What Would You Do If You Are Not Afraid?

I read this question in a book in which the author asks a group of women what they would do if they were not afraid and the answers are astounding. Some want to start a business. Some want to travel the world. And some even want to change this world.

As I read all of those responses, I felt a lump form in my throat because I knew that my answer was none of those things. In fact, the very question “What Would You Do If You Are Not Afraid?” is set to receive answers of big ambitions and mine hardly meets the benchmark.

What would I do if I was not afraid?

If I was not afraid, I would simply live a “mediocre” life.

I say mediocre in quotes because despite the fact that I don’t believe that such a life is mediocre, I truly sadly think that it is how our society has come to define the kind of life I want.

If I was not afraid, I would live a life where I have a job that keeps the ball rolling. Nothing world-changing and perhaps nothing as boring as accounting but something that helps me pay my moderate bills. No chasing my dreams or filling my bank account or changing this world kind of job. Just a job that helps me pay the bills while I do what I want with the rest of my time.

If I was not afraid, I would admit to myself and others, that the idea of a small intimate family dinner where some homemade sauce is brewing on my stone kitchen counter sounds more exciting to me that backpacking across this world. If I was not afraid, I would admit to myself that soaking bread in a buttery soup and leisurely munching dinner under the stars sounds way more exciting than power-lunches.

If I was not afraid, I would be brave enough to “waste” a passion.  For every single time, someone says “Oh… you write so well!” I would deftly respond with “But… that doesn’t mean I have to do something about it right?”

If I was not afraid, I would earn very little money, and save just enough not because I like money but because I like how it can sometimes keep the ones I love safe. I would accept a “mediocre”” paycheque from a job that just isn’t passionate, world-changing or lucrative enough just so that I can have the time to make muffins and read Austen again.

If I was not afraid, I would get rid of everything I don’t need. It bothers me to no end how most houses have these little show pieces imprisoned in a big glass showcase that serves no purpose but just stare at you meaninglessly. If I was not afraid, I would grow up and give up my “adult” toys. Before you let your imagination run wild, I am referring to the houses and cars.

If I was not afraid, I would scream at anyone who asks me to travel the world and tell them that within the few thousand kilometers I have lived, I have seen enough kindness and enough malice and that I am tired. And then I would softly tell them that if I ever put all of those things that belong to me in a suitcase and get on a train, I am very afraid that I will never want to return.

If I was not afraid, I would tell this world that the only big desire I have left in me is to see a daffodil flower in all its glory. Although I have read the poetry a few hundred times, I have adamantly never googled to see how a daffodil looks because frankly… If I am not afraid, I will accept to myself that perhaps the most curiosity left within me is to meet a daffodil.

It is ridiculous to imagine that my last words if this wish is not fulfilled, would be incredibly selfish and sound something like  “I wish I had seen a daffodil” and not “I wish I had written a book that everybody loves or made enough money to change this world!”

If I was not afraid, I would just be unabashedly mediocre. I will spend a few extra minutes after waking up every single morning. I will leave no property behind for children or no legacy behind for this world to gush over long after I am dead. I won’t become a millionaire or start my own big thing or change this world with my ideas.

If I was not afraid, I would do or rather not do a lot of things.

But I am afraid. More than anything, I am afraid of living a life well lived as most people define it today.