Childhood · Nostalgia

Remember Reminder #12: Live Fearlessly

Remember Reminder #12: Live Fearlessly | The Nostalgia Diaries Blog

My eight-year-old tan toes curl around the hot, steel edge of a North Carolina bridge. Below me, a creek swirls and cuts against large boulders that line its wildflower banks. The water shimmers underneath the late afternoon sun as a tiny hummingbird zips across my line of vision. It fearlessly pumps its wings against the thick, humid air, ascends higher, and then—just as quickly as it arrived—disappears. I am young enough to believe I can be just like that ruby-throated wonder, so I take a deep breath, spread my own wings, and then—filled with a delicious mix of fear and joy and excitement—I jump. 

That joy bubbles up inside of me and erupts as a laugh as I start my freefall. I hold my breath as I slice through the water’s seemingly ice-cold surface.

Moments later, when I float to the top and emerge into the air of that hot summer day, I can’t help but notice that I feel deliriously, deliciously, wonderfully alive.

* * *

Once upon a time, I was a gymnast, and a fairly decent one at that. I spent endless hours at the gym, practicing and perfecting my routines. My strong little body tumbled across floors, hurtled toward vaults, moved from bar to bar, and dismounted 4-inch beams. I ran and leapt and swung and flipped and turned and attempted to stick every single one of my landings.

Just like there’s no crying in baseball, there’s no room for fear in gymnastics. You trust that when you come out of that back flip, your feet will land squarely on the floor. You trust that when you propel yourself forward off the springboard, your hands will be positioned correctly on the vault. You trust that when you swing backwards, you will see the bar and catch it at just the right moment. (Though I was always a little nervous to go backwards on the beam, but come on, like I said, 4 inches…)

My physical fearlessness as a gymnast meant that I was pretty fearless when it came to other things, too—things like jumping off bridges and going down ziplines and riding the fastest roller coaster I could find. Since I was shy and had a hard time speaking up, the rush of these other risks felt like a way I could live out loud a little bit more.

* * *

During gymnastics practice one day, my coach walked up to me as I was getting into position for my floor routine. He reached down and slapped my thigh. “No routine,” he said. “You run instead. You’re getting fat.” At the time, I was 13 years old and 115 pounds of pure muscle. Though I should have known better, the comment changed how I felt about myself: Doubt crept in, and just like that, the physical action of the sport—the one that required the movement of my apparently too heavy body—seemed daunting. So instead of being fearless, I started being fearful. I no longer trusted that my feet would land in the right place, and I stopped all of my leaping and swinging and flipping and turning. I became that girl on the edge of the bridge again, but this time, I was too scared to jump.

Shortly thereafter, I quit.

Looking back, I hate that I quit doing something I loved because of that man’s off-handed comment. But even so, I have to admit that it is a comment that I’ve often thought about over the past few years, years that, for me, have been full of decisions where I could have chosen to let my fear get the better of me, decisions where I could have let that little fear-filled voice inside me say, “Don’t do it. It’s way too scary.”

Because now, as an adult, I can look at my coach’s comment and twist those mean, hurtful words into something 100% positive. Now, if I could look that coach in the eye, I’d speak up and say, “Okay, fine. I won’t follow the routine—I’ll run. But instead of running around in circles like you want me to, I’ll run wildly toward where my heart is pulling me, which, thank goodness, is far, far away from you. I’ll run and I’ll leap and I’ll twist and I’ll flip and I’ll turn, and I’ll trust that no matter how scary the first steps of that journey might be, I’ll be headed in the right direction.”

* * *

When was the last time you jumped? Were you five, 10, 15, 25? What would happen if you started jumping again?

Now, don’t get me wrong—I’m not suggesting you actually go jump off a bridge (or a cliff… remember that saying, the one that moms always said?). I’m speaking metaphorically here: follow that crazy dream you’ve always had, take that adventure you’ve always been wanting to go on, leap headfirst into that passion project you know will fuel your soul.

Because life’s too short for anything less than a passionate, fulfilling, fearless life. Life’s too short to not run fast and far away from anything that makes you doubt yourself. Life’s too short to regret not spreading your wings every once in a while. Life’s too short not to trust yourself. Life’s too short to let your toes burn on the edge of whatever bridge you’re standing on. Life’s too short not to jump.

So today, remember to live fearlessly. Take the leap into the unknown, and trust that wherever you land, it will be worth the risk. You’ll be right where you need to be.

* * *

Talk to us: Do you remember a moment where fear got the better of you? What will you do to live fearlessly today?


