I was taught, from the time I was born, that everyone was out for themselves–in fact, I was the only person who could look out for me (besides my mother, of course) and that I should always be prepared for this. I learned that the best way to stay alive was to live in perpetual fear of everything.

Stray dogs and cats surely have rabies. Restaurants will always over-salt the food which will lead to heart disease. A person loitering the streets will most certainly attack me. Flying would eventually lead to an airplane crash. And of course, by leaving the blinds open at night, I was inviting criminals in to my house.

I’ve spent a good portion of my adult life trying to undo some of these irrational fears of the world I’ve developed to shelter myself from disappointment and let down. Sure, the more I have let my guard down, the more I have opened myself up to the opportunities for exposure and risk but I’ve also gotten to experience life at its unadulterated and imperfect best.

Who decided that those risks weren’t worth the experiences? We may not be able to control life, but we sure can control how we chose to live it.

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. Helen Keller

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