Living for Joy and Seizing the Joy in Living

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As many of you may know from previous posts, I tend to allow fear to rule far too much of what I do. The horror stories about traveling echo through my head drowning out the millions who travel with no problems at all, or even the ones who write about their amazing, beautiful experiences which changed their lives.

Why? Why do I do this? Why do I allow the 1 in 100,000 chance that something awful could happen stop me from enjoying life?

In my heart I am brave. In my dreams of the perfect future I travel all over the world with my family, and the thought fills me with such joy. And yet even crossing into Mexico to go to Rocky Point, which is all about tourists, scares me so much I want to throw up. Once I’m there, I’m okay, but the border crossing and driving down there cause all the bad stories to rush through my head.

Spice market in India


I want to feel the excitement of traveling and the joy of meeting new people and experiencing new things. I want to be prepared for the what ifs but not weighted down by them.

Of course being a writer ,I can take a simple what if and turn it into a Stephen King horror story, so that doesn’t help.

What do I do? How do I prepare for what could happen without making myself even more fearful? How do I keep in mind safety rules without getting so scared that I won’t leave my house? How do I soak in how amazing life is and experience all the joy I can without having a panic attack?

I’m hoping my “writing in gratitude” journal will help re-program my brain. I am also going to hunt down more videos like this one to remind me that yes there are risks in life, but the joy is so worth it.

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18 responses »

  1. It is true that a journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. Take your travel one step at a time. Let someone else be in control of when to tell you that it is time for the next step. Say you want to go to Mexico. The first step is a drive to San D. Stop there. Have lunch on the beach. Then take a drive to the border. It’s a nice day and nobody said anything about crossing. So you might talk to the nice men at the border. Ask them how their day is. They don’t mind if you drive around for a little bit. Eventually you will be at your destination, but if you focus on the steps and not the trip as a whole, you should be able to avoid the what ifs leading to Stephen King-esque nightmares. The cornerstone of the whole endeavor is that whoever you appoint to be in control of your next step is somebody that you trust with your life. If you know that he/she would lay down their life rather than see you in a dangerous situation, then LEAVE IT TO THEM.

    Happy travels

  2. It’s hard to “prepare for the worst, but expect the best.” You have to keep reminding yourself that your preparations aren’t because you expect bad things to happen, they are so that you don’t need to worry even if bad things do happen. You think of the (likely, not all) scenarios that could come up, and ask yourself what you’ll do if they do. Once you realize you’d survive anything short of a zombie holocaust, you should breathe easier.

  3. WOW, they were having some fun! I understand your anxiety about certain things in life. I’m the same way. My type they call anticipatory anxiety. I get all freaked out before something happens and when it does happen, I don’t enjoy it as much as I could because by then I’m practically sick from the previous days of “freaking out”. I’ve been working on it now for about three or so years and I am WAY better now. Thank goodness.

    • Doesn’t that look exciting! I don;t think I’ll be doing it- but seizing the joy in life definitely. Yes, the worry is always so much worse then actually doing anything. When I was younger I didn’t frea out like this, I’m hoping I can work through it so I can go on some amazing adventures.

  4. I get a little creeped out thinking of traveling overseas. I mostly tell myself things like, plane crashes are news because they’re *unusual,* and that I can either go, or live in fear (and the latter means a victory for the terrorists). But overall, I’m not that afraid of travel, so not sure if that helps you. Good luck overcoming!

  5. I get it. Fear has ruled part of my life and still does. I used to be afraid to drive. I quickly realized that it was very limiting in what I could do if I didn’t drive anywhere. I slowly worked on that and now I drive all over the place. Its so freeing. But I’m not without fear. I still feel the rumblings of panic attacks when I get near heights or have to fly anywhere. There are many things I have not done because of my fear of flying.

    I wish you luck on overcoming your fear.

  6. Maybe you should think about what you are specifically afraid of when you travel. Don’t allow a general fear to rule your life, but you can acknowledge that something specific may happen and you can prepare for that. Sometimes if you delve into what is specifically scaring you, you’ll realize that it isn’t all that bad. Is it getting sick? Lost? Losing your money? If you know what it is you can prepare for it and then work on letting it go.

    I can totally understand how you can allow fear to keep you from doing something that you’d probably love. I do it too.

  7. Timely post, Alica! I’ve let fear take over so many times when there was no reason. I’ve missed out on doing things b/c of that fear. I just got an offer to speak on a panel of writers. Just reading the invitation made me hyperventilate. I have this overwhelming fear of speaking in public. But how awesome is it that I got asked to be on a panel??? I couldn’t even enjoy the moment for the fear. I’m working on it though. I WILL conquer it. Your “writing in gratitude” journal sounds like an awesome idea!

  8. i am so late to this party. i get the fear. i think maybe everyone has their “issue” the thing that maybe keeps them from moving forward with something. i think some people are better at pushing thru those fears.
    i have wanted so much to work with women and babies and yet at every turn i undermine myself and stop myself from doing it. bad talking myself, saying i am not good enough or smart enough. at every turn i put myself in a situation that keeps me from moving forward.
    but i have to take that first step. you know that saying “the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step” (or something like that). i gotta take that step. so do you. just one step at a time and suddenly you are there. 🙂
    i love you

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