Feeling the Fear

Photographer in hat
Jesse Francis        Photographer / Artist

Tonight I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. My mind had started churning and doing its’  own thing, as it does far too often anymore.  I finally drug myself out of bed, and staggered to my keyboard. I feel compelled to write about something that seems quite fitting to write about in the dark of the night. Fear. Specifically, my fear.

The fear is keeping me awake tonight.  For those of you who don’t know much about me, I’m 63 years old as of January and attempting to do a restart on my life. I know! 63 years old. What the hell am I  trying to do by having a do-over at my age? I should be sitting around and doing nothing like so many of the other retirees I see. I’ve tried. Lord knows I’ve tried just sitting around, doing nothing,  just watching TV and reading all day long.  I’m actually pretty good at it. For a while. I don’t know whether I can’t do it, or I just feel too guilty to sit around like that.  All I know is that I spent almost 20 years of my life driving truck cross-country. Getting home only 45 days out of the year, losing my wife of 35+ years in the process. For what?  Nothing! The job wasn’t worth it. Not even close to being a fair exchange of their money for my time, my life.  Not for the life style a long haul trucker and their family has to endure.

I had always dreamed about being a photographer and a writer, but the fear..it whispers in my ear,  echoes in my mind, constantly trying to seduce me, to convince me, that I’m too old to start something new. That I don’t have enough time left before the creator decides my expiration date has expired. So don’t try.  Just relax like everybody else. People will laugh at me, they’ll tell me that I have no talent. That I’m wasting my time even trying. Just give up. Accept it.  Except, I can’t! I don’t know why I can’t, I just can’t.  The fear keeps me up at night. The fear of rejection, of humiliation. The fear also keeps me from trying something new, sometimes.

I’ve dealt with fear as a constant companion even when I was successful at something. Absolutely sure that someone would expose me for the fraud I was.  I’m guessing that a few of you know exactly what I’m talking about. You have your own voices. Your own fears. We all deal with our fears at some point, somehow.

I’m going to stop here for tonight. I could probably make a book out of everything I’m feeling, but I don’t want to bore you and put you to sleep.  I know it’s nothing that others haven’t dealt with before, but it’s happening to me, so that makes it personal. I just don’t want to leave this world with nothing to show for the time and sacrifices that have been made to get to this point.  I want to leave my family some tangible memories that I was more than a truck driver, more than an occasional visitor to the home they grew up in. Something that they can point to with pride and say, my dad did that.



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