My Fear Can Kick My Other Fear’s Ass

by Kim on January 22, 2012 · 72 comments

Why does this photo make me giggle?  Flickr creative commons by TheMalt.  

I have big and small fears about quitting my job to travel.  I worry about money, about health insurance.  I worry that I won’t be able to make a living doing what I love and that I’ll have to go back to a cubicle.   I worry, to a lesser extent, about our safety.  These are little puppy dog fears, they bark and nip at my ankles, but they’re easily kicked aside.  (No people, I don’t really kick animals.  I don’t even eat them).

But then there is this one great fear that I have, it runs through my head before I go to sleep at night and pops up at unexpected times, causing my heart to flip-flop at the thought of it:

What if the idea of following my dreams is better than the reality of it?

What if the wanting is better than the having?  

There is a quote by none other than that ferocious beast Winnie the Pooh that’s really been scaring the crap out of me lately:

“‘Well’, said Pooh, ‘what I like best’, and then he had to stop and think.  Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” 

Scary, huh?

It seems silly that this is the thing that keeps me up at night and not other, more rational, concerns.  Malaria? Natural disasters?  Getting robbed of all of my possessions?  Meh.  Being mauled to death by grizzly bears?  Okay, yes, that one keeps me up at night too.

I have spent almost all of my free time for two years planning this big adventure.  When I’m not working on the trip I’m working on the blog.  When I’m not working on the blog I’m taking notes for other writing projects, I’m plotting my future, I’m visualizing the kind of life that I want to lead and figuring out how to get there.  I am all in.  

I know that the process is part of the fun, and it has been fun.  Scrimping, saving, sacrificing- it all makes each milestone we reach sweeter.  The anticipation builds and builds and – that’s the part that I’m afraid of.  That I’ve built this next chapter so high that it can’t possibly live up to my expectations.

I know that there is only one way to find out if this fear is real or unfounded and that’s to live it.  Soon, so soon, I will.  

For others that have been in my shoes, I would love to hear your take on this topic.  Did you fear that the idea of living your dream was better than actually living it?  Has it been?