My legs start to hurt after minutes of running.
In my mind, both legs are moving like crazy, but that doesn’t seem to get me too far.
I’m trying to run as fast as possible, but it’s like I’m moving at a super slow pace. A dog with two sprained legs would’ve outran me at that moment. As slow as I am, though, my lungs feel like exploding. My heart is throbbing so hard, I can feel it.
Then I finally come to the edge of the cliff. Other times, it’s a building and, just like before, my entire body is filled with terror.
My legs stop moving instantly.
Now, it could be inertia or the pull of gravity or the force of the wind at work, I’m not sure. Despite my efforts to keep my balance, I find myself hurtling towards the vast open space below at full mortifying speed.
This is usually the part where I wake up.
It sounds weird, but I’ve been haunted by this kind of dream since I was a kid. Other times, it’s a slightly different scenario: the top of the stairs, a building, or there’s someone chasing me. Still, it has always brought me to a place where I am running from something.
What’s even weirder is that some of my cousins have the same dreams. However, that’s irrelevant. Maybe.
I’ve wondered for years what this means and as I discovered that our thoughts highly influence our present experiences (and past experiences influence our subconscious), I realize that these dreams could’ve been foretelling the answers to my growing pains and problems.
I’m no psychology expert or anything, but I think I was finally able to figure it out. Those dreams were telling me what I needed to do to break free from the problems chaining me. I found out when it was kinda too late, though.
It’s telling me to just jump.
I’ve always been late to a lot of things. I guess it’s a recurring theme for my existence.
Eight times out of ten, I was late in class back in college. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first or second or third class. My class could be at 10am and I would still be running late, even during exams. My speech professor had to call me the Board Director because I’d be sneaking in the classroom when everybody’s already settled in their seats.
It wasn’t fun nor was it something to be proud of, but I had this aversion to being early. For some reason, I was scared of being the first one in any place. I’d rather be late because by then, there’d be others, like friends, and that’s a comforting thought because I just have to catch up. Being the early bird forces you to initiate stuff. And that makes me anxious.
And that’s probably why my life really started late.
I learned to drive in my late 20s.
I got out of college when most of my peers are already settled in their corporate jobs.
I only got to explore and travel when I was almost 30.
My new friends are a lot younger than me.
I was formally employed (and experienced my first company Christmas party) just last year.
I moved out and lived solo during my 30s when most people do so at their 20s.
A lot of the emotions, anxieties, and dramas that normal young adults go through came rushing to me when I hit 30.
I felt like I had a latent quarter life crisis.
It sucks because I’m always late for the party and that means I’d be late to leave for the after party, which means I’d get home a lot later.
My problem with being late is that I still have to get my “chores” done and this delays me. I will be constantly behind schedule simply because I start running several minutes after the gunshot is fired.
Do I like it? No. It infuriates me a lot because I miss out on a lot of things – things that would’ve made me happy. These things, I’m sure, would’ve contributed to my personal growth. This led to regret and a lot of what-ifs.
I’m mad at everyone and everything that caused my delay: domestic responsibilities, financial instability, and bullies. All these made me scared. I’m still scared a lot, actually.
Just like in the dreams, I’m scared that whoever (or whatever) is chasing me will finally catch up and that I get to the end of the path and fall into abyss. Come to think of it: it’s not a win-win situation.
I’m scared to do something I know I need to do because there’s this fear of screwing up and since I’m playing catch up, I can’t waste any more time by not getting it right the first time.
But then I realised: where’s the fun in that?
What’s the use of being on schedule when you’re not enjoying it? It won’t make sense if you don’t have any takeaway.
Our life’s pleasures are directly proportional to the screwups we have. The more we struggle for something, the bigger reward we get.
It won’t happen unless we jump. Or let someone push us off the cliff.
I knew Vince before I met him at an event 3 years ago. I was seated next to him and immediately recognized the name. I don’t like talking to people I don’t know. Small talk and random conversations make me anxious, but for some reason, I found myself talking to him. I can’t remember what I said, but it ended up with an invitation to join WIM.
It took me weeks before I sent him an email. Why? Because I’m scared. Of what, I’m really not sure.
I was also scared of submitting my article about the creepy Halloween characters because I didn’t think it was impressive, but I did anyway.
Turned out our Managing Editor Angeline liked it and it was the reason for my recommendation to be upgraded to Senior status.
It has always been my dream to write for a living – to have control of your time, meet different people, try out different restaurants and experience different things. I am enjoying all these now thanks to WIM.
Had I allowed my fear of nothing kept me from striking up a conversation with our boss that day, which was what I always do, I wouldn’t be writing this now.
If I succumbed to self-doubt, I wouldn’t know how awesome being a Senior Writer is.
If fear had won, I would’ve missed out on a lot of the fun stuff, which is also one of my fears.
So, why am I blabbering about all of this?
So that you’ll know that fear is normal; it’s what you do with it that matters.
We are all scared of something, but letting it control you is a different thing. It’s debilitating.
Fear strips you of time. And that’s the one thing we can’t risk losing.
When you’re afraid, you deprive yourself of time that can be spent learning something awesome and/or experiencing something glorious. Make time. If you feel that you don’t have a lot of time to do the things you think will make you happy, it’s because you’re spending too much time being scared. Be scared for a second and then don’t give a f*ck. Let it be.
Don’t waste time thinking. Just do it.
Make time for what you need (and want) to do now because if you don’t you’ll lose time.
Don’t wait until someone has to push you over the edge. You’re still gonna fall anyway, so why not jump out of your own volition? It’s better that way because you are in control. Nothing feels better than being in control of your own fate, right?
I’m still scared a lot of times these days. But I no longer spend that much time thinking about my fears. If there’s a situation where I needed to jump, I don’t take more than 30 seconds before plunging myself into whatever it is I’m falling into. 30 seconds is way better than 1 minute.
That’s 30 more seconds to feel exhilaration and nervous excitement.
30 more seconds of possibly being happy about something.
And you know what? I don’t have those exhausting, recurring dreams anymore.