To be more courageous

That’s my resolution. It only took me almost the entire first month of the year to think about it and write it down here. (I’ve been meaning to include nixing my habit of procrastination but I just keep putting it off.)

Like most people, I find it easy to get into the habit of things and get comfortable, but then I get too comfortable and suddenly find myself too afraid to get out of whatever cozy, safe routine I’ve established. But when I think about the happiest or most exhilarating moments of my life so far, they are often the ones when I took a risk and did something I was scared of. Like leaving a high-paying corporate job after graduating from university to take up a short course in film (film and I didn’t work out, but because of it I discovered I really wanted to seriously pursue writing). Or in relationships, from telling someone how you feel though you’re not completely sure he feels the same way to making that commitment.

Or even travel, which seems like such a completely pleasant thing to do but I used to get scared of being away from home. Of being in a foreign place. Of getting into that plane or boat. And once there, getting out of the hotel room. But I would do them, just because the excitement of seeing something new far outweighed the fear. Albert Camus had it right when he wrote: “What gives value to travel is fear. It is the fact that, at a certain moment, when we are so far from our own country, we are seized by a vague fear, and an instinctive desire to go back to the protection of old habits…This is why we should not say that we travel for pleasure… It is more an occasion for spiritual testing…” And facing that fear often, I eventually realized, made it less unnerving.

(Plus, this post from travel blog, Everywhere Once, is a great read on “How to Become Fearless“)

(Photo by my sister Mabi David)

I imagine that facing one’s fear is akin to climbing a big mountain: overwhelming in scale, but like most goals need to be faced one step at a time. (Photo of Mount Kinabalu by Mabi David)

And writing. Sitting down to write those stories I’ve always wanted to write scares me the most. Every time. This blog is a small step to be less afraid of my own voice, I guess. It reminds me that I need to write more. In here, but especially beyond it. I have started something. Don’t know what to call it yet. There’s such a long way to go and I’m honestly scared I won’t finish it, that I’ll fail. There it is. That deep-seated fear of failure. A fear that keeps one safely in the middle, which certainly feeds on one’s need for control (ahem). So, these days I’ve been reminding myself more often that I just have to do my part. Sit down and write and let the rest (the fears, the control issues) go. That never even opening that word file is worse than failure. I really hope promise to be more courageous. Wish me luck.

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