Thursday, January 13, 2011


We’re two weeks into the new year and I haven’t made any resolutions. But I’m thinking about resolutions. If I think about it long enough and wait long enough it will be 2012 and I can start all over again without doing anything. There’s a plan I can embrace—total inertia.

Last night I watched the film Into the Wild, about the young man who wanted to escape the bounds of society so he challenged himself to live off the land, alone, in the wilds of Alaska. He died of starvation. The story got me thinking about how I would challenge myself, presuming I ever actually decided to accept a challenge. People challenge themselves to run a marathon (not me—my knees would disintegrate). They challenge themselves to lose a hundred pounds (yes—I need to lose weight, but thankfully not a hundred pounds). They may challenge themselves to bring order to their chaotic lives (I’m fairly organized so that’s not an issue for me). So if I’m not going to run a marathon, or lose a ton of weight, or conquer my clutter, what is a challenge for me?

My real challenges are more emotional than physical. What’s my biggest emotional challenge? Overcoming fear. I’m afraid of uncertainty, afraid of change, afraid of sickness and death. I even have a fear of fear itself. And right now I have all of these fears front and center in my life.

So what do I need to do? I can’t really mitigate uncertainty, change, sickness or death. These are all part of the basic human condition. I can’t pretend they don’t exist. Medication only does so much unless I get medicated into a stupor. I suppose I just need to be brave. Oh, darn it—can’t I escape somehow? I suppose I need to accept these existential fears and just keep moving forward and live well in spite of them. And I know that I need to pray. Prayer may be the only thing that really works. Even better than medication.

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