We all have those moments in life where we get the fear. You know, the feeling of not being able to go through with something because of the “what if?”. I’m fearful all the time of the what ifs – it could be something as simple as not stepping into a class at the gym because I’m scared everyone will see how unfit I am, or I won’t know how to use the equipment properly. I get scared of events where I’ll have to network with complete strangers, and I worry I’ll say something so stupid, people will think I’m an impostor. Listen, I even get conscious of walking towards a door which doesn’t have a push or pull sign and think everyone will laugh if I try to open it in the wrong way. When actually in reality, people are too busy getting on with their own lives to worry about whether I’m pushing or pulling. But I’m a natural worrier and even though I try hard, I always seem to fear the worst which stops me from living my life to the fullest.
When we were kids I had no fear. I didn’t know what fear was. But as I got older, anxiety kicked in. I couldn’t really tell you when, there was no definitive point, but I think it’s definitely got worse in the past three to four years. It’s being out of my comfort zone which I don’t cope well with. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a confident person – I mean come on, I moved to London by myself and I coped…for a while. But I’m also a huge creature of habit. I like routine. I like to know exactly where I’m going and I like to have everything organised within an inch of its life. This is why I usually offer to organise trips away because I fear leaving it in someone else’s (probably very capable) hands will tip me over the edge with anxiety.
This week I decided the fear had to stop.
Because on Monday I received the opportunity to go to Hong Kong Fashion Week. And the truth is, I very nearly said no. Because I was scared of the what ifs. I’d be completely by myself for a week in a city on the other side of the world. I’d be in a city where I wouldn’t be able to explain my peanut allergy very clearly. I’d be trying to navigate across a city on a transport system I have no clue about. These are all rational fears most sane people would have, I get that, but were they really enough to stop me flying to China for this amazing adventure? Hell to the no.
I even surprised myself when I replied with a yes. The one thing that kept ringing in my head as I typed was, I couldn’t bear to reach ninety and think, what was I thinking when I turned that opportunity down? The fear of having regrets overrode any other fear I had in the moment. Sometimes you just have to think, OK, if the worst was to happen, could I, and how would I, deal with it. Once you face the worry head on, it becomes easier to say yes more often. It mostly boils down to trusting yourself to cope with whatever’s thrown at you and that way, you can live your life to the fullest.
So I’m going to Hong Kong. For a week in July. All alone. Ask me the day before I fly if I still believe everything I’ve just written above.
P.S If you like my cinematic lightbox above, which I now have on my desk reminding me to forget the fear, you can find it at Trouva – a lifestyle website which brings together the best of the UK’s independent stores, from fashion to interiors. This was only £38.95 and it makes such a great addition to my office space.