I’m scared.

What I should be is asleep, but it seems my fears are getting the better of me, and perhaps what I need most right now is to express those fears, to use someone – or something – as a sounding board, to hear the echoes of my thoughts in the hopes that maybe I’ll calm down a bit and feel less anxious about… well, about everything, really.

Because I, as I said, am scared. You wouldn’t necessarily know it by looking at me; it’s a fairly quiet version of the emotion, somehow, not exactly the kind that has you visibly gripping the edges of your seat while watching a scary movie. It’s more pervasive, subtle, almost subconscious but palpable nonetheless. It’s the kind of feeling that invades the mind and makes itself at home, entwining itself with your thoughts and becoming a part of your mental process – assuming you let it stick around long enough to get a proper hold. I’d rather it didn’t, but how to make it let go? And how long has it already been there without me knowing?

That’s part of the problem: I’m not sure I recognised my fears until recently, or at the very least not enough to know them as such. But fears they are. And I’m scared.

I’m scared of not finishing the things I start, and scared of not getting ahead. I’m scared of staying always in one place, and I’m scared of not staying in one place, afraid that in thinking I’m moving forward, I’m actually just changing the scenery but not the script. I’m scared of repeating past mistakes, albeit in different surroundings and with different actors, and I’m scared of remaining stuck in old patterns, of not changing myself and my life for the better.

I’m scared too that I somehow left the better path behind me, took the wrong fork in the road – and I’m really scared, one might even say petrified, that “the better path” might be on some other road entirely. I’m scared that the best choices I could make are ones I don’t even see, either because I can’t imagine them as actual possibilities or because the circumstances of my life until this point have steadily erased any trail I might now find myself wanting to explore.

And what if it’s just my fears keeping me from exploring those trails, however faint they might be? Am I really going on my own unique journey or am I just following along where countless others have already tread out of some vague, inescapable desire to conform? For all my independence, for all my quirks and self-avowed individuality, am I still somehow afraid to step too far away from the expected, from the norm? Am I afraid to go too far afield in case what I find out there doesn’t measure up, in case I don’t measure up? If that’s true, I’m scared that I might not realise it until it’s too late, until a combination of factors – like age, prior choices, and the like – have conspired to completely eliminate any means I might have had of doing something about it, of changing direction.

Come to think of it, do I even know for certain what direction I’m going in now? Does anyone? I’ve always had many goals and many dreams, but sometimes – especially lately – that seems less like an asset and more like a liability, particularly when the pursuit of one feels like the abandonment of another. With a great big mental sigh, I suppose I have to admit that that’s likely an unavoidable part of life for everyone, that to “be something,” you have to actually make a choice and thereby give up on being something else… but what if I can’t decide? I’m scared of my uncertainty, scared that my inability to confidently pinpoint my passions, or at least a narrow range thereof, might be preventing me from focusing enough to actually accomplish something worthwhile with my life.

I guess, when it comes down to it, my biggest fear is failing to successfully shape the me of today into the me of tomorrow, all as a consequence of not fully knowing what I want tomorrow to look like – or how to get there even if I did. Should I just keep to the familiar, well-worn path, stay on the course that my life has already established? Or do I go off and cut a new track and hope to find my bearings along the way?

I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to that yet, but I’ll let you know once I figure it out.

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