Sunday, November 20, 2011

NaBloPoMo 10: Facing Fears

It seems I've fallen off the map once again, and for that I apologize. But life in Korea is a constant adventure, and, well, you can just call me Frodo.

It's appropriate, though, that on the two week marker I'm writing a blog based on facing your fears, as I've been facing quite a few of mine lately. The question asks, "Have you faced fears and overcome them?"

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer:

One thing I've noticed in Korea is how much they covet youth. Men will dye their hair so no one can tell they've gone grey. Women will wear mountains of make up to look younger. Yes, I know this trend exists in America, and probably everywhere else on earth. However, it feels more prevalent here. Maybe it's just the culture shock talking, but nonetheless, I made a conclusion about youth that seemed really deep. The more I think about it though, the more obvious it seems.

Youth is not coveted because of wrinkle free skin or thick, luscious locks. On the surface, yeah, youth is all about the sexy looks. But underneath it all, I think youth is held on a pedestal due to the endless possibilities. Anything can happen. You can change your entire identity, go anywhere, do anything if you only put your mind to it. There are so many choices to be made and adventures to have. There's a world of information to learn, and for the young, there is a whole life to learn it.

I think half the reason people end up so old and bitter is because they don't take risks. To me, taking risks means facing your fears, head on. Now that I'm done with the scheduled part of life (high school, college), I'm more terrified than I've ever been. So in that cop-out respect, you could say I'm facing my worst fears by just living day by day.

But I digress. I have faced fears by taking a lot of risks. Applying to Northwestern, auditioning for choirs, joining comedy forum and performing on stage, all of that put me in a sorry state, but it was completely worth it.

The biggest risk I took was choosing to live alone, on the other side of the world. Far from my friends and family, and nearly everything else familiar. But that was only the beginning. Each day here I face my fears. Not in the melodramatic, ohmylifeisterrible kind of way. Just the knowledge that I could easily fail in a lot of new ways.

Stephen Colbert gave an amazing speech at Commencement a few years back. After a solid few minutes of jokes, he mentioned that in improv classes, you learned to say yes to everything. Otherwise, the scene won't move forward. The same goes for life, he said. Say yes to everything. And sometimes you'll fall flat on your face, but most of the time you'll discover new, amazing things about the world and yourself (he obviously said it better).

So that's what I'm trying to do here. Say yes, seize opportunities, take risks, and get messy! Magic School Bus, anyone? No?


Anyways, I try to face my fears about the language barrier, getting lost, making a fool of myself, etc.

My conclusions thus far support Colbert's advice. The more I say yes, the more people I meet, the more I learn, and the more I enjoy life.

I guess this post was a bit disjointed, so let's go back to the short answer. Have I faced fears lately?

Hell yes. But I'd rather travel to Mordor than stay in the Shire all my life.

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