Hacking my 60s: Getting Unstuck from Fear

This is the part where I’m supposed to tell you I have it all figured out. I don’t. I think ‘all’ means different things to you than it does to me, anyway.

So this time, I’ll talk about fear.

That sinking feeling when I think about the losses that are surely coming. My loved ones. My friends. Myself. And the sadness thinking of those who’ve already left. Add to that the fear of smaller losses.

My flexibility. My eyesight. My ability to learn. My sense of freedom. My sense of myself. My memory. My time.

Of course, there’s plenty to be afraid of.

But, fear is also an easy habit. The feeling convinces me to drift into limbo and stay there. The stab of fear is sharp, and the hole it opens doesn’t lead to light.

This is a problem for which my habitual distractions aren’t effective.

My distractions to date have included:

  1. Falling in love with someone else’s work to distract me from doing my own. I had to take a long Neil Gaiman(http://www.neilgaiman.com/) break, because I wanted to be him, and that ain’t healthy.
  2. Binging politics in the most unhealthy way possible. I have begun to despise even the word conservative, or Republican.
  3. Wanting to write about how irritating I find overt religiosity. I mean, who cares? I do, apparently.
  4. Sweets, glorious sweets! Oh poisoned habit of my youth and current age! Also, bread.
  5. Living in my head. I love it here. I furnished it myself. Apparently this is suboptimal.
  6. Other things I won’t write about here, but they know who they are.

So, now what? If I can unhook from these unhelpful habits, substitute new positive ones, and tell the story, maybe somebody else will resonate. Maybe this will help two people create.

Here goes:

Helpful Habit: Reading for Practical Inspiration

Riding to my rescue, as he so often does, is my better impulses in the form of Steven Pressfield.

His tough love voice helps center me. I’m halfway through The Artist’s Journey, his newest book. As usual, it’s highly recommended.

I am mostly a fan of his writing for creatives. He sets out practical ways of handling Resistance, tells his own story, and helps me to believe I can handle Resistance too.

So, here’s a list of his books that have helped me surface from the frustrated paralysis of not creating.

The War of Art

Turning Pro

The Artist’s Journey

Check out the books, blog and community on his site:

https://stevenpressfield.com/category/writing-wednesdays/

I almost always get the audiobook. I find listening to Steven reading his own work is the purest way to get the point.

Bonus: Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t

I started this one, then decided I needed another hit of creative inspiration, so I started on The Artist’s Journey instead.

I think Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t will be good advice for planning before I write longer pieces. At the moment though, I just want to think, write and publish. And do it again, till it becomes a habit. Only way to get good.

And so, onward.

I hope this helps!


Originally published at Hacking your 60s.