Fear seems to be something people don't like to talk about. Photo: archive

What nobody asked me

Part II of the FAQ – with a question that nobody has asked me except myself. Its answer occupies more room than all the top 10 questions put together: Are you in doubt/fear?

There was more than one night when I sat upright in bed, suddenly awakened from sleep, wondering myself: “Are you totally crazy?” Giving up everything, my friends, my job, my apartment, the comfortable life I’ve had so far? In such moments, I calmed myself, shook my pillow, turned around and made myself aware: I’m not giving up, I’m just taking a break to discover something new. I will see so many exciting things, I will meet people, hear interesting stories, learn new things. And thanks to the internet and social media my friends are always there, too.

There were also days when I was scared. Not scared of the journey itself, but rather of what comes next. What if I can’t find a new job fast enough? What if I never find a job again? If nobody wants to hire me, because I’m somehow too weird and too unconventional for the German job market? What if I run out of money, I have to move out of my home and I can’t fulfill all the dreams that I have left? And besides the basic financial things: What if I can’t bear being in Germany anymore? What if my friends leave the city while I’m gone? What of we develop in different directions and don’t get together anymore? What if I lose my mainstays and my family of choice?

In such moments wild anticipation stood beside great fear. A self-confident “I can’t wait to go” was next to an uncertain “and then what?” These were the moments in which I had to breathe deeply and sometimes had to look at the situation from the outside: how likely is it that all this actually happens? Rather unlikely, I think. Then I remembered a quote from the Australian poet Erin Hanson:

“There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask “What if I fall?”
Oh but my darling,
What if you fly?”
– Erin Hanson

Mindfulness, for me, is the key to perceiving situations, feelings, and thoughts before the thoughts go round. But it also helps to subject everything that happens in the inside to a kind of reality check from the outside.

It can happen that I fall symbolically. But is that a reason not to fulfill my dream of traveling around the world? Certainly not. Because if I fly symbolically, I only know, if I try it. I think it’s important that I’m aware of what can happen prior to but also during the journey. This helps me to be attentive, take precautions wherever it makes sense and is possible. “Life can’t be planned, life just happens,” my dear friend Sandra recently said. And she is so right. Things are coming as they are supposed to. So let’s see what awaits me.

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