Letting Go of “What If?”

Letting Go of “What if…?”


If there’s one short sentence I’d like to ban from my being, it’s the fear- generated, paralyzing voice that whispers, “What if…?”

Letting go of fear

devas / 123RF Photo

Like a lot of people, single or not, I’ve dreamed of owning my own home, but I’ve always been a renter. Maybe that’s partly because of my “singular” nature of wanting to keep my options open. Move to Italy, take a job in another state, move to the mountains, the beach, the desert with as little as a 30-day notice to hold me back — works for me. Still, the idea of having a home of my own, with no landlord to call the shots, offers its own sense of independence that is just as appealing.

Of course, living in Los Angeles adds another challenge. A two-bedroom tear-down in Santa Monica for $1 million anyone? Not only my bank account, but my Midwestern common sense, says no to that option.

But then I stumbled upon a 114-year-old beauty just a few miles west of downtown — spacious and full of turn-of-the-last-century charm. It’s a genuine antique in a designated “historical overlay zone” — a neighborhood that, despite eye-widening gaps of urban decay, also shows evidence of rejuvenation. And despite being pricey by Texas standards, is affordable — still a stretch, but manageable.

So for the first time in my life, I entered into something called escrow and the nail-biting inspection process that included hearing news I didn’t want to hear: roots in the sewer line, a half-done electrical upgrade, rats in the attic and worst of all, a beautiful chimney that needs, at some point, to be rebuilt from the foundation up.

But even before hearing the not-good news, I’d already succumbed to a familiar enemy, the “what ifs.” That’s what I call those fear-generated questions that can, if allowed, bring life to a screeching halt. And it didn’t take this particular situation to awaken the “what if” demon. Oh no, I’d danced with this devil many, many times.

“What if no one comes to my birthday party?”
“What if I turn 30 (and then 40) and I’m still not married?”
“What if I’m not smart enough to do the job?”
“What if I’m too old to change careers?”
“What if I’m a failure at running my own business?”
“What if nobody likes the article I’m writing?”

And most recently: “What if this house (despite making my heart sing with joy) is a disaster? What if the chimney falls down, what if the rats come back, what if the neighbors are weird, what if … the list goes on and on.

There’s a difference between making sound evaluations and coming to conclusions based on good judgment. The “what ifs” are different. Once they start, I forget that life is meant to be lived and problems are made to be solved. I forget that each challenge I’ve faced has made me stronger and that no matter how many times I’ve been in over my head, I’ve never drowned — not even once.

Do I want to live in bondage to the fearful “what ifs”? Or do I want to dare to reach for my dreams, walk in faith, live life to the fullest and at the end of the ride, with my last breath, say, “Damn! Now that was one helluva ride!”

I think I’ll choose the latter.

Copyright © Kim Calvert/2014 Singular Communications, LLC.

Kim CalvertKim Calvert is the editor of Singular magazine and the founder of the SingularCity social networking community. An outspoken champion of people who are living their lives as a “me” instead of a “we,” Kim oversees the creative direction and editorial content of the magazine and online social networking community. She secures contributors and is responsible for maintaining the fun, upbeat, inspirational and often-humorous tone of Singular, a lifestyle guide for successful single living.

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5 thoughts on “Letting Go of “What if…?”

  1. Most days are all about making choices and solving problems. And once you’ve solved one, if you’re lucky there will be another problem to solve right behind it — and that much more to learn. Buying a home as a single woman isn’t a problem, it is a gift and a learning experience. I know, i’ve owned three, and each brought its own sleepless nights! And its own learning curve. All worth it!

  2. I’m going through the same process myself, as I’ve decided to give up living on land and move onto a boat. What if I hate it? What if I lose all my money on maintaining it? What if it sinks? And I sink with it? Etc.

  3. Agree! Extremely well said. First paragraph includes some of my own thoughts. You remind us we should all choose the latter. Thanks for your thoughtful pieces, as always.

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