You know what I regret more than anything else in my life?
I regret being so scared that I said no when I should have said yes; or yes when I should have said no. I let fear determine some of the most important decisions in my life.
Scared to say yes, scared to say no, scared to move forward, scared to be alone, scared to let go. Just scared. I wonder what more I could have accomplished if I just went for it instead of chickening out?
No more operating from a place of fear.
I feel like a hypocrite writing a blog called No Holding Back when it feels like all I do is hold back. I came up with the concept of living life without holding back, without being afraid, without letting opportunities pass me by when I was lying in the hospital bed for weeks on end, pregnant with my identical twin daughters, unsure of whether or not they would live or die. All I wanted was the opportunity to live life normally. When it became obvious that Kathryn would likely die, I made a promise to her that I would not let life hold me back. That I would do. That I would lead. That I would be.
In some respects I have done that. I started writing. I had always been afraid to share my words with the world. I got off to a rocky start, but thankfully, people cut me some slack. I kept writing. Because of Kathryn.
I guess I’m not a total wuss. Some of the best moments in my life have stemmed from saying yes even when I was scared. I was really scared of going to France on my own for my Junior year of college to France. But how that year shaped and drastically changed my life. I met my soul mate that year. My best friend, Kerry. Who knew, when we met as young 20 year-olds that our lives would continue to cross and connect, and 18 years later, we’d still be best friends, despite an entire ocean between us. Kerry taught me a lot about myself and embracing life. I’m so glad I did not let fear stop me then.
I was terrified of going to Officer Training School (OTS). But I went. I had heard rumors of being screamed at and I am the most passive aggressive person you’ll ever meet. I’ve never been in a physical encounter with anyone beyond my siblings, and even those were few and far between and pretty wimpy. I was scared of leaving my boyfriend. I was scared of what the future would bring to me. But I did it. And I did get screamed at. And I did a LOT of push-ups, resulting in some really nice abs! I fought through the muck (much aided by the prior enlisted who got in between the mind games and brought reality back to me). Being commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force still stands out as the proudest moment in my life. I’m glad I didn’t let fear win that time. (I seriously considered sneaking out to find my car and trying to escape the first week.)
I was TERRIFIED of going on deployments to the middle east (but I would have been court marshalled had I try to get out of that!) but I had opportunities to fly into both Afghanistan and Iraq. I almost didn’t go because I was scared. But I went. And what an amazing experience those trips turned out to be.
I was scared about having a child, then the 2nd, then the 3rd/4th. But I’m certainly glad I have these guys in my life.
I can’t help but think about moments throughout my life that could have been just as significant, but I let fear win. Times that certainly would have changed the trajectory of my life, but I was just too scared that I could not survive or go through with those decisions. Some of those decisions or non-decisions have led to more heartache and pain.
I wonder if my life could have been radically changed if I had just taken a deep breath, gone with my heart, and operated from a place of confidence and faith, instead of cowering. I’ll never know.
But what I do know is that there is still uncertainty in my life. There are decisions that will have to be made, and I can no longer let fear be my guide as I move forward. Because I’m not done yet. And I cannot be afraid of taking the steps I need to take to reach the places I believe I’m destined to be.
No more operating from a place of fear. Seriously, no more being held back, no more holding back.
That scares the crap out of me.
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