“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” – Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg
Ironically I wrote a lengthy post last night answering this question and then deleted it this morning because I didn’t think it was good enough.
In the light of dawn this morning I realized that my 1000+ word response was really just a roundabout way of avoiding the question. Instead of thinking hard about it and deciding what I might do, I picked apart the question itself and insisted that, since we’re never unafraid, I couldn’t conceive of an answer. Which frankly is just bullshit. How scared am I that I can’t even answer a hypothetical question?
So I’m going to try again. Here’s version two.
If I wasn’t afraid, I’d date more. I’m getting to a point in my life, especially now that I’ve started my new job, where things really feel settled. And as lousy as it sounds, I finally have time for someone else in my life. But I’m scared of being let down. I’m kind of picky, I’ll freely admit that, so whenever I go on dates I find myself bored and disappointed. Which sucks and makes me afraid to even continue trying. But obviously I need to.
If I wasn’t afraid, I’d move to a more affordable neighborhood. I don’t have a car so my options are somewhat limited to an accessible metro area. But if I wasn’t so afraid of missing out on stuff with my friends I’d probably move a little further out of the city to someplace more affordable. My rent now is ok, don’t get me wrong, but there are plenty of options still within the commuter range that I never considered because they’re too far from my friends.
If I wasn’t afraid, I’d try volunteering as a reading tutor for kids. Reading has played such an integral part of my life and helping kids improve their literacy skills can honestly change the course of their entire education. But I’ve never communicated very well with children and I think it’s partly because I don’t understand them. My mom always used to say I was 9 going on 99. I’m an old soul who always used to enjoy playing alone. So I’m afraid that I wouldn’t make a very good tutor, even though it’s something I really believe in.
If I wasn’t afraid, be more of an advocate for myself in choosing a career path in an industry that I really love. I like my new job. I’m excited that I get to work with the government. I studied government all through uni and I feel like I have a lot that I can contribute here. But I’ve always been interested in the publishing industry. And if I wasn’t so tied up financially, maybe I could take the risk and work my way up the low paying job ladder of a piblishing house while paying NYC rental costs. But I’m too afraid to take that risk and pay my student loans at the same time.
So what would you do if you weren’t afraid?