Fear and aging. Two of the things that most human beings have in common is that we are scared and getting older. Most of us we fear getting older, but that is a very different conversation altogether. I want to talk about the fear of what if.
Today I have two things I am keenly aware of being afraid of.
- I have a car in the shop for routine service
- It is my first time compiling the Database Weekly newsletter.
I will skip over the first one, if you own a car, you understand that fear all too well.
The second one is not a worry of the unknown. I have very well recorded set of instructions on what the task is, what settings to set, and what buttons to push. The fact that you are reading this right now is, in fact, evidence that it all worked one way or another. Of course, back here in the pre-newsletter published timeline, my fear is that I might do something wrong. As I am preparing the newsletter, I am thinking of all the ways I have messed up in the past sending emails and documents.
- What if I don’t follow the instructions right?
- What if I make a critical mistake?
- What if I made a spelllong error like misspelling spelling?
- What if this editorial isn’t awesome, or even worse, inadvertently, yet deeply, offends someone.
For me, fear rests in a lot of questions prefixed with “What if?” And right now, while I am working through the process, the fear is palpable. No matter how much I think I understand the process, no matter how careful I am, I might make a mistake. At this point I may sound as if I am actively having a panic attack sitting under my desk contemplating a career change. It couldn’t be farther from the truth. I mentioned age earlier. There is a saying, “With age comes wisdom.” What this really means is, “The longer you live, the more mistakes you have made and not only learned from them, you have survived them. Remember what you did that worked before.”
As a longtime DBA before becoming an editor, with access to personal data and mission critical database servers that I could have easily destroyed (easily!) I have honed these rational fears of making a mistake into a type of efficiency. Checking over and over to satiate the fears makes me as sure as possible I haven’t done anything stupid, without becoming paralyzed by that same fear and then missing deadlines.
Fear keeps us from doing dumb things, the trick is to not let it keep you from doing anything. The better question is "What if I don't do anything of value" and that is scarier than anything. As scared as I am to press the "Newsletter is ready to publish button." that is my next task.
Also, just got the call, $700 in normal, routine, (and reasonable) maintenance and repairs. Part of me want to say "no", but the fear of what happens if I don't take care of my vehicle is a fear that I have all too many lessons stored up about.