“What if it doesn’t work out?
“What if it does?”
Fear is paralyzing.
When we have to make a decision, the fear of making the wrong one can often impede our ability to make a decision at all. Sometimes, that fear can steer us into making the safe decision. The “responsible” decision. The one we already know the outcome of.
But sometimes, making the decision we’re afraid of can be the most rewarding.
I was afraid to move away from home. Petrified, actually. The idea of moving out had me breaking down before the time even came. But I knew in my heart that I was unhappy with where I was, geographically speaking. My parents wanted me to stay close to home, making it easier for us to see each other. Of course, I wanted to be able to see them as much as possible, but I knew that my heart was aching to go elsewhere. So I did it. I applied to colleges out of state and moved more than 500 miles away to North Carolina. I found myself there and had experiences I will cherish in the heart for the rest of my life.
Growing up, I’d never been one for relationships. In fact, I avoided them. I found them to be a waste of time at such a young age. If I wasn’t ready to find the person I wanted to spend my life with, what was the point, right? So when I got to college and started to fall in love, I put my guard up. I pushed him away and protected my heart with the hard exterior I’d developed over the years. But eventually, regardless of how vulnerable and fearful it made me, I let my guard down, and I learned more about myself than I ever thought possible. While our relationship came to an end three years later, it was still a significant part of my life that I grew and learned from. My decision to open my heart, as frightening as it might have been, was worth it in the end.
As a senior in college, I began fostering animals for the local animal shelter. Predictably, I became strongly attached to one of my foster kittens. I started to think about whether or not I could realistically adopt him. I was still a student; I had a job, but not full-time, and I worried about whether or not it was irresponsible of me to take him in permanently. Once I did the math and realized it was feasible, I took the plunge. I walked into the shelter and adopted him; his name is Ollie. Since then, he’s become a part of my life that I couldn’t imagine being without. His quick-stepped pitter-patter down the stairs to greet me every time I come home warms my heart and I’m grateful for him every single day.
My point here is that, yes, change is scary. It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do, especially if it’s not something you have to do. When it’s forced on you, you have no choice but to accept it. But consciously making the decision to change your life is difficult. Stability is comforting. But change is rewarding.
Take a chance. Buy the plane ticket and take that trip you’ve always dreamed of. The barista who already memorized your morning coffee order? Ask him out. Cross an item off your bucket list you never thought you’d actually do. Apply for that job, even if it’s 2,000 miles away. Go to the party. Speak up against injustice, even if your voice shakes.
That fear you’re feeling? It’s not a pit in your stomach. It’s your heart trying to take the leap. Let it.