If you ask the average person what they fear they will likely reel off a list of phobias, from spiders to airplanes and rodents. These fears are very real, but they only exist in those rare moments when we encounter the things we’re scared of. There are other fears that we all have, fears that rarely go away and fears that can even hold us back, stopping us from truly enjoying our time on this earth.
Loss of Loved Ones
All teenagers are a little narcissistic. It’s true for both sexes and it’s not confined to the “mean girl” stereotype, regardless of what high-school movies would have you believe. Middle Grade and YA literature is a good example of this. I’ve written such stories in the past and I learned from one of the best writers in the genre. One of the first things they told me was to write for an audience that thought of themselves as the center of the universe. It sounds harsh, but how many of you can honestly look back at your childhood and say you weren’t much more narcissistic than you are now?
The good thing is that when we mature, we become more empathetic, more understanding of the people around us. We lose the invincibility of youth and start worrying more about our own demise, but we also start worrying a lot more about our loved ones. To a grown women with kids, one of the biggest fears is losing their children. It’s a fear that far outweighs any concerns we have for our own mortality and one that stays with us (and even grows stronger) as that child grows and becomes more independent.
The good news is that it’s very rare to suffer the loss of a child. In Australia, fewer than 1,000 infants die a year. This number is still high and means that there are thousands of traumatized parents out there, but it’s rare.
The bad news is that the fear and the perception of how heartbreaking this reality would be is not an exaggeration. As anyone who has lost a child will tell you, it’s truly heartbreaking and it stays with you forever.
Also, spare a thought for parents in poorer countries. More than 25,000 children die every year, the vast majority of which die in poor countries from issues that are preventable and would have likely been prevented in countries like Australia.
Loss of Control
Deep down, we’re all control freaks because we all feel more comfortable when we’re in control of our own destiny. This rules every aspect of our existence and if you begin to take that control away then you eat away at the very fabric of what keeps us safe and happy.
This applies to all areas, from control of our love life and our kids to the big one: control of our finances. Money may not be able to buy you happiness directly, but it can certainly buy you comfort and stability, and when we have that then we worry less, we stress less and we are happier by default.
These days most families are struggling. Households the length and breadth of the country are getting into debt and it’s having a big impact on the country and our happiness. The good news is that there is a lot of help for bad credit borrowers out there, the bad news is that for every service that offers help, there is a credit card with a high interest, a payday loan that threatens to bankrupt you and a bucket load of bills.
We fear debt like we fear everything else, but the difference is that this fear is something many of us face everyday.
Loss of Youth
It’s a cliche, but it’s true, we all fear getting older. The cliche is often attached to women, but it’s something that men feel as well, they just hide it more. They claim not to care about getting old because their grey hair and their wrinkles are not as frowned upon by a society that has become beauty-obsessed. Women are praised for their youthful looks and seen as over the hill before they hit 40, while men are given a pass. but deep down, the fear we have is the same because deep down it’s death and the unknown that we fear.
Aging is a sign that we’re getting close to the end, it’s a sign that we’re losing our innocence and our beauty, but it’s also a sign that we no longer have the rest of our lives to look forward to.
But it need not be this way. Life may feel short, but we should all be lucky to have made it this far and to have those years ahead or behind. There are so many things that can kill you, so many people who die before their time and no way to stop the inevitable. We just have to embrace that inevitability and live as much as we can before that. The more wrinkles the better, because it means we’ve lived more, loved more and conquered more of our fears.