The Running Angel

Just because I don't have wings, doesn't mean I can't fly.

Stop Living in Fear

on 08/24/2014

Ever since I was a child, two little devils called fear and anxiety followed me around wherever I went. Perhaps it wasn’t so obvious on the outside, but they were there. I remember when my parents used to leave the house at night to go to their prayer meeting, I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep, waiting anxiously for them to return. After my first year of college, I fainted at church one summer (I’d just done a hard workout and perhaps wasn’t properly hydrated), and the anxiety just seized me until I could no longer do any of the other activities I had planned to do for the rest of that month. Instead, I stayed home, paralyzed by fear.

As I grew into young adulthood, I became a little bit bolder, a little bit braver. The fears were still there, sure, but I learned how to handle them better. After graduation, I flew to Singapore as part of the SIF-ASEAN Student Fellowship Program. Before we left the Philippines, I remember looking at the other Pinoy fellows who seemed so smart and calm, and thinking, “Am I the only one who is terrified to leave my home for the very first time? To live in a new place, with people from different cultures?” But once I was out of my comfort zone, I found myself doing things I never thought I would do—like joining (and winning!) a beauty pageant, breaking the rules, and forging strong friendships with other ASEAN students. After I got back from Singapore, I got a job I knew I would enjoy (as apposed to one that seemed like the “safer” choice), joined a mountaineering club, started running, fell in love, and went on all sorts of adventures.

But as I moved into my thirties, I sensed the little devils gaining strength once more, telling me to stay where I am, to stop venturing into the unknown. And I’m not just talking about traveling to new places, but also about doing things I’ve never done before. I realized that as we grow older, saddled with more responsibilities and ailments, it seems so much harder to go after new dreams and new goals—harder yes, but not impossible (my own mom is living proof—she started competitive ballroom dancing in her late forties and still keeps winning trophies 10 years later!).

Last August 21, I was watching a documentary on one of our beloved heroes, Ninoy Aquino, the man whose death sparked a revolution. I was struck when he said, “My theory is, we all have to die sometime, if it’s my faith to die by an assassin’s bullet then so be it, but I cannot be petrified by inaction or fear of assassination and stay in the corner. I have to suffer with my people, I have to lead them.”

Ninoy-Aquino

So maybe I’m not battling a dictator or risking an assassination, but I am doing something that I’ve long thought about but always feared—to run a full marathon. Roland and I just signed up for The Bull Runner Dream Marathon, our first 42-K (more on this later). It was fun and exciting at first, but as we wrapped up our second week of training, the doubts and fears started to arise along with the little aches and pains that crop up during a hard training session. A lot can still happen between now and the marathon in February, but for the meantime, I will do my best to not let my fears and anxieties get the best of me. And to prove that we can still chase after new dreams, no matter how old or fearful we are. —A

running quote


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