I used to be fearless.
I was the girl who, at sixteen, traveled to a remote village in the middle of a jungle in a country I had never been to. I went there to live with a family who didn’t speak a word of English. I went there without my parents, without my friends and I experienced first hand what it was like in a third world country. I experienced sugar cane slave camps on the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It should have been scary but it wasn’t.
At nineteen, I decided to fly to England by myself for two weeks to stay with a girl that I had met while working at a local ice cream store. I hadn’t traveled overseas in that direction before but I was fearless. Able to jump on that plane and fly to another country to live with a family that I didn’t know that well and who had just had a little baby. Every day while there I would wake up early, head to the train station and take the train into London. I would explore the city and the nearby villages alone but I loved every minute of it.
Between twenty and twenty-five, I traveled all over the world to speak at conferences and meet clients and I did all of this alone. I visited Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, Charlotte, Bahamas, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Antonio… to name a few. I would road trip it to Toronto and Montreal at a moment’s notice to deliver a presentation or meet up with someone I had met on the Internet.
Around twenty-six, my sister and I booked return tickets in and out of Paris, three weeks apart. We flew into Paris without a clue as to where we would go after arriving. We booked our next day’s adventure that night… while sitting in the hotel room we booked the night before. We traveled all over… backpacking our way through Europe. We went to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Prague, Venice, Rome, Milan, Bern… and so many other places that I can’t even remember. It was scary at times – especially being chased down the street after dark by two strange men – but it was exhilarating and magical and adventurous.
Now I’m a mom. It changed everything.
These days, I can’t step out onto my suburban street without thinking that between my front door and my mailbox, I’m bound to be stabbed to death. Every noise in the house must surely be someone breaking in and I have mapped out every escape plan and escape route from every room and every chair in my house.
I have life insurance now. And RRSPs. And RESPs. And a savings account. I worry about our financial future and Willow’s financial future. I’m no longer spending all of my money with the notion that it will all just flow in when and how it needs to… now I am uber-planning. I have a crazy detailed budget spreadsheet that I highlight with greens and reds and yellows.
I hate going out at night. I hate being by myself and often, I run from whatever building I’m in to my car and I lock my doors instantly. I hate winter driving and any other precarious weather condition driving. I fear that I’m going to somehow get into an accident and leave my daughter behind too early.
I feel paranoid.
I feel scared.
I don’t want to leave Willow and miss out on anything.
Now, don’t get me wrong… this is not an every moment of every day sort of thing.
If it were, I’d never leave a 4×4 room and Willow wouldn’t be allowed to either. I just notice the difference in myself and I notice my fear level is much higher now. For me, there are two main worries: (1) that she will be hurt or injured or leave me prematurely or (2) that I will leave her prematurely. Either scenario sucks.
So tell me… am I completely weird or are there others out there who get where I’m coming from? What do you do to combat the fearful feelings?