Fear is and extremely palatable of emotions if not the most. It has a way, unlike any other emotion, to take hold of you mentally, physically, spiritually . . . Not to say other emotions can’t grip you firmly like a handmade glove, but there’s something about fear. It can cause procrastination, anxiety, depression. It’s a bitch. And that bitch is firmly attached to my life right now.
The reason for all this “fear” talk is because I am fearful of my future, A future that I desperately need to get started. I’m 35 and the most adult portion of my life is my marriage. My career is still stuck in limbo with my MFA degree always a carrot dangling in front of me. I will be in LA soon, but there’s that fear that I’m too old or it will be too late for me to achieve success in the Hollywood circle. I’m constantly in fear of money – because I don’t have any. I am desperately trying to scrape up funds for LA, for my future, for my wife, but it never seems to come. It’s belittling to be this age and still working part time jobs to scrape through when all my peers are having babies and making above 50K. Ugh.
Then, this morning on The Today Show, Ann Currey does a segment about people over 35 having trouble conceiving. This plays into two fears – first, if I’m watching The Today Show, which means I don’t have a real job. Secondly, despite popular conceptions, I do what a family. I do want kids. I know my mom and dad will be happy to hear that. It was never in question. But am I too late? Will I be past my prime when we have kids? Will I be able to see them grow up like my parents got to see me grow up because they had me at a prime age? People say, “Then have kids asap.” Sorry folks. Can’t. I haven’t even gotten my career off the floor. And the move to LA will delay things by at least a year at the very least. It’s all one big ball of anxiety.
Anxiety is just a commonplace feeling in my life – hell, it’s like a genetic disorder in my family. We all suffer form it. It’s not a fun thing to have to battle. But I have to remember – I can battle it. There are two things I try to remember when I start to feel anxious about life. Usually, anxiety (fear) is caused by overly thinking about the future; about what needs to be done. The fact is, when all you do is think about what needs to be done, it never gets done. Thinking doesn’t solve problems, it prolongs them. Action is what wipes those problems out of the way.
Of course, I understand that sometimes there are factors in your life that you can not control. That is why I have to try to take control of the things I do have power over. Simple things like laundry, or dishes or cleaning my apartment. What it comes down to, and the second thing I have to remember, is that fear is a non-existant emotion. “WHAT?” you’re asking yourself. Well, not literally non-existant. See, when I was an acting apprentice at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, I has a teacher there who put fear into a very simple context. He said that fear is an emotion based entirely on future events. Seriously, when you think about fear, it always has to do with what is about to happen, not what is happening.
Look at a roller coaster ride. When you feel anxiety and fear about going on the ride, it’s all based on the ride itself at a time when you haven’t even gotten on the ride. When you’re ascending the first drop, you heart races and you feal fear not because of the ascent, but because of the impending drop. It’s the cornerstone of any horror film – its not the stabbing that makes you scared. It the anxiety waiting for someone to get stabbed. It’s all based on future actions and events, not current ones.
So this teacher, after he said that fear is an emotion based entirely on the future, he went on to say that the future has not happened. Therefore, the future does not exist, so fear can not exist. It all very metaphorical and philosophical, but in a weird sense, it does set you at easy. It makes you realize that your current actions are what determine the future and even then, you can not predict what the future is, so chill.
So, today, I’m going to do my best to chill and continue getting myself ready for Los Angeles. I’ll chill with the best wife ever. Chill. Chill . . .