Studio Friday: Fear

I wouldn’t say that I’m filled with fear. I’ve survived cancer and there’s nothing quite as scary (and humbling) as that. Everyday fears seem rather small in comparison.

But I do have doubts and worries—we all do. I had to laugh about the timing of this topic, because I posted last week on my more personal Live Journal blog about waking up one morning freaking out about retirement. You see, I used to have a high-paying job with all the benefits that came along with it. All the stress, too. Mostly I'm fine with my decision to leave, but every once in a while I get a bit panicked about the future. When you work for yourself, there are practical concerns having to do with health insurance and taxes and retirement accounts that you don’t really think about with a regular corporate job.

And, as Casey said, you also don’t have the parameters that come with a job. There’s no one giving you performance reviews to keep you on track. Sometimes the only feedback you get are comments from customers and blog readers. So, you worry about whether people like your work, and like it enough to buy it.

When I first started my blog I worried that nobody was reading it. It felt like I spent so much time on it and it just disappeared into a black hole somewhere. So, a big thank you to my readers who comment and let me know you're really out there :)

What else? I worry that I won’t get orders, and then I worry that I’ll get too many and not be able to handle the extra work. I worry about running out of ideas or getting stale. And I worry that I won’t have enough time to implement all the ideas I do have.

These kinds of worries are OK, I think, because they help us to stay focused on what we're doing. We have some degree of control over them. It's the worries that are out of our control that are harder. I worry about the direction our country seems to be headed in and the willingness of people to give up the freedoms our ancestors fought so hard to secure. I don't know what to do about that. I think I'd be even more afraid if I had children.

Oh, and I'm really afraid of spiders, too.

Read more about fear here.


tlchang said...

I'm right with you on spiders.

And on the issues of self-employment as well. My husband was laid off a couple of months ago, and all of those issues came back to the fore... I try to do my best, and go and do where I feel 'led' and then trust that I'll work through those issues as needed. Not much of a plan as far as concreteness goes, I'll admit. If you come up with a better approach, let me know!

Additionally, I do appreciate the time and generousity you display in blogging. I know many times it feels like we're 'yelling in an empty barn' - but *I* do garner inspiration and a sense of connection through the whole process of writing and reading other's experiences. So - thanks!

Going For Greatness said...

Most of those things you listed I also catagorise as 'worries' and not so much fears.
My husband was layed off this past May and it was 2 months before he could start his new job due to the timing of him entering the new company. Unemployment is a total joke and he got not even one tenth of his 'normal' salary. It was a tad scary during those 2 months and also a bit of an eye opener and learning experience. He's happily employed at the new place and things are back to normal, almost! Now we're just trying to sell this house so we can move closer to his new job... what a pain in the butt!!
Good post on the topic. you made me think about things I hadn't thought about before!!~
Have a fearless weekend!

Anonymous said...

you are so eloquent--and I thank you for taking the time to post like this--for all of your posts, and all of your beautiful things. I don't think your talent will ever run out, but I do know what you mean about finding the time to give each idea a chance! I don't know why I read blogs exactly--to waste time? (that's what my hubbie might think!) To distract me from the pressures and piles all around me? To see what great things people are doing all around me in this world, when I feel like maybe all I'm really going to accomplish with my day might be making breakfast, yelling at my daughter to get her shoes on, and sending out a few emails to people who wonder if they're using the correct email address anymore...? I fear so many things, too--failure, that no matter what I fall in love with and pour my heart into, it will never bear the fruit that others seem to harvest so effortlessly, that the world will never "get it", that the sky might start falling and I'll have to worry about whether I can get to my children before its all over or not.... You're right about the kid thing--it makes all fears worse. How can the world be so old, and this is as far as we've gotten? I truly believe in goodness, in kindness, in humility and patience--these seem like obvious truths and traits to people like you and me. How do things get so mixed up when you take them to a global, political level? I think we blog because we believe that if enough voices speak in this community of creators and do-gooders, maybe the sound we make together will rise out of cyber space and be loud enough to make even a whisper of a difference. Maybe the beauty we create will soften enough hearts to slow the world down a little and shift its focus to real life, the life that happens in homes and yards with hands and hearts, not speeches and guns and wars and bullshit. Maybe our children will watch us sew and draw, read over our shoulders, see us make connections, and take these lessons with them into their own adult world--fearless? I doubt it. But brave, and kind, and ready to live a different kind of life. That would make it all worth it, wouldn't it?

janet said...

Alex, your comment deserves a post of it's own. It's much more beautiful (and eloquent) than mine - seriously, it made me cry.

Word to this...

Maybe the beauty we create will soften enough hearts to slow the world down a little and shift its focus to real life, the life that happens in homes and yards with hands and hearts, not speeches and guns and wars and bullshit.