Why the Hell Am I Doing This?

If there’s one emotion that has informed and shaped my life, it’s fear. I have done battle with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I’ve done therapy, taken meds, all the usual stuff. And it’s helped, some of it. But the fear is still there. I wake up to fear and go to sleep with it. And at the heart of my fear is loss of control. Being out of control makes me feel like I’m going to lose my mind. And yes, yes, Buddhists, I know, control is an illusion, we’re not control of anything on this plane, etc., etc. But my brain has somehow tricked me into thinking that if I can just maintain control over a given situation, everything will be fine and then I can calm down and stop freaking out about how I have no control over anything.

I recently turned 43, and when I did, I came upon a few realizations. The first is that (spoiler alert!) I’m not going to live forever. Another is that there are a number of things I have been either consciously or unconsciously putting off doing in my life, thinking that someday, when I’ve conquered my fear, become more successful, etc., I’ll get to them. I also discovered that when you get into your 40s, life can become routine. You get up, you do the things you usually do throughout your day, you go to bed, lather, rinse, repeat.

I’m not saying I don’t enjoy my life; In fact, as someone who makes his living doing voiceover, as someone who has a wonderful marriage, perfect health, and loving friends and family, I recognize very clearly that I have one of the greatest lives one can have on this planet. But I also recognized that there are things that I have always wanted to do, and I have avoided them almost solely out of fear. And I have determined that the prospect of doing these things, of facing my fear, could possibly bring a freshness, a sense of accomplishment, and an added dimension to what is already a great life.

So, I’ve made a list, a list of Shit That Scares Me. It’s sort of somewhere between a list of dares and a bucket list. Over the course of the next year or so (I’m giving myself until the end of 2012), I’m going to attempt to do each one of the items on my list.