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The Risk I'm Finally Ready to Take as Someone With Anxiety


I’ve been thinking a lot about risk lately.

I’ve never been much of a risk taker, but I admire the hell out of those who are. I’ve always wanted to be like them — the ones who just “go for it” without getting stuck in the details. 

I think one of the things holding me back from taking big risks is that I’m not always “here.” I’ve spent a large portion of my life in the past — mourning, analyzing and repairing. When I’m not there, I’m often in the future — worrying, planning and waiting. Those places feel much safer to me than the present.

The present moment offers a vast openness that is full of possibilities for getting hurt. That’s tricky territory since I don’t have a great relationship with pain. In fact, I hate its guts and do almost anything I can to avoid it. 

Presence also requires a certain level of comfort with the unknown. It asks me to loosen my tight grip on life and be led instead of trying to be the one who is always doing the leading. This is not a great fit for my particular control-loving personality.

And yet, when I’m able to be here, in this moment, the world seems to slow to a stop. I notice things I would otherwise miss: the dark chestnut strands of her hair, the sting of frost, dancing leaves, the softness of his gray sweater. It’s a holy paradox — the potential for pain and peace to coexist in each breath. When I open myself to that gift, it feels like the snow globe of life has calmly settled and, for a moment, I can see clearly.

With a new year just around the corner, I’m craving more of that calm clarity in my life. I want to trust that I’m safe when I’m present — that it’s OK to let go of the past and the future and just rest. I want to believe that things are being worked out and my job is simply to show up, follow the breadcrumbs and do the next right thing before me. There’s so much more freedom there in that space. 

I’m ready to be brave. I’m willing to try to let go of the many ways I wish things had been, the ways I hope they will be. I’m ready to allow life to be exactly as it is – to allow myself to be exactly as I am.

I’m ready to take the risk to show up.

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Unsplash photo via Zulmaury Saavedra