Tuesday, October 6, 2015

National Noodle Day (or...what the Pho was I so afraid of?)

Today I thought about my move from Tucson to San Diego.  I had visited San Diego on many occasions before moving, so I already knew plenty about the city; but I asked an acquaintance who had lived there once if there was anything I needed to know before I made the big jump.  She said to me, "Make sure you go to Hillcrest for Pho - they have the absolute best in the city." 

I looked at her blankly.

"It's a noodle dish - kind of like ramen, but way better."

I had never heard of Pho before.  But it sounded exotic and different, so I nodded my head, said "thanks for the recommendation," and promised to give it a go.

That was 9 years ago.

So today being National Noodle Day, I used as an excuse to finally try Pho. 

My coworker Andi recommended a place not far from work (you'll remember Andi as my winner from our Play-Doh contest). 

Seatbelts. Safety first!

They had a wide selection to choose from, but she recommended chicken, so I went with it.

And it was good.  I liked it.  So why did it take me so damn long to try this?  Maybe I just forgot it was available?  Perhaps I just was never in the mood? 

I think I was just afraid of it.

Yes, afraid.  Now I realize it is a completely irrational and ridiculous reason.  And yet consider this; it's a strange cuisine that I know nothing about that requires me to walk into a new establishment and risk looking like a complete idiot when it comes time to order (can you really ask someone what a fish ball is without getting strange looks?).  

I think a little bit of fear isn't too uncalled for at this point.

Fear is a strange emotion.  It can be good and bad.  It can motivate or paralyze.  Fear can make you feel triumphant or a failure.  You can be so afraid to take the first step in a long journey, but realize you'll never know how it turns out unless you try, so you begin.  Or you can look down that long road and stand there forever because you're afraid of how it can turn out. 

I admire people who can harness their own fears and use it as a motivator.  Pioneers of various industries who have these crazy ideas and dreams they want to turn into reality.  Their ideas are strange and foreign - scary to investors who don't understand what they're trying to achieve.  But they take that fear of the unknown, research, plan, develop, build, test, tear-down and rebuild, test some more and eventually present their product to the world.  And what once started as a laughable, scary foray into the unknown eventually becomes something the general public embraces, uses, and eventually forgets was ever without....automobiles, television, the internet.

I'm trying to be better about my own fears.  I'm trying to be brave and take more first steps instead of worrying about failures that may never come.  But it's difficult..it's hard to be brave.  It's tough to not care about what people think, whether your ideas will be well received or laughed at and ridiculed.  It's not easy to put something you believe in so firmly out into the world and wait to see if it soars or crashes.  I can read motivational posters that tell me to "Believe In Yourself'" or "Go For The Gold" all day long - and I'll believe them - until that tiny little bit of fear and doubt creep in and sabotage all those cat poster's best efforts. 

Thank you The Lego Movie for this gem

My friend Meri went back to school to become a speech therapist.  I remember looking at her in awe when she told about signing up for classes, what she would have to take, how much training was involved and how many years it was going to take to get degree.  As she spoke, all I could think was, "Where was she going to find time to take on this monumental task?"  She has a job, two kids in school, a husband and a house to run.  She's going to take classes for 8 hours a day, plus homework, plus lab work - and never mind how much it costs to go back to school these days?!  I was so proud of her for having the courage to take on such a challenge and at the same time thinking I would never have the guts to do that myself.  Now, I'm sure that she had apprehension when she made the decision, doubt when she walked into class that first day, and a fair amount of fear when staring down at that first exam.  But she didn't let it stop her.  She used all of that fear, doubt and apprehension to her advantage and today she is that much closer to having her degree and starting a new career.

Pretty awesome, huh?

So I will follow her example.  I'm putting my fear aside and buying my own domain name for this blog.  I'm going to challenge my doubts and create my own webpage, and learn how to market this little writing endeavor of mine.  I will enter the unknown arena of online advertising and see if I can turn this into more than just a hobby.  Will people outside my group of friends like this?  I hope so.  Will putting myself out there like this bring me mean-girls and trolls?  Hopefully not.  But I can't let the fear of failure keep me from the unknown awesomeness that might be success.

Hey...I had Pho today for lunch.  I'm ready for anything.

Well, almost anything.  Still not too sure about the fish balls....