A woman once told me she never made left turns when she drove. “Never?” I asked incredulously. “Never,” she affirmed. “That must be somewhat limiting,” I remember saying.
I suppose we all have things that limit us.
One of mine is a fear of heights which I discovered when I climbed to the top of a pyramid near Mexico City. Getting to the top was no problem, but when I turned to go down and realized there was no handrail, I was paralyzed by fear. Someone offered me a hand, but I could not force myself to take that first step, and finally had to butt-walk down the steps.
Anyway, I thought of the woman who never made left turns when I was expressway driving four evenings last week, including two airport runs, one during rush hour.
Driving long distances is not my favorite thing to do, but it is one of those things that is a measure of my confidence level. When I was younger, I drove by myself from Philadelphia to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, more than 1,600 miles each way—and I did that trip several times. Last fall, I drove to northern Michigan, about 250 miles each way, which is a more manageable trip for me now.
I was somewhat fearless in my youth, and hopefully I have gained enough wisdom to know what is prudent to do versus what is just plain foolish. What I don’t want to do, though, is to limit myself because of irrational fears.
I like to travel and am perfectly willing to travel by myself, by car or plane.
A few years ago, I went to the Cotswolds by myself, and the first day I went hiking, I realized it was foolish to come without a cell phone or trekking sticks—not out of some irrational fear, but rather because it is more prudent to carry a phone and stick.
I don’t watch the news on tv, but I hear enough to know that lots of fearmongering goes on—from the news snippets I hear on the car radio and the mailings I get for security systems and identity theft protection.
Crime happens everywhere, and in our country, it seems that one is as likely to get shot in a school as almost anywhere else.
Agreeing to the nonprofit fundraiser dance a few months ago helped me see how I had been putting limitations on my life, because my dance lessons were in the evenings and some nights dancing didn’t start until 8:30, which is when I am usually settling in with my knitting or a book. I had to challenge myself to go out at night.
I am glad I did because a whole new world has opened to me, one I would have missed if I had insisted on my being home by dark.
I want to keep challenging irrational fears so that I am living my life to the fullest, and trusting that the best is yet to come.