I’m scared of dying without being finished but mostly I’m scared of missing the point. Of missing the opportunity that was destined for me, even despite the fact I don’t think the world works quite that way. But fear is irrational until we figure out how to disarm it.
It’s part of my personality type, this ongoing wrestling with the possibility of what is missing that prevents me from finding deepest satisfaction with what is. Although most of the time I’m healthier than that, the risk is always there. It’s a temptation to slip back into an old way of thinking about my life that is no longer true. It’s simply not compatible with the life I have.
I used to think I was afraid of being alone but in reality, I’m no more or less alone than most other people. I just thought I was afraid of being alone because everybody else seemed to be. Now I think they just didn’t realise how alone they already were. We’re all alone, just us inside our heads. Some of us do a better job than others of working out way out and into conversation, but for the most part, we live alone inside our heads.
We might live into a family unit, but each of us sees life entirely differently, even when we share experiences we do not share the exact same lens. No pair of siblings have the same parents, each person experiences something different of mother’s or father’s expression and identity in their interactions. For most of us, what we think we’re afraid of is already happening to us in some form. I think it’s helpful, when you know what you’re most afraid of, to be able to identify where it is already happening in some way or form.
I’m afraid of missing the point because I know I’m already wrestling with what I might be missing out on with the sacrifices and choices I have recently made. I’m already living into a reality where missing out is a possibility. But naming anything disempowers it. I’m afraid of missing on something wonderful because I’m distracted by something ordinary. Yet there were no markers to help me navigate towards wonderful.
For me, missing the point would look like getting to the end and feeling like I was still a million little projects strung together. I want my story to have a narrative arc that makes sense – an integrated, beautiful life. A life that breathes deeply for the last half of life. I’ve made too many friends who are forgetting to breathe they are so busy chasing something that I might also be missing out on.
The bravest thing I do is choosing to be brave and breathe and let what is uncomfortable take it’s time.I don’t want to feel like I’ve missed out on something but fear can paralyse me in place so I miss out anyway. So if I am to believe the Stoics, the way through my discomfort is to follow the discomfort. Embracing experiences regardless of agreed and acceptable amendments. So here I am, terrified of missing out on something but choosing a course inevitably bound for disaster anyway. Because we have to keep trying, even if we miss the point the first time.