The Other Side of Fear
“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear”-George Addair
As the year draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the year that was 2018. The quote above describes a lot of what 2018 meant for me. Do I have everything I’ve ever wanted? No, of course not. But my life is pretty amazing and most of the amazing things have been discovered by facing fears.
2018 was a big year. I climbed Mt. St. Helens and Three-Fingered Jack after failed attempts the previous year. I did a solo summit of a 13er in Colorado. I wrote and published blog posts for Recovery Warriors and Hike Like a Woman that made me push aside fear to be vulnerable and honest. I got a chance to meet my fellow Hike Like a Woman ambassadors at a lodge in Wyoming. I got to meet my best friend’s baby for the first time and join my niece for a drink on her 21st birthday. I turned 40 in a small quaint lodge in the woods around Suttle Lodge with my dog. I celebrated with lots of friends at a winery the start of the new decade. I watched sunsets in Hawaii and drove a convertible with the top down to the beach with my mom. I started a new role at work and have been learning new responsibilities and how to be a good supervisor. I ran my first 10k. I hiked in lots of new places, made some new friends and cherished time with friends and family and my dog Millie.
I spent many times this year reflecting on what my life was like 10 years ago, 2008, which was the worst year of my life. It was a dark time, a difficult year, full of fear and anxiety. 2008 was the year that I admitted to others and to myself that I had a serious eating disorder and wouldn’t be able to fix it by myself. It was the year my parents separated, the year my dad sold the childhood home I had grown up in and somehow always thought would be there. It was the year I helped to coordinate an intervention for my dad, visited him in the ER. The year I tried to make sense of what was happening with him through the fear and anger and unknowns. It was the year I had to help my mom find a lawyer and a new place to live and try to console her. I hadn’t yet met my dog Millie. I worried all the time that I wouldn’t finish grad school that next year or get a job in higher education. I worried constantly that I would be in piles of debt from insurance bills and student loans. I felt overwhelmed all the time.
In 2008, my mountain was about trying to scramble back towards life. In 2018, the mountains were about feeling my most alive. When I take the time to reflect and think about how far I’ve come in 10 years, I feel nothing but gratitude. There was no way I would have done it alone, and luckily I didn’t have to. There were so many people along the way that helped me, some more than they would ever realize.
So 2008 and 2018 and all the other years, are behind me. And each of those years, those months, those days have brought me to what I am today and all the things I want to be for tomorrow. 40 years is a long long time. But I have so much left to learn, so many places I want to go, and so many things I want to experience, all on the other side of fear.