We post our Remember Reminder series on the blog here every Friday morning, as well as on our Instagram and Facebook accounts. Just search the hashtag #rememberreminder to find us! And if you have any of your own post-it note Remember Reminders that we should know about, make your own and use the hashtag so we can share the love!

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At The Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.

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27 thoughts on “Remember Reminder #12: Live Fearlessly

  1. What a fantastic blog post, so wonderfully written and so thought provoking. Fear shouldn’t hold us back but it does and that is something to definitely keep at the front of our minds.

  2. I was the child that loved to hear “you can’t” and showed that I did it. As adults we often think ourselves out of what we would have fearlessly done as children. I’m an advocate of simply pushing through the fear, we typically find those great rewards like you found after jumping off of the bridge. You are a beautiful writer!

  3. I love this! I’m so sorry your coach said that to you. That is so hurtful. But it’s so true. We have to step out and start living out our dreams. This year I made a list of things I would like to accomplish and I’m slowly working toward them. It’s a good feeling.

  4. Love this, both in sentiment and in the writing. I remember dancing my way through the parking lot of the stadium after a baseball when I was a kid, and my Dad, usually one of my biggest supporters but probably frustrated with my “goofing off,” turned to me and said, “Dancing will never get you anywhere.” It’s strange how those moments stick.

  5. I am SO inspired by this post. This is beautifully written. It took my mind back to being a kid and feeling free and fearless. Thank you for that. As a kid I remember living in my own little imaginary world and spending hours in that place. It was such a happy place. As an adult I need to get back into that mind space and remember to be fearless.

  6. The idea of running wildly and freely away from those hurtful words is so inspiring! Sometimes when we are too afraid to take the next step jumping past our fears is the best way to go.

    My biggest jump of late was when we visited the Grand Old Opry in Nashville. At the end of the tour we had the chance to stand on stage for a photograph. I took the chance to sing. Singing and the Opry are two of the loves in my life. I am so grateful that I took that leap. Not only did I have 100 strangers clap for me, but I have pictures and a phone video to prove that I lived my dream of singing on the Opry stage. 🙂

  7. I am the worst at facing my fears! I guess last year I took a jump in doing my triathlon – terrified of swimming in open water – and I got through that! But I haven’t done anything recently. Maybe I should change that!

  8. I’m so mad about that coach! That’s something you hear way too often. I’m sorry you gave up something you loved. I feel like I’ve gotten better at leaving my comfort zone in the past few years or so, but I’ve always been an anxious person.

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.net

  9. Wonderful reminder of the importance of facing our fears and taking the LEAP of faith! It can be so scary but I’ve found the things we are most fearful of, are the very things we NEED to do! Thanks for this reminder today!

  10. I have been trying to face as many fears as I can. I used to be afraid of needles. Like pass out afraid. Then I got sick and had to do self injections. No choice but to face that. Over the past few years I faced another fear. Snakes. Now I love photographing them and even held a huge on last year. Still a little scared though. I love love love this post but I am so angry at the man who took your fearlessness away! I hope someone put him in his place!

  11. Thank you for this. People really need to think before they speak, especially when speaking to children! People just don’t realize the impact they can have with their words! So glad you’ve turned it around to try to help others. Me starting a blog a few months ago has kinda been that leap for me. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years and never did until this year!

  12. As a coach, and a father, this is such a reminder of the impact of our words – and words from those in authority positions with our children. Something so flippant … has such a lasting impact. I feel awful as a coach that you had to endure that.

    To see how you’ve turned it around on itself? It’s inspiring. I heard before that words are like nails driven into wood. The nail can be removed, but the wood is forever changed.

    Fear has taken a few things from me here and there in life – my voice, my conviction, my direction. I can’t change any of that, but I change how I handle it the next time.

    This post has me thinking of what the strong, positive impact words can have, too. I need to do something about that.

  13. It makes me sad that your coach said that to you. You are a strong woman and I love this post for all of its rich descriptive and powerful words. It is a necessary reminder that we can’t allow fear to hold us back from pursuing what life has to offer.

  14. We do all need to take that leap of faith every now and again. I feel like I’m living in a haze of mayhem at the moment… my first step this week has been to start decluttering. Once organized, free of clutter and with some of my chores reassigned to others, I ‘m taking the leap!

  15. This post speaks volumes to me and how I’ve let fear hold me back from going after my dreams. I have always said I never want to live a life of “what if’s” but fear has led me to already have some opportunities pass me by and question what if. It’s so hard to take that first step or “leap” but I thank you for sharing your (very well written) story, bravery and encouragement!

  16. Such a wonderful reminder to not let doubt hold us back! I’m about to do something pretty drastic in my life by changing careers from SAHM to working almost full time. I needed to read this! Thank you for your inspiring words.

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