Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Conquering the flu, but not bears and black ice



Hey everybody! Hi there, I've missed you all! Felt like there's been a party going on, and I wasn't invited. I've been under a big ole rock for days, but I'm out!

Has anyone else noticed that there's a lot of talk, book-writing, preaching going on now about conquering our fears? Or is it just fearful me? Is this what the New Year brings out? I've heard - never checked - that 'fear' is referenced 365 times in the Bible, one for each day, so maybe we're all just a fearful lot? Who knew there was so much to be afraid of?

My middle daughter tells me I'm not afraid of anything, and of course that's not true. I'm as afraid as the next person, but my list is different than hers, and I generally push through whatever is scaring me, do it anyway. I'm more the John Wayne school of thought on fear:
  • "Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway." 

(Sidenote - this reminds me I'm a little bit afraid of big ole horses!).

I've always loved that quote. And mostly lived by it, and mostly because I didn't have much choice, so I don't know if I get to call it courage or life necessity.

I'm not sure we're all SO afraid, but we each have our list. Those things that completely throw us off kilter, freeze us in our tracks, keep us from going forward. And we tend to let them move in and take up residence, accept that they're going to be with us forever. Permanent residence.

Off the top of my head, here's my quick fear list:

grasshoppers, the bigger the scarier!
frogs when they hop
lizards, any size
aggressive, protective roosters
other people's dogs, if they're very big and don't wag their tail at me
swimming in the ocean deeper than my knees
driving on black ice
bears not in zoos
being separated from others when traveling which can sometimes mean Walmart's aisles
jumping out of an airplane or bungee jumping

That's my big list. Very scary stuff as you can see. I mean, everyone knows someone who has been taken out by a grasshopper, or lizard, so I know this is a completely rational list.

Here's what I'm NOT afraid of:

snakes - poisonous or otherwise
dogs that wag their tails at me, even if they weigh 200 lbs
driving across the country alone
staying alone (my favorite actually)
bridges - any size, any height
flying, any size plane (my favorite way to get there - fast!)
other people, even strangers unless they look really, really questionable
trying new things
swimming in lakes, even when they're 1000 feet deep

This year I realized I have a seasonal fear - getting the flu. THE FLU, not a stomach virus, but the stuff that lays you flat for a week, alone in a dark room, where the air smells like mentholatum and used kleenex and wadded blankets and no fresh air. And that's what happened. In spite of getting the flu shot, and in spite of Cub Sweetheart getting the flu shot, we both got the flu. THE FLU.

And it wasn't so bad.

It did take a solid week of each of our lives, we bought our share of over-the-counter meds, and have been sleeping in separate bedrooms long enough that the dog thinks we're doomed for a breakup,

but we survived.

I've gotten the flu shot every single year forever, would never miss, because I like to be sure and control all I can (don't we all?), and getting the shot usually protects one from getting the flu, so I did that, but this year it didn't. So all my efforts to prevent, avoid something that scared me didn't work, and I was rotten sick for several days. My teeth chattered around that thermometer, I took three baths a day to try to get warm, I stayed in pajamas and ate very little, slept like a baby, and that's all. I survived and it wasn't so bad.

On the backside of having to actually deal with something that scares me, I feel empowered. First of all I won't get it again this year. Come on February and March and April - I'm ready! But mostly it's empowering to know I handled something I was afraid of, even if I didn't willingly volunteer.

Frogs, lizards, dogs on walks, oceans, roosters - watch out! Here I come!

Black ice and bears in woods - you still win. For now. 

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