Feeling the Fear

When I opened the blinds this morning, what did I see? Clear blue skies and brilliant sunshine? Nope, that was yesterday. What I saw today was a dull grey sky and a street that looked decidedly gloomy. Was I surprised? Not in the slightest. You see, tomorrow I am heading off on holiday, so it was inevitable that the weather would change. I have warned everyone I know to stock up with wellies, pac-a-macs, umbrellas and to put away the suntan lotion. Summer is officially over. Sharon is going on holiday.

Seriously, I have looked at the weather forecast for the area we are going to and the prognosis isn’t as bad as I feared. There will be one day of sunshine and showers. The other days are expected to be cooler but dry. No sign of sunshine but at least any paddling we do will have to be in the sea, not down the street. I can live with that.

Frankly, I can’t get away fast enough. I am really hoping that all the fresh air will knock me out and finally mean I get some sleep each night. I am really getting fed up of waking up three or four times during the night, to lay there with all these worries and anxieties running through my mind, only to fall asleep about half an hour before the dratted alarm goes off.

September is a massive month for me. I have sent my novel to be critiqued which is truly scary, having never let anyone read it before. I have a wedding coming up – well, a civil partnership. My daughter and her partner are getting spliced and as mother of one of the brides, I am giving her away. As someone who hides from any kind of limelight (I know, you’d never guess, right?) this is a really agonizing prospect. I am very proud to do the honours, but the thought of all those people watching fills me with dread. Although, really, that’s one massive ego trip right there. I mean, who’s going to care about me when they see my beautiful daughter and her partner in their gorgeous wedding dresses? I have never been to a civil partnership ceremony before so that will be interesting, but even so, I admit, I have butterflies every time I think about it.

I also have my driving test in September. Dear God, even seeing those words in print makes me sweat. I am truly terrified and I simply can’t imagine being able to remember how to even start the dratted car up under the beady stare of the examiner. My lovely instructor keeps telling me that they’re all human and that they want me to pass. Of course, she is lying. She does it beautifully but far too often. She is always telling me I’m “fab” and that “you can do this!” She is the most positive person I know.  Sometimes, I wish I could have her sitting on my shoulder like Jiminy Cricket.

I have also got to deal with the fact that my first night out with the girls from work is looming, and as someone who has battled a form of social phobia for nearly thirty years, this isn’t something to be trite about, believe me.  As we made our final menu choices and brought in deposits yesterday I could feel my stomach churning with nerves. It’s all getting frighteningly real, and it’s not like I only have one night out to deal with. In my impulsive desire to grow, move on, change, embrace my new “fiftydom” I rashly signed up for three nights out! Sometimes I think I’m actually trying to give myself a nervous breakdown.

Then, at the end of the month, I move back in with DH after a whole ten months apart, and to be honest, that is the thing that is scaring me the most. We have both changed a lot in the last year. We have developed new interests, made new friends, lived more or less separate lives. What if it all goes wrong? What if we can’t stand to be in each other’s pockets again? What if, what if, what if…

Writers are always encouraged to think about the “what ifs”. That would be fine if I could just switch it on for the writing process, but I do it all the time in my life and I am constantly being told that I think too much.  How do you switch your brain off so that you can actually wind down and get some sleep? How do you silence the little voice that’s telling you it’s all going to go horribly wrong?

I once read a book by Susan Jeffers called Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. It is a very positive book aimed at making you acknowledge that some things are going to scare you, but determine that it’s not going to stop you from doing them all the same. Somewhere in my subconscious I must have stored that book away, because at the grand age of fifty I seem to be breaking out of my comfort zone and pushing the boundaries. Is that a bad thing? A work colleague of mine, who is in her mid sixties and recently had a hip replacement, is auditioning for The Chase  this week, because she fancies Bradley Walsh and thinks it would be a laugh. She has also just signed up for a charity sky dive. I kid you not. Another colleague, in her early sixties, goes gliding. They make me look like the most timid, boring person ever. If they can face up to The Chaser and even take to the skies, surely I can deal with a critique, a driving test, a wedding, a night out and a house move? I can do this. Can’t I?

I’m off to Cornwall and you know what? I’m going to explore, laugh, paddle and scoff cream teas and pasties and put all this out of my head for seven glorious (though probably not weather-wise) days. The fear can wait till I get back – because, “what if” it all goes right and everything turns out perfectly? Now there’s a thought …

Have a great week xx  

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