A Thought As I Turn 33 Today: Fear is a Crappy Friend

Today I am 33.

Barring any disaster, I will have lived longer than Jesus. Of course, I won’t accomplish as much as he did while he was on earth. But, he is God and I’m not. So there’s that.

33. It’s a weird age. I’m not young. Nor am I old. I’m in between. But in between what? I don’t know. Life and death? How morbid.

Last week, at a youth camp, I called one of the kids Jazzy Jeff (because her name was Jazz and I make up stupid nicknames to remember people’s names better) and she looked at me completely clueless.

You know…? Fresh Prince? Jazzy Jeff? I tried to explain.

She had no idea. She knew who Will Smith was — as “Jaden’s dad!” *face palm*

Damn you pop culture references for being so irrelevant outside of one year- and for always revealing my age.

Anyway, at 33, I’ve had my fair share of valuable lessons learned. And at this age, I’ve been able to teach and share valuable lessons as well.

One of the things I am learning is how crappy of a friend Fear is.

We’re lifelong friends, Fear and I. But he’s never been good to me. More often than not, he has held me back from doing things.

At the tender age of 10, I decided that I wanted to make French Toast. On my own.

No one told me that having lots of oil in the pan was a bad thing. So, I poured a lot of oil into that pan. And as soon as that battered egg soaked bread hit the pan, grease flew everywhere. Luckily, I covered my eyes just in time, as I had grease burns all up on my forearms that shielded my eyes. The rest of my face was covered in grease/oil or whatever burns. And I spent that night in the ER.

Of course — of course — the following day was picture day. The photographer called me Ninja Turtle and Donatello because of the black spots that covered my face. Looking back, that photographer was a jerk. Who says that to a 10 year old? And Donatello? How insulting. I’m definitely a Leonardo!

But to this very day, when grease pops (is that the right term?) in the pan, I still feel a tingle in my spine. I mean, what the heck? That was 23 years ago. Why am I not over it?

I also have a fear of speed bumps. But I’m slowly getting over them. (Rim shot! … no? Not funny? Pssh)

Fear holds on tightly to my hand and refuses to let go. He’ll whisper all sorts of nonsense in my ear — and I’ll listen. Even if he doesn’t make any sense.

For instance, I have an admiration for surfers. I like hearing stories of surfers and the peace that they find being in the water. Or the thrill that’s indescribable and incomparable when catching that wave.

I want to experience that. I want to live that — not hear about it. I want to know what it’s like to catch that wave and the thrill and joy that accompanies riding a wave.

But here’s the thing. I have this deep, deep fear of sharks. It originated from watching Jaws. I remember after watching Jaws, I was afraid to go into my grandfather’s swimming pool because I was worried that there might be sharks just at the spot where the deep end began; where you couldn’t see much, because the pool dipped. Never mind the fact that it’s a pool. With chlorine. I knew that.
But Fear would always whisper… “what if… what if there was a mutant shark that can survive in that pool and lurks at the point where you can’t see, begging you to come its way…”
“But, how would it make it to the pool in the first place?”
“Shhh… you might wake it up.”
Fear never cared for logic… (btw, this was a real thought that ran through my 12 year old brain)

But here’s the stupid thing. I love Shark Week. Love Shark Week. I know too many stupid facts about sharks. But Shark Week further cements this irrational fear of sharks.
Yet, I can’t stop watching stupid shark attack videos even though they leave me with a chill that goes deeper than the marrows of my bones.

I’m also not a great swimmer. Drowning is one of the worst ways I can think of dying. And being burned alive. And being caught in a crashing plane. And being executed. And dying slowly and painfully. And being eaten by an animal… or a person… alive. And being buried alive. And… basically anything outside of dying in my sleep…

If I get caught in a current, I don’t know if I’d have the skills to swim to safety. And then I could run … swim …into a shark. I have this weird thought that I’d have a fighter’s chance of surviving an encounter with a bear. Or a lion. Or a tiger. (oh my) But a shark? My only prayer is that it’ll swallow me whole. Then, I’d make a raft out of the junk it ate. Then start a fire and have it cough me out, catching a wave (whooo!) on that raft I pieced together.

One of these days I hope to conquer this stupid fear and experience the thrill of catching a wave. But, I’m not in too much of a hurry to do so. Consider it placed on my bucket list.

I guess one of the things I can work on this year is to not let Fear be the deciding factor in my life.

A little dose of Fear is good, as it’ll keep one on their toes; keep one sharp and alert. But too much Fear may leave one paralyzed and immobile.

So here’s to another year full of love and blessings. Of joys and lessons. Of having a healthy relationship with Fear and not one where he is possessive. Although, if I ignore Fear altogether, I may not have a 34th birthday…

Anyway, thank you for all your birthday wishes.

And, as always, I am grateful that you take time to read my silly thoughts.

2 thoughts on “A Thought As I Turn 33 Today: Fear is a Crappy Friend

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