Embracing the Fear

As far back as I can remember, my greatest fear was of drowning. As a child on a family holiday I stepped out too deep into the ocean in Ambalangoda (a small coastal town in Sri Lanka, that we were visiting with our neighbours). Thankfully someone noticed me go under, and pulled me out as I spluttered and struggled, terrified in the depths. I believe this is the fear that overtakes me each time I view water that is potentially higher than waist deep.

Choosing to live on a boat seems a very surprising and even insane choice for someone who can’t swim. Why would I go live on a boat surrounded by water that is often deeper than I am tall?

Jalaluddin Rumi said it best – “Forget safety. Live where you fear to live.”

I have often mourned the 20 year old, new migrant, that I was who decided that FOMO (the fear of missing out) and the need to make friends, was greater than the fear she had of deep water and caused her to launch out at Island Pool holding tightly to a boogie board, while the other carefree young people cavorted in the deeper water. I mourn the 34 year old mother of young children that I was who decided to jump off the 3m diving board at Kulin’s swimming pool one summer, fully trusting that her husband would get her to the surface before she drowned. Or even the 40 something woman I was that actually thought deep water running would be a great form of exercise when her, naturally buoyant, friend suggested it.

There’s been a dearth of brave (or some may say crazy or irresponsible) acts from me in recent years. I wanted to stop mourning that younger, and more game self who seemed to ‘just do it’.  I wanted to see what these teenagers were on about with their YOLO (you only live once) mindset. There’s no point dreaming big dreams, if there are no big actions to match it.

So when Big Ben suggested for the umpteenth time that we go live on our boat, and discover the joy of living with less, I said YES! It was definitely a ‘never or now’ moment for me.

Mark Twain said “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the Tradewinds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

I am realising the importance of facing my fears and launching out into the deep each day that I sit here getting in touch with the person I want to be (gradually learning to tread water!).

I want to stop waiting. Stop waiting for that perfect moment, the perfect situation. I want to stop the excuses, the constant ifs and buts. I want to pursue my life, to stop playing small, to stop playing safe and JUST DO IT! However imperfect my effort is, I don’t believe I will ever regret that!


One of my imperfect artworks
 Swimming (ummm … kind of treading water) with swans😜

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