What is Surfer Rob so scared of?

Have you become more, or less fearless with age?

I remember I was once scared of a lot of things. When I was a kid – well, when we were all kids – there were these inconsistencies in the way we behaved; there were normal things that we were afraid to do and things that we should have been afraid to do but we fearlessly did them regardless of the possible consequences. For example, I should have been afraid to tunnel through a giant pile of loose dirt, but apparently that was something I had to have collapse on top of me before I figured out that it wasn’t such a great idea.

I was the kind of kid who played with fire and fireworks; I once accidentally exploded an M80 in my hand, which thank goodness was wide open and in the act of throwing the explosive in panic when it went off. I jumped curbs on my bicycle with impunity, although once I miscalculated and hit a tree square in the middle with the front tire, which threw me over the handlebars. I hit the tree face-first; but I’m still quite handsome, I assure you all!

Charles Walker on high dive during Junior Day ...
(Photo credit: UW Digital Collections)

And what was I afraid of? I remember once I was afraid to jump from a high dive into the deep end of a swimming pool at a water park, and I held up the line until I decided to just go ahead and do it, rather than let everyone see the jerk who was holding up the line. I was scared to leave Michigan for the longest time because I didn’t want to be stranded, but finally I got fed up with being the bug and I got off the highway. Most of all, I was afraid of asking for help, afraid to look stupid, and I was afraid to talk to girls I was interested in. Reaching out, exposing my own weakness – you couldn’t get me to name a price on that.

I feel like most of that has evaporated; there are certain life events that irrevocably change a person, and the more involved they are the more a person is changed by them. Getting married, having children, buying a house, successfully managing a complex budget and fulfilling a role as the sole income earner – these things have made me somewhat fearless, and although I am not impervious to doubt and hesitation, I am certainly better equipped and able to handle anything that life might throw at me; in fact, part of me secretly dares life to do something extreme, just because that part craves a real challenge.

What I mean to say is that I’ve got this licked.

What do you think? Have any events in your life helped to erase fears and doubts that previously held you back?


This post was prompted by today’s Daily Post prompt.

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