First, welcome to Iowa, where the beer is colder in garage than it is in the fridge. Actually, if I had beer in the garage, they would have exploded all over the place by now! As I drove to work this morning, the temperature was -22 on the thermometer in my truck. The meme has popped up that asks the basic question we are all wondering: The air hurts my face. Why do I live in a place where the air hurts my face?
If you are not a Medium member, why not? If you are reading this and you are a teacher, Medium offers great writing, period. There’s so many examples that you can pull out for your students or for yourself. If you are reading this just because, it’s a relatively inexpensive way to access, you guessed it, great writing! There are many different articles about such a wide range of articles from sports to politics to human interest to whatever else you maybe interested in. As it is, they also have a both a daily and weekly journal that I subscribe to which gives me way too much in my in-box, but it does give me great ideas!
A couple of days ago, the daily journal came with an article titled, “If You Want To Be Fearless, Ask Yourself This Question Every Day.” This one knocked me back because it was so much different than the “10 best ways to survive a snow storm” or any one of the list articles that pop up. My takeaway was the title of this article, What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?
That’s a tough one for me because I’ve spent so much of my time being “scared”, not so much by fear but by the unknown. As I’ve gotten older, like most people, I’ve become more reflective of my past decisions. I can say I have very few regrets in my life because I have stepped out of my comfort zone, but yet, there are things I wish I’d done. I wish I’d played to my full potential as a football and basketball player, both in high school and college (if you’ve not heard of the @WashedUpWalkons I’d highly recommend episodes 186 and 187 – they are a bit vulgar, but the content is amazing, especially those two episodes). I played one year of D-2 (NAIA back in the day) and while I was a slow white kid playing way out of his league, I think I could have done so much better.
I wished that I’d been more active in high school, trying new things rather than being afraid, retreating to my safe little home in the country. Hell, I wish I had friends who’d have pushed me to make myself do these things in high school. I don’t always feel like I had great friends in high school, thus, I found comfort at our house, developing a life long love for reading that would serve me well. I was very much a dork and made some poor choices, but I never quite felt accepted in any crowd, bopping back and forth between the music nerds (singer and tuba player extraordinaire) and the jocks (two years of football, two years of basketball, a year of track).
So, what does this have to do with almost 50 year old me? The fears are the same now: not fitting in, rejection, finding those people whom I thought were friends really never were. I write, like today, to keep those fears as bay. Doing a piece like this helps to keep those demons out of my head. I know I’m a good husband, father, son, and brother (sometimes), coach, and teacher. I know that I cannot go back and change the past. If I allow those past issues to affect who I am today, that those in the past won. I won’t let that happen.
Almost 50 year old me also knows that I’ll made it work. I’ll keep breathing, keep fighting for what’s right, regardless of what people may think. That life of the party, not me! But I’m no longer afraid to be at the party, and that’s a step in the right direction. I’m still the nerd, but nerd with a purpose, to push myself out of my comfort zone, but to also push others out of their comfort zones too.
Speaking of comfort zones, another way of saying I’m not afraid is where I write. I may be writing less here, and taking the plunge at Medium. They allow anyone to write, and as I’m trying to deal with not being afraid, what if I could make a little bit of money with writing? Why not me?
And finally, I’ve written about my basketball teams in the past. My former players just got done with a perfect conference schedule, 18 wins with no losses, and have been crowned conference champs. I cannot tell you how proud I am of this group of young women. It’s been a long time coming, and I saw it coming as I coached them through a remarkable season. And the boys are conference champions too, having an home record with no losses!! During this time of Covid, that makes these championships so special!
I wish I could say I have no fears, but that would be a lie. What I can say, I’m working on them, trying to be a better person, and in the end, that’s all anyone else wants, right? 🙂
February 10, 2021 at 8:22 am
I am glad you are trying to be a better person. We all have our fears and all depends on how we face it. A much loved senior relative used to say that she would face life as it comes and she refused to live in fear. Her last few months were painful and I think she must have face them without fear, but I don’t really know.
February 10, 2021 at 3:31 pm
I love that idea of refusing to live in fear. Whlie a little fear keeps you honest, too much slows you down.
February 10, 2021 at 10:30 am
“Almost 50 year old” is an interesting age to be at, I know form experience. Perfect time for reflection, stronger than in the youth, not too old to continue learning.
February 10, 2021 at 3:30 pm
Exactly my thought. The learning is so important as they knowledge keeps me young at heart. 🙂
February 10, 2021 at 5:54 pm
I can relate to what you said about high school still leaving an imprint on who we are as adults. And, wow, Iowa sounds colder than cold!
February 13, 2021 at 7:07 pm
And we are even colder this weekend! Yikes! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment! 🙂
February 11, 2021 at 5:49 am
Fifty isn’t what it used to be, is it? I felt like I truly hit midlife at that mark, though with the sobering reminder that my mother passed at 51…makes me grateful for every day I’ve lived past that mark. But it does help to take a quick peek back just to see how far up the mountain you’ve climbed, taking stock of where you are now, then looking ahead at that summit you’d like to accomplish. Nice reflective post!
February 12, 2021 at 12:44 pm
Like Terje, I was drawn in when you referred to yourself as an almost 50 year old. I did that for the year prior to turning 40. Now I’m in my mid-40s and I’m thinking, when will I start referring to myself as almost 50. (Soon enough, I’m sure!)
I hope you have some warmer days ahead. We’re at a mere 28 degrees today, which sounds downright balmy compared to what you have in Iowa!
February 13, 2021 at 8:27 pm
-20 tonight, -40 wind chills. The air hurts my face. Why do I live in a place where the air hurts my face? 🙂 Warmer days are coming, but this is not fun at all.
Almost 50 is daunting, but it’s doable. It’s just another number in a series of numbers. I’m still a 15 y/o boy at heart! 🙂
February 14, 2021 at 7:03 am
That’s the question, isn’t it? When my new (back then) superintendent asked us that question, I was excited. I also think of that question when I hear Garth Brooks’s “Standing Outside the Fire…” “Life is not tried – it is merely survived if you’re standing outside the fire…” Standing in the fire could make you warmer, Darin… 😉 Thanks for sharing this one – it’s good to remember.