The Fear of Flying

Flying in an airplane is the least of my worries. My biggest fear is change. Flying away from life as I know it and barreling toward a new existence. There is no adventure without risk. It’s difficult to put everything on the line, to decide to leave the known in search of the unknown. What if you don’t find what you’re looking for? Or, what if the thing you find is worse than what you left behind?

For example, it’s easier to stay at a job I hate rather than search for something better. Searching for a new job is a risk. If my employer finds out I’m seeking a new position with a new company, will they fire me? What if I leave my old job only to discover the new job is worse than the one I left behind? It’s a risk.

Let’s talk about an even bigger risk. What if I quit my job and put all my hopes in my prospective writing career? What happens if my book sells only a handful of copies before my career fizzles out? What will I do – what will my family do – if I’m suddenly unemployed without the income we’ve relied on for so many years?

People take risks every day. Some big and some small. Some inconsequential, like buying a one dollar lottery ticket. Or, life-changing, like deciding to move across the country in pursuit of a new job. People go sky diving, mountain climbing, race car driving. Baseball players decide to intentionally walk the potential tying run. Stock brokers invest money in a new venture. Firefighters risk their lives to save a child inside a burning building. Life is nothing without risk.

Do I take a risk? Do I put faith in my self and in my writing and leave the job I hate? Or, do I muddle through, only pursuing my passion in my spare time, diluting my writing time with marketing and the other demands of promoting a book? Is my writing worth the risk? Is my passion? My soul? How do you decide which risks are worth taking?

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. – T. S. Eliot

Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing. – Denis Waitley

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I… I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost

2 thoughts on “The Fear of Flying

  1. Since I've only worked in fast food and have never been able to do anything better, I quit my job to pursue writing full time and it's a constant anxiety for me. Whether I'll ever make a living at it or if this risk I'm taking will flop completely and the years I invested in it will be wasted. We'll see. I honestly don't know what else to do if it flops. This is the only thing I know how to do right now.


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