I was driving with the windows down yesterday, enjoying the 70 degree weather and 90s Pop Pandora station streaming through my speakers. I was singing along, finally feeling rested if not still fatigued with a sickness that is taking its sweet time leaving my system. I thought about how great it was just to be able to see a beautiful day like that. It reminded me that I should remember to be really thankful because the universe is mysterious and infinite and it doesn’t owe any of us jackshit.
I remember my dad telling me it was a miracle I was even alive. Not because I had a tumultuous entrance into this world, but because of all the places in all the universe, my molecules were in this place in this time, beside him as his daughter. I always think about that, but never long or often enough.
It entered back into my consciousness as I was smiling on the drive home yesterday. I thought “Wow, really, how lucky am I?” Not in that humble brag, not really thankful but pretending to be so I can still gloat without guilt kinda way. In the way that reminded me that even if I give thanks every day (not to anyone in particular – the universe itself most likely), I need to be thankful in a way that is equivalent to what I have. And what I have is endless. Therefore, I have to be endlessly thankful. The only way to do that is let go of all the fear.
Sure, I will always be the worrier. I will always be the girlfriend calling to make sure her boyfriend is not in a fiery wreck in a ditch somewhere. I am the daughter who will always call to make sure her parents are safe from the storm coming their way. I am the sister who will send links to my sibling to make sure she knows what’s going on in her community. I am the person who knows real fear of death, who is afraid of every ache and pain, and who shakes a little in her boots when it comes to a handful of my own hangups.
But I have never been afraid of change and I have never been afraid of going the road alone. I have dined alone, learned alone, coped alone, traveled alone, and found my true self alone. I have no qualms letting go of the fear alone, though I know I am so lucky to be the opposite of that.
See, letting go of these fears is the only true way to be fully thankful of what I have. I can’t fully enjoy my blessings if I’m always scared to lose them. I can’t wholly appreciate them if I am caught up in worrying if what I have will always be here. Really, that’s where all of my fear, all of OUR fears, come from in one way or another: losing what we have.
While I am thankful for my life, constantly fearing it will end is not a way to be grateful. To be grateful, all I have to do is wake up, thank the universe for cosmically coming together to form my atoms, and live the gift to its fullest.
This realization happened in the small space of my Cougar in a matter of seconds, but those seconds were enough to make an impression. I will grapple with fear for the rest of my life – hell, I haven’t even crossed off more than one item on my gonna list of frights – but I will also be eternally grateful for the fact that I have things to be frightened about losing.