Facing a Big Project Turns Us into Little Kids Again
…in a Bad Way
When you were a kid, did you ever walk across a pier, look down through the narrow cracks between the planks to the ocean below and become convinced that, if you made the slightest misstep, you were going to fall through the cracks and drown? Or maybe you crossed a bridge, clinging to the side or staying steadfastly in the middle because it seemed like you might be easily swept over the side and plunge to your death, that you might even be compelled to jump over?
When we got a little older, we realized how irrational, how insane, those fears seemed. We could laugh them off because we knew, duh, people can’t fit through the cracks in a pier nor easily be swept over a bridge. But it seemed so real back then.
I think the same thing happens when we face a huge project, whether it’s getting fit, making a life change, writing a book, joining NaNoWriMo or learning something new. Every step along the path to our goal seems treacherous.
Maybe we can’t even admit we’re afraid.We’re adults. Adults aren’t afraid of falling through cracks in the pier. That’s just nuts.
And sometimes those fears stop us cold. We can’t fight back because we can’t even admit we’re having them. We make excuses. We get busy. We forget. We tell ourselves, “Tomorrow,” and every day is today.
Of course, once we screw our courage to the sticking place or drag ourselves kicking and screaming onto the path, we realize what we realized when we were kids: just keep moving, one step at a time and you’ll make it to the end just fine, even if you have to hold the rail the whole time.
What irrational fears crop up for you when you’re facing a big project? How do you handle them? Do you have a funny irrational-childhood-fear story to share?
For all my fellow NaNos, how’s it going for you so far?