My Greatest Fear

Recently, I found a dog-eared handwritten essay of mine from 7th grade that detailed “My Greatest Fear.” It wasn’t heights or success or bats, which are just a few things that still scare me. It was about being and remaining insignificant, unimportant, forgettable.

Once in a while I wonder, in the quiet of the night or a morning in front of my computer in my pajamas, what, if anything, about me will be remembered. Will my words add any value? Will they resonate? Will anything I’ve done make the world better? (Geez, I even wonder that now.)

As a kid, the word “accomplish” was tossed around a lot in our house. But it was more of a daily commitment to completing tasks: cooking, cleaning, doing your homework. It wasn’t the grand scale achievement I’d alluded to in my guileless essay.

Life then wasn’t as much about purpose or legacy as personal responsibility and survival. And I wasn’t clear in my composition about what I’d be doing exactly to avoid obscurity. It was more of a big picture ideal.

In college, I realized, after fleeting thoughts of movies and television, that I could write. I’ve been fortunate enough to use this skill to report, promote, educate, and occasionally entertain. It’s given me a modest living.

But looking back on the words of my sweet younger self I think it’s time I should aspire to more. It may not be just one project, like my novel-in-progress, but a commitment to consistently create. And not let fear stand in my way.

 

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
— Earl Nightingale

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Potholes

Just sit down and do it. That’s what the voices kept saying. One of them my own. I’d found every excuse to keep me from the goals I’d given myself five years ago. I’d left full-time work to finish my novel and be with my daughter. I don’t regret the decision, because my daughter, well, she’s amazing. And she isn’t a baby. She’s 14. See I missed the toddler stuff, so I vowed I’d be there for the teenage years.

But what about my novel? Well, it hasn’t quite turned out as I planned. The first year, I started out strong. And even the second and third. I wrote about 96,000 words (maybe 50,000 usable ones). I also blogged pretty consistently. I completed a children’s book manuscript and a couple of short stories. Then, the last two years, I got lazy, I got sad, I got lonely. I even let the blog go. I didn’t sit down and do it.

Now, I’m beginning again. I could be high from the recent Eagles win, but I’m telling myself it’s like riding a bike. I’ll just put my feet on the pedals and keep moving forward. I just need to pace myself and watch out for potholes.