Fear…I am not sure I have one that can be categorized as such. In my mind, ‘fear’ is something that would keep me awake all night, unable to leave the house, unwilling to speak, and the like. Born into a middle-class family at a time of peace, I never knew what it meant to live in a war zone, to go without food and shelter, etc. so what I do not know, I cannot fear. I can imagine, but my mind cannot access it fully. Yes I know, there is irrational fear – hope this exercise is not referring to them.
So I guess my worst fear-like ‘thing’ would be to leave this world unnoticed, no footprint.
Let me explain. I do not seek fame and fortune nor validation from the world at large. What I fear is that I have failed to create a positive change that benefits other people. It does not necessarily need be earth-shattering – again Nobel Prize isn’t what I had in mind. It need not be global, just a positive difference to perhaps one person’s life in the short time that I am in her life. This brought to mind Mitch Albom’s book “Five People You Meet in Heaven”. In the book, the protagonist, Eddie, discovered the impact and meaning of his life on others – people whom he hardly knows.
So perhaps my anxiety is existential in that I’d probably not find out if I have made a positive impact …till I’m dead and gone. Perhaps I might look down (yes, going to heaven 😉 ) as the eulogy progresses. So the tension is to sit with this fear and desire, and not-knowing and hope; and the knowledge that I can only be who I am and what will be, will be.
And perhaps it is so with children that, should we get it right, they will take a part of us with them, be our footprint in the world.