What If?

When faced with change, or the challenge of starting something new, doubts are bound to come to the surface. What if it doesn’t work? What if I fail? What if circumstances in my life change? What if no one likes me? What if my mind goes blank in front of everyone? What if it isn’t what I expected? What if? What if? What if? We rarely ask ourselves what if we succeed? What if we LOVE it? What if this makes all the difference and is a turning point in our life? What if I make new friends?

It takes a lot of courage to begin something new, to step into the unknown and leave your comfy surroundings, but it is a big part of life and growth. If we don’t take calculated risks now and then we don’t grow, we don’t live. When we try, even if we fail, it is a great learning experience and we often find that failing wasn’t as bad as we imagined it to be. So why do we hesitate?  Yes, we need to weigh things out, think things through some, but we do not need to over-think it and dwell on it until it becomes this big, scary, and forbidding thing. Neither should we focus on the negative “what-ifs”. I was watching a vlogger a number of months ago and they made a point that really stuck with me. She was talking about purging clutter from your life and was addressing the fear of throwing something out because, what if you need that in a few months? What if you regret your choice later on? She said to think about it: you are worrying about possibly worrying over something in the future. What a huge waste of time for something that might not happen!

One example of this in my life has been this blog. I had been toying with the idea for a few years but I kept putting it off because what if I ran out of ideas? What if no one found it interesting? How much personal info should I share? You hear about stolen identities and people stalking others, or discovering where they live, etc. I am also a very private person. Can I possibly share my private thoughts in a public setting so anyone might read them?

I realize whether or not to start a web page is a very small decision compared to some of the huge, life-altering ones that some of you might be facing, but I wanted to share an example of an incredible outcome to taking a risk and trying something new: I had the opportunity to connect with a distant cousin. Out of the blue one day I received an email through my website asking for opportunity to use some of my pictures for a self-printed book. They had stumbled across my page when researching their family history and saw I had taken pictures of the farm and surrounding countryside their ancestors were believed to have come from. Of course, I had taken the photos because those are my ancestors as well. In the ensuing months, we’ve emailed back and forth a fair bit, sharing information that was unearthed and hashing out theories of why someone moved or why there was a missing piece of information here or there. It has been quite interesting and it was nice to “meet” a new cousin. He even kindly sent a copy of the book he had printed once it was completed. It was an exciting day for me when it arrived in the mail.
Photo Book

So if you are thinking of trying something new, or have been procrastinating because of “what ifs”, I encourage you to step into the unknown. You never know what unexpected positive thing might come out of it instead of all the negative you’ve been fearing. After all, as Franklin D. Roosevelt said: the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.  When I started the blog I certainly never thought I’d make a connection with a previously unknown family member, and I can look at other times in my life that I was nervous about taking that plunge and it turned out to be a great experience in the end. So go ahead, take the leap!

There is freedom waiting for you,
On the breezes of the sky,
And you ask, “What if I fall?”
Oh, but my darling,
What if you fly?
– Erin Hanson


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