Irrational Fear

When this goes live, we will be on our return flight from a short trip to Norway, a trip which almost didn’t happen.

It’s a little embarrassing to talk about this, but let me give you some background first.

Two of the reasons I was excited about moving to Scotland relate to those two friends I mentioned in the last post, Judy and Monica. They have both died since I left Australia, but as they played such a big part in my life and my children were best friends with their children as they all grew up, I’ve tried to keep in touch with their children.

What does this have to do with moving to Scotland?

Well, one of Monica’s daughters lives here, and one of Judy’s sons lives in Norway. I knew I’d finally be able to visit them both in their homes, something which until then, had been too difficult and expensive.

It’s been great to be such a big part of their lives in the last few years. We’ve had many visits with Monica’s daughter and her family, and we’ve been able to see her children grow into beautiful teenagers.

We visited Judy’s son and his family the first year we were here, the next year they came to stay with us in Glasgow, then we saw them in Australia the third year, and in Oslo again last year. So, I really wanted to have one more visit with them in Norway, before it became that place too far away. But something was stopping me.

Irrational fear.

For some crazy reason, as the reality of living back in Australia drew closer and closer, I developed an irrational fear, a fear that I will never get to live in Australia again. Maybe my fear is there because I want to live in Australia so badly that I’ve created a type of superstition around the event. I can’t imagine why, but it’s like this, I’m scared I will die before I get there, or some enormous Icelandic eruption will prevent me from getting there before I die of old age, or something else… Insane, I know.

But here’s where the really irrational bit comes into play:

Do I stay away from the most dangerous form of transport known to mankind – the car? No, I’m happy to drive or be driven anywhere.

Do I shun full fat foods and take drugs to lower my cholesterol? No, I eat what I love and refuse the drugs.

Do I do worry about flying to other countries? Er…yes!

I haven’t developed a fear of flying, I’ve developed a fear of planning to fly!!!

So, I kept deferring making the arrangements, committing to dates, or contacting the people I hoped to visit. Basically, I avoided organising my trip to Norway.

The first time this irrational fear arose was in February this year. I really wanted to visit Iceland before we left Scotland. It seemed silly not to go while we were living so nearby, but I let the time roll on, too afraid to commit to going.

However, eventually I took a deep breath, put on my brave face and committed to the trip. That was when all my silly fears vanished. We had a fantastic few days in Iceland in April and we’ve now had a lovely holiday in Norway, but all this has prompted me to reflect a little deeper than I normally would on the subject of fear.

Biologically, fear is a basic survival mechanism to alert us to prepare for flight or fight in the face of real danger, but those types of danger are rare in our civilised society. Our dangers are far more hidden. I’d be very unlucky to meet up with a tiger and be eaten in Glasgow, but there are numerous ways I could suddenly be thrust into danger in today’s world – car accidents, plane crashes (there, I said it), and illness, but fighting or fleeing won’t help those situations. Perhaps this why we develop other things to be scared of?

Monsters under the bed, spiders, ghosts, moths, mice, birds, never getting to live in Australia again! 🙂

I don’t consider myself a fearful person, nor do I think of myself as superstitious normally, but I can remember past situations where a fear has influenced a decision I made, either I did or didn’t do or say something based on the irrational fear, and it is those occasions that bring me the greatest regrets in my life.

So, I tell myself this, I tell myself it is better to take the action I irrationally fear than to succumb to it. Hopefully, this attitude will lead to many good decisions like the trips to Iceland and Norway, and few regrets.


Oslo May 2012 055

Is this good advice I give myself? What do you think? Has fear ever prevented you from doing something you now regret? Or maybe your fear isn’t irrational and it serves you well. Let me know.

By the way, I don’t fear planning to go home to Australia!

Give me a home among the gum trees!

9 thoughts on “Irrational Fear

  1. I am also very worried about heading back to Melbourne. But it is quiet rational, I have been in Darwin for about12 years and in all that time it has never fallen below 15c even in the middle of a winters night. How am I going to handle waking up at 2c then having a maximum of 10c the hottest it will be all day. I really don’t know how I survived 20 years of childhood there, but I think its because children don’t feel the cold as much. I am looking forward to it in every way but the weather. Lets just hope I survive it or I may have to leave my home town again and go and see how Broom is to live in.
    so hurry up and get to work global warming, I have very little time left.

  2. Interesting read, personally something I like to keep in mind that reactions are a choice. The chemicals that flood the brain will occur when the flight or fight response is triggered, but HOW one reacts to those chemicals is a choice. It is defiantly easier said than done (controlling reactions), but the more you do it, the more automatic it becomes, cause the human brain is pretty awesome like that 😀

  3. Pingback: One Last Look at 2013 | Juli Townsend's Transition to Home

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