“Fear of Falling” by Veronica Park

What do they always say, when you’re climbing high?

“Don’t look down.”

Why do they say it? Does it really matter? Does it make a difference where you’re looking, as long as you keep moving, keep climbing in the right direction?

And what will happen if you ignore the warning, and look down? Will you lose your ability to hold on? Worst case scenario, will you fall?

Will you FAIL?

***

What do they always say, when you’re running fast?

“Watch where you’re going.”

Or, “Be careful. Slow down.”

Why is that better? Is slower safer? Or is it just a turn of phrase? A reminder that landscapes aren’t really still in real life, that they can shift at a moment’s notice, upsetting the ground beneath our feet?

Is that why we lose our balance? Because we were moving TOO FAST?

***

It’s easy to forget. To want to look down at your troubles, the ones you overcame, the ones that are already in your rearview. But if you do that, you’re not focused on where you’re going, but where you’ve been. You don’t see the new troubles, or the opportunities in your path.

It’s natural to want to speed up, and overtake those new troubles QUICKLY. Like ripping off a bandage, or jumping into cold water, head first.

“Taking the plunge,” they call it. But how can you plunge in head first, if you’re pointed the wrong way? Head over heels, end over end, ass over teacup.

You’ll stumble and fall, FLAILING, into your future.

Unless you can manage to ignore the drop. Stop and smell the roses, but PLAN as you do. And keep your eyes OPEN. Always, even when the present is painful, or tears blur your eyes, or what lies beyond the horizon is unfathomable. Even IMPOSSIBLE.

***

Don’t let your fear of FALLING, or your haste to succeed, keep you from living the life you were meant to lead. Take your path–your own, unique, scary, confusing, beautiful journey–one step at a time. And when you do fall, and you inevitably will, LOOK UP.

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