I find that some of the best conversations occur after midnight.
The other weekend I was hanging out with two of my friends, casually drinking beers & having deep life chats (one of my favorite pastimes). We got on the topic of meeting people & the concept of “no new friends.” Fortunately, we all left college with a solid group of amazing friends & found ourselves feeling anxious when we had to interact with new people. My one friend said she legitimately tenses up when having to make small talk & I admitted I’ve found myself feeling skittish when meeting new people.
That surprised me.
For one thing, I would not describe myself as “skittish.” I don’t think I’ve ever been skittish or avoidant of any social situation in my entire life. I’ve been an extrovert since I’ve been five & habitually over-confident (sometimes edging on cocky). And yet there I was admitting that I felt skittish when meeting new people.
You know what I realized? I’m scared. And it’s not only me–we’re all pretty scared. Somehow, slowly, we’ve become a generation of cowards.
How did this happen? It’s like at some point, unbeknownst to us, we turned in our reckless attitudes & no-fear mentalities, and realized we’re only human aka no longer invincible.
We’re afraid of meeting new people yet fear feeling antisocial.
We’re afraid of staying at our soulless, 50+ hours/week job yet fear making that leap into the unknown.
We’re afraid to send the first text, come off too needy, actually fall in love, yet are terrified of lonely nights, meaningless dates, the fate of ending up alone.
We’re afraid to have hope because we don’t want to be disappointed. We’re afraid to be hopeless because we don’t want to be jaded. It’s like we know it’ll work out but we don’t really believe it, we know that we should be vulnerable and get out of our comfort zones but don’t really want to.
This fear causes us to delay decisions because we think they’ll derail our lives, get stuck in these periods of stagnancy because we think we can’t handle the peaks and valleys. We don’t want to waste our time yet we’re scared it’ll run out. We’re scared of failing, free falling, flying. Consequences, never figuring it out, never getting it right.
What happened to us? We used to be so fearless. We used to stay up until 3 am just because. We had nothing figured out but it didn’t bother us and honestly, we didn’t care. We weren’t afraid to make mistakes, kiss the boy first, try something new, fail over and over again, be spontaneous just because we felt young. Sure maybe we were naïve and a lot more reckless, but hell, we were having fun.
I think that we all think too much, myself included. Instead of trying to simplify our lives, we over complicate it (sometimes without even knowing). We crave control and safety because we’re afraid to just let it go…but it’s not making us any happier. It’s just making us fearful and sad.
I hope we get to the point where the balances shift. That we become more afraid of having a mediocre life that we all start to live a little bit more. Take more risks, let go & know we’ll land on our feet. I hope we know that life isn’t completely without safety nets just because we’ve grown up. And even if parts of our lives do shatter, we can always pick it back up again.
So honestly, f*ck being afraid. Just because we’ve growled up doesn’t mean we have to become lame. We’re all so much better than that. &.