Tuesday, May 18, 2010

On fear and simplicity

Fear makes us do stupid things. Of course, some fear is warranted, but generally what we fear is usually something that isn't really going to hurt us in a literal sense. For example, it's more likely that I'll get in a car accident, but I don't walk around panicking over the thought of being in an automobile. Instead, I fear things that are pretty inconsequential and/or harmless. I think most people are like that.

Fear makes us eat too much, buy too much stuff, lie awake at night, be mean to others, procrastinate, dump pharmaceuticals into our bodies, and have myriad health issues. We clutter our lives in order to cushion us from the stuff we fear when really, it would be much simpler to confront and deal with the fear.

In the past, when I've talked about my definition of a simple life, I've said that it involves permanent solutions or things that solve multiple problems in one step. This is what I mean. If we recognize and manage the fear, the clutter won't be necessary.

Every year around my birthday, I have this renewed sense of self. I feel like it's the beginning of...something. I never know what, and usually it's not anything big, but it's a good feeling. I've already begun feeling this way (5 more weeks to go!), and one of the primary reasons my life is more complicated than I'd like it to be is my fear. I'm feeling like this year, this milestone year, is a good time for me let go.