Often people hear about something I’ve done, especially on my own, and they remark, “I’d never be brave enough to do that.”
The remark puzzles me on several levels, mostly because none of these things seem all that brave to me.
For as much as I’ve tackled world travel and home repairs and mortgage negotiations on my own, there were born (in both senses of the word) out of necessity.
The other reason I don’t feel brave? There are so many places I haven’t gone and things I haven’t done.
Yesterday a friend suggested we go to a park I’ve been to a million times. “Let’s go by the lighthouse,” she said.
I used to live next to this park. I walked around it nearly every day for two years. But that was the kicker. I walked along its edges. This urban park is fairly heavily wooded in sections. It’s quiet except for the sound of the waves crashing in Lake Michigan and traffic on Lakeshore Drive.
Its dark wooded paths scared me more than they ever called to me.
The irony? I would cheerfully backpack alone through true wilderness but I won’t dare getting mugged or raped 10 minutes from my own home.
Plus, I don’t think I really believed that anything all that beautiful or interesting was there to be seen.
My fear made me blind, and I missed out on something wonderful.
Now, having spent an hour sitting under a gorgeous elm, listening to the waves, marveling at this new vision of an old memory, I wonder what else I don’t let myself see because I don’t believe it. What has fear made me blind to? Where am I living along the edges, settling for safely good enough?
I don’t feel very brave at all.
All photos taken by me, with an iPhone. The lighthouse photo got some Instagram loving.