I am thinking right now about how pointless it is to be scared in life because the big things that really impact your life are never the things that you expect. I didn’t have a super big thing happened, but something did happen that made me think about this.
My brother and his girlfriend (plus their little Yorkie dog) are visiting this week. We were walking the other day to get ice cream in Hayes Valley. I was talking about one of the neighborhoods I’d been petsitting in and how it has really gotten frightening there with several recent shootings and other violence. I was just wrapping up what I was saying when we heard gunshots.
I’ve never heard gunshots in my life before. Somehow I knew that’s what they were, though, but then I immediately also thought that maybe it wasn’t. We were only blocks from my apartment, which is in a safe neighborhood. It was all so confusing and blurry in that moment.
We all ducked around the corner but the Yorkie got loose and ran off right into traffic. My brother instinctively ran to get her, right into where the gunshots were. I stayed put but his girlfriend took off to try to find him so we were all split up. Of course there was a whole crowd and we still didn’t know exactly what had happened. My brother and his girlfriend really don’t know the area and I wasn’t sure if they could find the house so I had to go find them.
It took awhile to found my brother. He had just finally caught the dog who was hit by a car and had shit all over herself so we didn’t know if she was okay. It was impossible to tell in that mess she was in whether she was bleeding or could possibly have internal bleeding. But we also needed to find my brother’s girlfriend first.
It took us quite a long time to find my brother’s girlfriend and all get home safe where we had to deal with the dog, who is fine. We’re all fine. But I was absolutely terrified for so many reasons. The positive in all this was that the cops were there in literally one minute and as I was looking for my brother a whole bunch of the neighborhood were paying attention, asking if we’d found each other, keeping an eye out and asking after the dog. In fact, when we were walking with the dog trying to find my brother’s girlfriend the mailman even stopped his vehicle to ask us if that was the dog everyone was looking for and if she was okay.
It’s Always the Unexpected
This all happened so quickly, so close to home, in a space that feels safe to me. It happened just as I was talking about another place where I was afraid to go because it didn’t seem to be safe. And this reminds me yet again that it’s not the problems we expect that are the problems in our lives.
I mentioned an observation like this recently on this blog in my post about diving fearlessly into the ocean at the start of the year. It’s not the same thing, exactly, but I’d been scared of the experience of going into the ocean before I did it and then while I was busy thinking about being scared I almost fell backwards off of a staircase, which would have done me far more damage than the cold of the ocean.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a responsible person who believes that it is smart to be cautious and not place yourself at undue risk of harm. But with that in mind, there really is no way to prepare for most things in life that end up scaring you.