Facing Another Fear (From A Very Long List)

facing your fears, psychology, humor, Modern PhilosopherI make no secret of the fact that I’m a quirky introvert with a laundry list of phobias, Modern Philosophers.

That’s far too obvious to hide, even from people who have been brought into my life via the magic portal that is the internet.

I have been making an effort to face some of my fears, though.

This past Winter, I made serious progress with my fear of driving in snow.  Recently, I tried to face my fear of living in a world where Donald Trump is President, but that didn’t go very well, and I had to scurry down to the basement bunker of The House on the Hill to hide for a few days.

The thing is, when I finally do face a fear and have a positive outcome, there’s no one around with whom I can share my excitement.

Sure, the interns are always moping around the place, but all they care about is getting their college credit and tapping me of my knowledge about how to be a great blogger.  They simply roll their eyes and scratch their scraggly beards when I try to share a personal success story.

Thankfully, you guys tend to read what I post on my blog.  So in my mind, that means you take some interest in my silly stories about my conquering another peculiar fear.

Today, it was the fear of driving someplace I’ve never been.

Once again, driving fuels my phobia.  Being afraid to drive somewhere new means I’m really limited in the places I can go.  Which, in turn, means I can’t meet new people, experience new things, or behave like a “normal” person.

I blame this all on growing up in New York and never needing to know how to drive because I could take public transportation or walk everywhere.

Today’s destination wasn’t very far from home.  I had a general idea of where it was, but no clue how to get there.

Instead of my usual panic, I decided to be rational and ask a friend for directions.  They weren’t very exact, which is worrisome to someone with my fear, but they gave me a better idea of where I was going.

facing your fears, psychology, humor, Modern PhilosopherI turned to Google Maps for more help.  Even those directions were a little vague, but I committed them to memory and assured myself that would be enough.

Before you ask, my new car does not have GPS.  Nor does it take me to my desired location when I shout commands at it.

The realization of that last one was a real let down.  Alas, I will never be Michael Knight.

On a positive note, I did not obsess over this morning’s drive all weekend, which is my usual m.o. for such a scenario.  I considered going for a test drive on Sunday to see if I could get to the destination, but I told myself that was ridiculous.

I’m a grown man with a dependable vehicle and something that resembles a sense of direction.  My destination was fairly close to the Police Station, so I knew I could always go there for help if I ended up desperately lost.

I thought about going back onto Google Maps again this morning, but talked myself out of it.  That would just be feeding my fear.  I had to trust that I had this under control, knew where I was going, and didn’t need to keep looking for help.

My one concession to my phobia was to leave early, which would allow me plenty of time to find my way should I (inevitably) get lost.

Guess what?

I didn’t get lost.  Proof that miracles happen.

Sure, I almost missed the turn off, but I was going super slow down the main road and caught sight of the street sign before I passed it.

Thankfully, there was no traffic behind me, which might have increased my anxiety and caused me to drive on past the road I needed.

facing your fears, psychology, humor, Modern PhilosopherNow there’s one more place I can drive to any time.

Of course, I’m not suddenly going to seek out new driving destinations, but each time I successful navigate a new journey, I take away some of that fear’s power of me.

Baby steps.

Or baby drives.  It’s still progress.

Thanks for allowing me to share.

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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17 Responses to Facing Another Fear (From A Very Long List)

  1. Bill Fonda says:

    Google Maps is the only thing that lets me drive in new places, because I am deathly afraid of getting lost!

  2. jaypochapin says:

    Okay… So driving in the show is a problem… And you live in Maine? Was everything in Minnesota already taken? Consider moving to Nashville, you’ll have plenty of company here! The place shuts down for 48 hours at the THREAT of 1/4 inch.

    Please be sure to write if you get work!


    • Austin says:

      At the time, my wife was able to drive me where I needed to go. I also had no idea how bad my fear was, though, as I never drove in NY, and it never snowed in CA…

  3. grannyK says:

    I am terrified of driving and I do all of the driving in my family, so I know how you feel! You did great!

  4. ksbeth says:

    i have been lost my whole life, but always find my way eventually )

    • Austin says:

      I got lost very badly in LA once. I was in the 67 Mustang, which broke down often, and I did not have a cell phone. I had no clue where I was and it was very stressful…

  5. stomperdad says:

    I’ve been lost more times than I can count and I can count pretty high because I was a math teacher. I don’t call it “lost” though. I call it misplaced because I can always find my way back out. I just might not find where I was supposed to go in the first place. With the power of bluetooth I connect my phone to my truck and let Google Maps talk to me.

  6. markbialczak says:

    If you have one of the new smart phones, Austin, you have an app that will shout directions at you. One is called Waze. If not, about $100 will buy you an easy dashboard system that will get you someplace new and over your fear. I know. I own a Garmin to help ease my anxiety.

  7. cat9984 says:

    Congratulations! My husband has a terrible sense of direction and fear of going new places, so you have my sympathies

  8. 16eparis says:

    have you considered getting a GPS? It makes for ‘fearful’ {fear of being lost) almost non-existant {almost….}

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