Fear –  Is it a loss of control or something else?


Fear –  Is it a loss of control or something else?

When my aged mother lost her driver’s license, she told me that she was afraid. That it was the beginning of the end for her. When I explained the wonders of taxicabs, including having a personal driver and someone to help her with bags and packages, her fear went away. Was it really fear, or was it that she felt she was no longer in control?  Once she had that control back, the fear went away.

Perhaps the fear was being afraid of change. She no longer drove but was forced to get around in a different manner. She saw a change coming, and few of us like change. Rather than embracing it, we fear it, deny it, and move heaven and earth to prevent it. But change is the only constant in life.

I got Covid. It was a pretty bad case. I was in quarantine in Norway for 10 days. I am not usually that sick. As I laid there fear washed over me. Would I survive? What would life be like after Covid? I began to wonder why I was so sick. Then it struck me. I was decades older than the time when I could bounce back from a cold or the flu in a few days. For a geezer, it takes longer. I began to accept the change my life had taken with passing years, and the fear washed away. It wasn’t control, it was acceptance of change. I would be OK, it was just taking longer.

I visited an aging friend in a ‘home’ and asked at the desk where he was. The receptionist pointed down the hall and said that he was at the organ recital. I headed that way listening for the sounds of music. I arrived in a room with a group of people in deep discussion. “My heart is in afib”, “My kidneys are working at 50%”, “My macular degeneration is under control”. Then I got it. An organ recital.

These ‘geezers’ had accepted the changes in their lives and were, in fact, reveling in discussions about them. What did an old boss tell me about problems in a new product? “If you can’t fix it, feature it.” These folks were simply featuring their problems. How refreshing. They were accepting the changes in their lives.

When they did that, they began to mitigate the fear, in this case the fear of growing old, and began to accept the changes over which they had no control. Can we do that in our daily lives? We fear change because we think it takes away our control. Would it not be better to embrace the changes and use them to our advantage? After all, my mother found that the change in her life brought about by the lack of a driver’s license was in fact better than what she had experienced before. Smart woman, my mom.

All change is not easy. Sometimes the challenges are monumental. We need to get past the fear and look to the possible benefits of the change, no matter what that change is. Somewhere in the deep dark reaches of every change, there are upsides. Just look for them.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. One of your better ones. Aging has not impacted your ability to deliver meaningful messages.

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