Years ago I was a member of a small improv group. We had all trained together with a truly brilliant teacher who taught us over several years the skill sets of improvisational acting, one of which, perhaps foremost , was trust.
An early organizational meeting brought this subject up and one of my fellow actors took it a step further. “Anytime I am afraid to do something,” he said “I take at as a sign that that in fact is the thing I need to do.”
My first take was this was one of the crazier things I had ever heard. But I thought about it…and thought about it some more and eventually it became a belief of mine. And it has never led down a bad path.
I think that especially as we move out of our 20s and 30s and into the decades beyond we become increasingly risk averse. There would be I imagine very good evolutionary rationale for this , especially when life expectancy was half of what it is today – one would have been very wise to take cover by the advanced age of 40, But we have changed biologically and this unchanged penchant for safety can make our individual world suffocatingly small if left unchecked.
For me anyway, this means having to make determined efforts to fight against fear and my inclination to stay safe and small.It can involve large fears and small ones and I find I have to do it all the time…and it never gets easier. You would think it would wouldn’t you?!
Unlike an adrenaline junkie, which I am emphatically not, I tend to swallow my fears like cod liver oil, trying to ignore the sensation for the sake of it being good for me. And I know it is, I end up unfailingly enriched by the new experience.
I leave shortly to join my husband who is finishing up a business trip in Vietnam for what sounds like a wonderful and adventurous vacation. It has been ages since the two of us were away together just us two and I am thrilled at the prospect.
I am also petrified. I got my vaccinations late…so I am not completely protected against exotic disease, I am traveling by myself over 30 hours and multiple connections with a visa to score at midnight in a strange (to me) country, I am counting on a person I have never met from Vietnam to have all the complicated pieces of our stay well put together and I am flying through the Seoul airport at a time when the North really has its panties in a twist over the failed missile launch and attendant sanctions.
There are plenty of bigger things to be scared by but this all happens to scare me plenty big.
But, off I go, backing out not even a remote option… I wouldn’t miss it for the (size of my) world …
Wish me luck!