Fear is a very strong emotion that should never rule our lives. When it does it pulls everything else out of whack. Let’s look at some of the different things that many people fear. Since this is a blog primarily about living in my senior years I will try to concentrate on that group.
- Fear Investing wrong for retirement – Given all the stock market crashes in the last twenty years or so this is a biggie with some people. They come to the conclusion that if they do save for retirement that it will all just get wiped away at the next market crash. With that mentality many seniors fail to save even close to the amount they will need in their retirement years. Doing nothing in this area should not be an option.
- Fear of being physically hurt by an event – Most of us who are seniors have aches and pains as we get older. Many fear that if they were to exercise it would just compound that pain. Therefore it is safer to just live a sedimentary life. Of course this usually leads to the opposite effect. I have often found that I feel much better when I leave the YMCA than before I got there.
- Fear of being emotionally hurt – This one really applies to many throughout their lives, I know it had a grip on me for some of my younger years, but is not uncommon among us seniors. We don’t want to commit to relationships with others for fear of being hurt at some time in the future. With that mentality we are doomed to a life of isolation and often despair. Yes, sometimes we will be hurt emotionally by others but that is just life. We are communal creatures; we were meant to interact with others. To live in isolation to its extreme is worse than not living at all!
- Fear of not having enough security – When we fear for our security we often take irrational steps that we normally would not do. One of this most mortal examples I can think of right now is buying a hand gun to protect ourselves. Statistics clearly show that the most often victim in these types of situations are is the gun owner, not the person they are confronting. Another example is hunkering down in our homes for fear of what might happen if we venture out into the world.
When we are driven by fear it causes us to make bad decisions and it often stifles our lives. It doesn’t allow us to see better alternatives and it causes us to pass up some truly fruitful and rewarding opportunities.
One example of being driven by fear that, on a national level, seems to happen often in recent years is voting for someone who you would normally not vote for simply because they have put fear in you about voting for their opponent. This has been a common happening several times in my lifetime. One politician makes you believe that if you vote for his opponent the world, or at least the U.S. will cease to exist. Unfortunately given the closeness of many elections this inordinate fear is often just enough to gain a win for that person.
A certain amount of fear is a good thing as long as we keep it in perspective but when it causes irrational responses in us it is a dreadful thing.
And the journey goes on….