Losing Your Independence to Fear

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I’ve always been pretty independent, or at least I thought I was, but lately I’ve come to realize that some of my youthful independence has been replaced, by fear.

I decided to move to Toronto for school when most of my friends and the man I was seeing opted to stay behind. I would travel the route home and back, by car, by bus, and sometimes by plane, without giving it a second thought. Sure, I wasn’t backpacking around the world like some people do but I wasn’t letting the fear of the unknown keep me from doing what I wanted, following my plan (and yes I had a plan).

The Changes Happened Slowly…

Changes in my independence were subtle and not something I begrudgingly gave up. Like most families, my husband and I divide up any tasks needed to run a household. I handle grocery shopping and making most meals; he handles home maintenance and the kids’ activities and parties. Travelling now means being dependant on others and having them depend on you and I actually enjoy it. I handle the planning and organizing while my husband handles the driving. When flying my husband handles the check-in, baggage check, customs documentation, and basically ensures we get to our destination without issue. Usually I’m the one making sure all three of our kids are still in tow.

I have never thought anything of my husband handling these tasks, until I had to fly on my own. Now I was responsible for all these details. Panic sets in. What if I forgot my passport or other travel documents? What if I miss my plane? What if I have issues at customs? Add to that traveling with one of my kids and now I’m responsible for more than just myself.

I know, the fears aren’t warranted since I’m basically organized before my flight but being responsible for it all is still stressful.

It’s hard to believe that at this stage of my life I am afraid to do things I did when I was younger and less dependant on others. But I’ve found giving into these fears, into my own self-doubt, only makes my fear bigger and the situation harder. I think I will always enjoy our family trips, but traveling on my own is also important. It can be as big as a weekend away or as simple as driving across the border for some shopping. That’s why today I’m traveling with my daughter, to prove to myself that my fear is unfounded as well as setting an example for my daughter. Even though she has grown up seeing her dad handle most of these scenarios for our family, for myself, for her, this trip with me will show her that mom is just as capable. Our trip has just begun and yet it has proven to myself, and hopefully my daughter, that being part of a family, dependant on others, does not mean you have to loose your independence.

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