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Post Fear 
What is your greatest personal fear?

Have you ever had to face it?

How did you handle it?

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Post The Reaper 
I will share my personal story.

After months of procrastination, I went to the doctor today, fully expecting (for good reason) to receive extremely grim news.

What do I fear? A slow and painful death, with progressive disability and inability to function independently. But even more so, I dread the awful job of informing my friends and loved ones of a terminal prognosis, and seeing the tears and anguish of those I love and knowing there would be nothing I could say or do to relieve that.

Someday I will likely face that terrible chore. But it was not today. I cannot express my elation. Having experienced this once before, I can assure you that seeing the possible end of your days is a strange combination of a dizzying collage of thoughts, and a startlingly pure state of clarity and purpose. It is not pleasant, but it does transform you. When your plate is cleared of all of your day to day worries and irritations, only a few things in life really matter much.

Be good to yourself. For yourself, and for those you love.

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I don't know what I fear. I'm afraid of things. But really fearing something, I can't think of anything.

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Wow, I'm so glad you didn't get the news you were fearing today, thrice.

I fear my parents' deaths. And marriage. And mortgages.

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Thank you, Dora. It's pretty impossible to imagine the joy of getting another chance until you've been there.

Mortgages? No biggie. Marriage? Let's talk about it. Start another thread and list the pros and cons, and what worries you.

Parents? Mine are very old, but still a part of my life. I know the time is not far off. I see no way of avoiding that painful scar, and the unfillable void of their absence, but perhaps watching that process teaches us the reality of life's cycle, and makes us more understanding of others' pain and loss when we feel it ourselves. I do know that when you realize you have fewer years left you than are ahead of you, you think much harder about how you will spend them. I know that the thought of my parents' passing sometimes brings back a frightened little boy in me, and floods me with precious memories of when I was one and they comforted me. They can still do that.

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Yes, I know that going through your parents' deaths is part of the natural cycle of life. God forbid it should be the other way around--parents shouldn't have to bury their children. I know it will be an important milestone for me, I just don't feel ready for it.

As for marriage, it's not really an issue of pros and cons. It's just a deep, guttural instinct I have that says, "No way can I sign up for forever." I feel too changeable, too mutable. I value my freedom too much.

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"As for marriage, it's not really an issue of pros and cons. It's just a deep, guttural instinct I have that says, "No way can I sign up for forever." I feel too changeable, too mutable. I value my freedom too much."

That's a long discussion, Dora.

I don't think you will ever let go of your core principles or expectations- i.e. I wouldn't be in a relationship that wouldn't let me be myself or make my own decisions. But over time, it's very possible that you measure that in a different way, or frame the discussion differently. Priorities change as well, and not necessarily in a coping or sell out way. You sometimes just wake up one morning and something that was very important to you no longer is.

I've found that a great relationship is one in which you can truly be yourself, be comfortable with that, and feel confident that your partner loves you in spite of the fact that they know your flaws. It's also a relationship in which you are comfortable with the adjustments you make to accomodate the other, and feel able to make them without feeling you've changed yourself in a way that you don't like. As I've said, "you don't cut off a toe to make a shoe fit".

My spouse has her flaws, but she is also true to herself and won't accomodate to the point of discomfort. For instance...I think long hair on a woman is goosebump sexy. My spouse knows that. But she also finds long hair uncomfortable and a maintenance issue. She went ahead and cut it short anyway. I still think she's sexy. And she still thinks some of my favorite clothes suck, but she deals with it.

Anyway...at the end of the day...maybe some time you reach a point with someone where you say "I've seen a lot of people, and it doesn't get any better than this, and I want to be with them forever." I felt that, and I married her, even tho of course I didn't have to. I chose to. I'm very happy with my choice.

I still think the sexiest line ever uttered in a movie was when Jack Nicholson told Helen Hunt "You make me want to be a better man". That's a plenty good enough carrot for me.

I don't think you really need to worry about it, Dora. I think the proper decision will make itself obvious at the proper time.

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