want it. You’re probably scared of the fact that it will force you out of your comfort zone and it will make you feel out of sync with your normal life. You will be forced to try something you are not already good at, something you don’t know how to do.
But at the root of all of it, you’re afraid of embarrassing yourself.
There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s in our wiring – to feel like everyone around us is watching and waiting for us to fail. To worry that we’re going to let down the people that are counting on us. To obsess over looking silly or foolish or like a failure in front of people we admire, as well as people we don’t even care about.
Whatever category your fear falls into, it’s always going to force you to put yourself out there. To walk across the tightrope with no safety net beneath you. To admit you want something desperately, in front of other people, knowing that if you don’t get it, they will be aware of how badly that it stings you.
But at some point, your fear has to be compartmentalized. Not ignored, but placed in an area of your mind where you can acknowledge that it exists but still act in spite of it.
Because doing the thing that scares you the most, the thing that you obsess over, the thing that you both want and don’t want, is freeing. It releases adrenaline throughout your body. It relieves your mind of the painful obsession of wondering what could have been or how your life would be different if you tried it. It makes you feel excited and alive and exhausted, in a good way. It makes you feel high.
You will have more than one thing in your life that scares you. More than one thing that you will have a strong desire to try. More than one fear that you obsess over until you can conquer it. But in a way, that’s a beautiful thing. Because that means a life of excitement. A life of walking a tight rope. A life of feeling your heart race and getting your blood pumping and feeling that adrenaline rushing through your body. A life that is the opposite of boring, the opposite of nothing. It’s a life of getting high, and there’s nothing more thrilling than that.