Fear is all around us, and the news is full of it–a plane full of people goes missing and their poor families wait in unimaginable agony for news of any kind. An apartment building blows up in NY, killing some people, injuring others and leaving them homeless. A madman runs into a school, shooting everyone he sees. So many people are out of work and, despite their best efforts, just can’t get a break. Our loved ones get sick or die on us, our computers get hacked, someone steals our identity, and on and on it goes. It seems that fear is right in our face, 24/7.
The biggest fear of all seems to be the big bad “What If?” We hear all this terrible stuff in the news and wonder if our up-until-now pretty great lives are at stake–what if any of this stuff happens to us? Letting that first fear in is just the beginning. Then comes the worrying about ‘should I never fly again? What if my home blows up? What if a shooter comes to my kid’s school? What if I lose my job? What if my husband/wife dies? What if someone steals my identity or my car or my purse? What will I do???’
But look at it this way–if they haven’t happened yet, they may not ever happen. This does not mean that we should skip merrily along life’s winding road and not prepare for possible emergencies. But it doesn’t mean that we have to live our lives in constant fear, either. Don’t even let that fear get a toehold.
The best we can do is to be positive, but not blind. We can prepare the best we can for emergencies in the usual ways:
- Have a 72-hour emergency kit packed and ready [see “72-hour emergency kit” under Good Tips in General, posted September 5, 2013]
- Have copies of your important papers stashed somewhere safe
- Be sure that every family member knows the meeting place and phone number(s) in case everyone gets split up
- Have a ready stash of cash in case banks and ATMs aren’t functioning
- Make provisions for pets and their care
- Have medications ready to grab
- Keep the vehicles in good shape and gassed up
You can adjust to what suits your situation. When that’s done, there’s one less thing to worry about. We certainly can’t control the things around us, but we can control ourselves. It just isn’t possible to prepare for each and every thing that might happen; that way lies madness.
Here’s the thing: we just can’t afford to live our lives in fear. We can’t afford to waste our time with petty things that don’t matter (i.e., squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle vs. from the end can be irritating, but it isn’t life-threatening). We can’t worry endlessly, and we can’t let fear rule our lives.
The most we can do is to prepare the best we can, be positive, live our lives, love our families and friends and reach out to those who need our comfort and support. If we can remember to give as we’ve been given to, help as we have been helped, and love as we have been loved, we will move a long, long way from fear.