I know that someday you'll find better things.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Just Let Go

What would you do if you weren't afraid?

According to Facebook's Chief Operating Officer, there's a poster in their workplace that says just that.

It is meant to inspire.

She recommends that everyone name that thing and then go out and do it. Conquer it! Live life to the fullest extent!

It's not a new concept, of course. It's been around since at least 2005, because that is when I tried to embrace it.

It did not go well.

It turns out that being afraid of water skiing and tubing is the right decision for me, because I darn near had a heart attack as I was dragged across the lake behind that boat.

Rebecca and I gripped the ginormous tube for dear life. 

We were yanked and tugged and dizzy.  Everyone on the boat was shouting and waving. It seemed very likely there was something awful behind us that they were trying to warn us about. Alligator, probably. Maybe a fresh-water shark, or a helicopter that was crash-landing. I couldn't turn around to see, so I had no choice but to hold on.

My fingers were cramping. When would it end?

"THIS IS AWFUL! WHEN WILL IT END?" I shouted to Rebecca, who maybe almost looked like she was enjoying the experience, although I don't see how that could be possible.

She grinned at me and nodded in an 'isn't this fun' kind of way. I tried again.


"JUST LET GO!" she yelled.

Let... go? That didn't seem right. The directions for almost everything in life were to hang on, hang in there. Would letting go really make it all stop?

I needed time to think.

If I let go, they'd loop back around to get me. I'd seen that happen to the water skiers who'd accidentally fallen off. Could somebody do that on purpose? It seemed like cheating. Then again, I wasn't sure how much longer I could cheat death.

But if I held on, they'd think I was still having fun, and it would never stop. Never.
Framed like that, it seemed more dishonest to hold on and hang in there.
On account of my friends-- on behalf of my friends-- I had to just let go.

Maybe wisdom isn't a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.

Maybe 'confront your fears' works well for half the population. For the other half of us who prefer to embrace our fears and hold on tight, maybe the greater wisdom is to just let go.

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