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  • Edición impresa de Mayo 19, 2009.

Given the many problems that affect our daily life, I decided to fight fear.

After the latest news about the worldwide spread influenza, I tried recalling some of the fears that, especially lately, we have been absorbing through the media and even through daily conversations around us. We have been told about terrorism and how the alert goes from one color level to the next. We should also beware of contaminated food, like tomatoes, chilies, meat, peanut butter and so on.

And let us not forget about water pollution, inedible fish, lead painting, plastic food containers, etc. All those concerns come from the outside, and to that I may add some of my own like,

“I’m afraid of spiders”; “I’m afraid of ending up alone”; “I’m afraid of not being happy”; “I’m afraid of flying”; “I’m afraid of dying”; “I’m afraid of falling.” And without a doubt, “I’m afraid of failing.”

“I am afraid of cancer and all sorts of diseases.”

I cannot leave out that I should be afraid of the way the economy is going, if I will have work tomorrow, if we will lose our house, and more.

If I pay attention to the news, living abroad or just traveling is a fearful act, since I will be in touch with violence, robbery, and all sorts of threats.

One could think of buying enough insurance to be protected at all times. Besides that some people think that it is very effective to buy arms and be well stocked at home, just in case.

Maybe this collective mode of thinking has turned us against each other and has created an environment in which we would rather have kids playing with the computer instead of roaming the streets on their bikes like other kids did decades ago.

Do kids go out by themselves anymore? Do they go fishing and camping without all sorts of “protection”?

Can young people have self-esteem and be assertive if they should be afraid at every step? Are we creating the conditions for them to look for safety in alcohol, drugs or some sort of escape entertainment?

From the physical stand, our body reacts to fear by creating a rush of adrenaline that enables us to run or fight. Nevertheless if we continually request such response from our body, it becomes overtired since there is a limit to its production and results; therefore we are left with a body that requires more and more caffeine or other substances to give us additional energy in order to survive the day. If we keep running all the time our mind and body become exhausted and lose the ability to experience joy.

When fear rules, there is no time for friends, or to listen to music. There is no time to enjoy the afternoon and see the people, flowers and trees that surround us. We lose the capacity to treasure the present since we are going over and over the ‘things we did wrong’, always blaming and accusing ourselves, and others for things that went bad. At the same time always trying to build the future while ignoring the present.

As I said before, I have decided to fight fear. I have decided to embrace life and love. I have decided to have enough hope and dreams to share and receive.

I have decided to stop the fear immobilizing and entrapping me. I salute with joy and great confidence the new graduates this year. May they be free of fear and move ahead with boldness and courage. I hope they have the time to be delighted for their accomplishments, knowing that the present and future is theirs and they will do better!





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