When Did Life Start Being Scary?

As children, we fear nothing. We leap before we look, try adventurous things, and don’t think about the repercussions. As we grow up and grow older, we focus more on the “what could happen” than living in the moment. As an 8 year old I remember jumping into my Aunt’s pool on a hot Sunday afternoon with my brother. We would compete against each other, making up different jump/trick names. Some of those jumps resulted in a major “belly flop burn”, while others left us discombobulated in the water as we swam to the surface. Looking back, we took chances all for the fun. Flash forward 15 years, and I dip my toes into the water cautiously. I get nervous if I swim too far and can’t touch my feet on the ground in a lake, and think twice about leaping into unknown territory. When did things stop being fun and start getting too serious?

In the dating world, I fear the older we get, the more cautious we become. Like being in the water, the 13 year old me thought nothing of asking a boy to dance. After years of relationships and added baggage from being hurt, I have a hard time even smiling at someone on the subway without my best friend nudging me to do so. Unfortunately, I know I am not the only one to keep my guard up. As many of us wait to settle into our 30s as we focus on our careers firsthand, I see the percent of singles in their 40s rising. A friend of mine came out of a 7 year relationship badly burnt and a tad cynical. When voicing my concerns about our growing caution, he explained his side to me as “If the “perfect” relationship ended, and you know how 7 years are like with living with someone, then what’s the point of looking?”

Albert Einstein explained that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. As we date, we repeat our habits, our search for our type, become more narrow minded with more baggage, and expect a different result. Maybe a small part of all of us is crazy. As another male friend said to me recently “Love is finding someone that you can deal with their level of crazy and still be happy”. Now that I start to riffle through dating stories, I wonder if he’s right?

But what if all we do is look before we leap? Will we ever fall for someone again? It’s so easy to write someone off by the “NOs” that fall out of your type. I suggest you channel your 8 year old self and jump. Jump freely and fall into love whenever you can.

You never know, someone might be there to catch you.

And if they’re not, then know you still had fun competing.


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