Aging: Fear comes in many formsWe’ve had a good deal of political fear expressed since 9-11. When will the terrorists attempt to strike again?
By: Bernie Hughes, Superior Telegram
We’ve had a good deal of political fear expressed since 9-11. When will the terrorists attempt to strike again? Traveling by plane requires many safeguards and we have a new governmental department with just such responsibilities their main concerns.
Earlier, we had the Communists to guard against and before that it was the Fascists and the Japanese and that list goes on and on. An Evangelical that I know now is worried that the Muslims are planning to come over here and get us. Skeptics have referred to many of these external threats as “boogey men,” citing the possibility of invasions has become very profitable for our military endeavors and we spend more, it is reported, than all developed nations in the world to guard against these external fears.
But what about you and I as individuals? Are we fearful? What in particular do we fear? I’ve done a bit of fear research for this missile.
Fear experts separate external fear from internal sources (anxieties) that individuals have.
Leaving terrorists aside, we have three major fears: anxiety of fate and death, anxiety of emptiness and meaninglessness, and anxiety of guilt and condemnation.
Death is the insecurity with which we are forever aware. For folks of faith, immortality is gratefully anticipated, but, even then, death is not a pleasant thought. (Mark Twain handled it well, I think, saying he’d been dead thousands of years before he was born and seemed to have received no dire consequences as a result.)
Emptiness and meaninglessness certainly cause anxiety. Does anything we do, have done or are doing in this life have any meaning in the end, or is it all “just sound and fury signifying nothing?”
All of us humans seem to be organizational people and being involved in group activities seems to help. It is good for us to be one of the group. It makes others feel good too. One for all and all for one.
Guilt and condemnation. This one I can personally understand more easily. What have we made of ourselves, as individuals, and why haven’t we done more? Our conscience can be an unrelenting critic; we condemn ourselves for things we haven’t done right, things we haven’t done enough of and/or things we shouldn’t have done at all.
Well now, this has become very serious stuff for a run of the mill aging author. Pardon me if I’ve raised any hackles, but it seemed to me that it was a worthy subject for the aging which I assume that most readers are.
Some of us have done more of it than others (aging, that is) and we are older, even if not much wiser, as we would have preferred.
So, in conclusion, I have attempted to find some humor in this most serious of subjects. Hope you agree.
One of the Ringling Brothers Circus trapeze artists refused to travel by airplane — even if they put a net under it.
Many people are so afraid of dentists that they need an anesthetic just to sit in the waiting room.
Fear is the only thing that multiplies faster than rabbits (we see how that has worked with our unlimited military preparedness; remember “Star Wars?”)
When we are afraid we say we are cautious; when others are afraid we call them cowards.
“Just settle down, son,” said his father. “Your’s a big boy now. Besides I haven’t slept with a light on for years.
“Yeah, Daddy,” whimpered the unconvinced little boy, “but you’ve got Mommy in there to protect you.”
Bernie Hughes, Ed.D., is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at Bernie1@cpinternet.com.