I believe that it’s ok to be afraid.
My boyfriend and I are unlikely couple, with Henry being almost fifty this year and myself just shy of 27.
Henry was born in Brooklyn, New York, he has lived a hundred lives already, loved and lost, lived and learned from life’s trials. He moved out west when he was 26 to discover who he was and where his life was going to take him. Twenty years in this country has lost the luster that it once had, along with the inability to get ahead in the local economy, he is ready to move and begin a new life somewhere else.
I however was born and raised here in Wyoming, all I have known are these streets, these people, this life. In a way, I can’t wait to get out, and if I never see Wyoming again, it would be too soon. But then I think of all the times I have had, all the people that I have known, and how all the experiences I have had here have made me who I am today; leaving all that I have ever known scares me tremendously.
He tells me on a daily basis “You don’t understand what it’s like; the people on the ‘outside,’ they’re insane.” Growing used to the slow hum drum pace of small town Wyoming, the thought of moving to New Jersey or NYC creates an anxiety in him that I have never seen. But moving to a new town is a decision that we made together, in hopes that we could seize some opportunities for a better life somewhere else.
The idea of change scares many people, causing people to avoid trying new things because they are afraid of a certain outcome. When I think about these possible outcomes, the thought always comes to me that those possibilities of moving away massively outweigh the possibility of staying in this town forever and never knowing what my true potential is. Even though Henry may be older than me in years, I don’t think that he is at the end of his life by any means, and that his true potential and strength has yet to be revealed. Knowing these things, I can be afraid of the future and what it holds, but still face it with my head up high because I know that his strength and mine, and our fear of losing out will win over the fear of something new, and our accomplishments will bolster us the next time we are afraid.
I believe that it’s important for him to know that I am afraid as well, and I think that it’s ok that he is afraid too. Being young and reckless or older and wiser can’t prevent someone from being afraid, because being afraid is part of being human. It’s because of these things I can look him in the eye when he tells me he is scared and say “it’s ok to be afraid.”