Overcoming Fear

Hannah - Middleville, Michigan
Entered on June 3, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: carpe diem

“Life is not a Journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming …’WOW! What a ride!’” (Bill McKenna) Over the last few years several experiences have forced me step back and look at my life. The main experience was the death of my brother’s close friend. He was a great student, athlete and all around person. He was merely eighteen at the time of his death. It was my first real funeral, but the memory of it will remain with me forever.

When I looked back at my life, what I saw were all the times that I had played it safe instead of taking a risk. I began to wonder why I had let fear rule so much of life. It seems slightly ridiculous now, but one main memory that kept replaying itself was our family vacation in Florida years earlier. We had gone to the bay to go parasailing with a few friends. The car and boat ride out into the bay was full of excitement and anticipation. The group of us, wide-eyed and slightly nervous climbed into the boat. When my turn came, however, I remained in my seat. Not even my family could persuade me to step onto the platform where our guide was waiting. I had let my fears overcome me. So instead, I simply sat there and watched my friends glide blissfully through the air to return safely into the boat. Reflecting on the event makes me wonder what it would have been like. For now, all I have are the stories from my friends of the amazing views and exhilarating ride. I was only about ten years old at the time, but I wish I would have known then what I have now realized.

Since the funeral and parasailing incident I have greatly changed my outlook on life. Some people may call it recklessness, but I just see it as trying new things. With this new confidence I have gotten much stronger in sports and have begun pursuing my dreams with much more optimism. There are so many risks in life that are worth taking. Babe Ruth once said, “Never Let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” This I believe; living in fear is not living at all. Any dream worth achieving requires some courage along the way.