Fear of Forever

By: Louise Morganti Kaelin

Have you ever found yourself with a goal in your line of
vision yet unable to cross the last ten yards to the finish
line? There doesn't appear to be anybody or anything in
the way to stop you, and yet you just can't seem to take
the final leap and get where you want to be.

I've often wondered about this phenomenon and there are
probably as many reasons for this as there are people. Fear
of failure, fear of success, fear of disappointment,
actually, a whole bunch of fears. And when the goal is in
sight, you can be pretty sure it's a fear of SOMETHING
that stops you from taking those last few steps.

A fear that has come into play several times in my life,
surprisingly enough, is the fear of Forever! That is a word
that has frightened me more often than I care to admit.
There is something so final about forever that it scares
the living daylights out of me.

What if I make a wrong choice? What if I continue to grow
and change, and I don't like what I've chosen today? What
if I go this way and miss something incredibly wonderful
over that way? This seems such a silly thing to be afraid
of, and yet it can paralyze one for a very long time.

I remember a time when it hit me (the proverbial lightning
bolt of understanding) that something that was holding me
up from allowing a relationship in my life was the fact
that I was committed to self-exploration, growth and
development.

I felt that I was constantly changing and was
afraid that a relationship that I committed to today
wouldn't be the right one in one year, five years, ten
years.

One day I was thinking of this and came at it from the other
direction. How much was I going to have to change to start
wanting a jerk in my life? Because the qualities I was
looking for in a relationship all pointed towards allowing
someone in who was basically 'nice': loving, supportive,
growing, spiritual, etc. And I - finally!-couldn't imagine
evolving so much that I was going to stop wanting these
particular qualities. In fact, that wouldn't take
evolving, but just the opposite!

Recently, I was involved in a workshop on Life Planning.
When the leader asked the question 'What is stopping you
from having the life you want', I was shocked when I
realized my uncensored answer was 'what if it's the wrong
path?'. This is more of that 'forever' thinking. There
truly is no such thing as the 'wrong' path. My logical
mind knows this: there are no mistakes, there is only
experience.

And yet, I was surprised that this fear had resurfaced. Once
we have a major realization, we often think that it's
behind us, that it won't come up again. Life lessons,
however, tend to come at us 'onion-fashion'. We peel off
one layer, work with that a bit, and then one day (sometimes
years later) we find the next layer.

So how am I dealing with this Fear of Forever? I've come up
with a phrase that I find helpful, and I have a huge sign
on my desktop: 'Forever is for as long as it feels
right'. It may seem silly, but it lets me take a deep
breath and put the whole 'forever' thing in perspective.
And without doing that, there are some wonderful big steps
(like getting married) that I might never have taken.

It is not less of a commitment to the thing that I am
choosing. In fact, I think it helps me stay focused in the
moment and living in the 'now' rather than in the past or
future. In reality, all we have is now. No one can know
what the future can bring. That's part of the adventure of
life. All I know for sure is that I'm not going to let the
fear of forever stop me from delighting in the joy of the
present!

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