Ever been stuck in a situation where you were afraid to take a decision that could change your life forever, but really had no choice?
I have. Several times. The craziest thing was, I really had no other option. It was like being stuck between a rock and a hard place in a dead end and feeling cornered.
This post was triggered by a email and it got me thinking.
I’ve been doing a lot of that lately, haven’t I? It must be December, when we start to look back and then, look forward.
Introspection takes on a new meaning with each year we live. If, 20 years ago, I were to reflect over a past incident, my reaction at that time would have been very different from what it is now.
Today, when I think back about specific life events, I often smile and even go so far as to give myself a pat on the back for the situations I’ve overcome.
Here’s one of them.
FEAR – “Face Everything And Rise”
One of the scariest moments of my life was when I quit my job before I got married. No, I wasn’t scared to quit my job – or get married – but after I handed in my resignation, I faced such a lot of opposition from my family it wasn’t funny. They thought I was being foolish. I didn’t let it get to me as I had every intention of returning back to work in a few months – in fact, the company I worked with insisted that they’d keep an opening for me, even though I was going to move to another city.
So what was the problem, you’re wondering, right?
For one thing, Life doesn’t exactly work out the way we plan it.
And that is what happened with mine.
- I got married to a wonderful man. Moved to another city.
- Soon after, my Mom developed health problems and we got her to live with us. Her health deteriorated rapidly and in spite of medical attention, the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong.
- I became pregnant
- Our medical bills mounted – and we had a tough time managing the expenses.
- My son came along – babies are expensive you know!
- A year down the line, the doctors finally diagnosed my Mom with lung fibrosis and gave her 6 months to live, at most.
We also moved to another city as my husband changed jobs.
As we tackled our life situations, the thing that ate at me most was not going to work and bringing in the much needed money that would make life so much easier for us. I had a good position before I quit my job – and I also had the good fortune to have ex-employers who were happy to hire me back.
Yet, reality was different. There was no way I could take up a high-flying corporate job with Mom’s uncertain health and a baby at home. In my heart, my family needed me, even though my head reasoned that I could make life much better for them by taking up that job.
This was the hardest decision I had to take.
I did, finally.
Everything you want is on the other side of fear
That’s the truth.
I declined the fabulous job offers I got, so I could be a stay-at-home Mommy and look after my Mom.
My family was a great support, assuring me that I could always return to work when things got better.
While I knew I had done what would make me most happy, I would be lying if I said I did not fantasize about getting back to work.
As I said earlier, life had other plans, yet again.
When my son started playschool and my Mom’s health stabilized a little – I got ready to job-hunt in a market that was going through a major slump. I was either too old (at 36) or too over-qualified – or the job involved a lot of travel… and I got slowly frustrated.
Finally, six months later, I was at the end of my tether when a neighbor told me that a friend of theirs was looking for someone to work from their home office.
My Mom encouraged me to take it up, if only to get out of the house for a few hours every day. I did.
All this while, the fear of a big expense was hanging like a sword over my head. So far, we were just about managing by scrimping on most things. My Mom was in and out of hospital…lung fibrosis is a crazy thing–the medications cause a whole lot of other health issues.
I died of guilt, thinking that here I was, capable of earning a huge salary, and not doing it. It gave me sleepless nights and often made me morose and tearful.
Then one day, my Mom sat me down and told me, firmly, that I “was enough“. My husband and she listed all that I was doing and urged me to see the brighter side.
So we didn’t have money to spare. But..I was doing two things I would never regret!
- Looking after my Mom, being there for her
- Bringing up my son, being there for him, watching him grow
What goes down must bounce back up
– and I was no exception. Even though the job I had at the time was paying peanuts, it did open my eyes and mind to possibilities. Who said I had to do what I had been doing throughout my career?
I explored my abilities. And came up with a healthy list – which looked bright enough to show me a new career path – and do what I always dreamed of – writing. I had nothing to lose and so, added a line that said “Looking for writing work” to my MySpace profile. (yeah, remember MySpace?)
Universe conspires, you know. And I got my first response the next day.
Blogging followed Writing in 2003…
The rest is history, people.
The path to success was paved with fear. I only needed to make up my mind to walk it anyway. I did.
And here I am.
Money can be such a deal-breaker, especially when the alternative is debt – but money’s not everything.
I am glad I had the courage to listen to my heart, even though I was filled with fear and overcame my “what ifs” and “if onlys”. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family and friends, though. They were my personal motivators and helped me rise above my fears! I took the risk and made it work.
Fear is Often described as False Evidence Appearing Real
Have you been faced with a situation in life that required you to show courage and rise above your fear?
I’d love to know in the comments!