25 Weeks of Rediscovery: Chapter 1 Discussion – Bogeymen

Posted January 13, 2015 by jimhigley

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(This is the second week of  a six-month journey of self-discovery. Thanks for joining me. Yesterday I shared Chapter 1 from my book, “Bobblehead Dad: 25 Lessons I Forgot I Knew.”  Today we take the thoughts presented in that chapter a little deeper – and I share some thought questions for you. Tomorrow, I hope you’ll come back for a new story about “bogeymen.” Thanks for being here. 

Lesson 1: The scariest bogeyman is the one in your head.

The bogeyman.

Just hearing that name brings back some pretty creepy childhood memories, doesn’t it? I had four older brothers. And (disclaimer: they all grew up to be fine, loving men) they all pretty much put the fear of the bogeyman into my life. Every night. When I was lying in bed in a bedroom I shared with Mick and Kevin..

Yes. I was that child who regularly checked the closets before bed. Along with a look – or two – under the bed for good measure.

The bogeyman. I think I’m going to have nightmares tonight just thinking about him. Or her. (The bogeywoman?).

Yesterday’s story was written almost ten years ago. And I still recall the uncomfortable feeling I had putting the words down – about how I felt as a little kid.

Then there was me, the odd man out. The fifth player in a world of games meant for four. The little brother on the sideline while everyone else played two-on-two.

I was a happy kid. That’s how I like to think of myself. That’s how I force myself to think of myself.

Happy.

But the truth is I felt left out a lot in my life. I was a nervous little kid. Deep down inside. I doubted my abilities. It wasn’t anything in particular. And most of it was just a function of pecking order in a really strong family with a ton of super-achievers. So I played games. Literally and figuratively. On the literal side – as I described – we had the most extraordinary closet of board games. Most of them rather worn and held together by masking tape (thanks, Mom!) and missing a few pieces.

But figuratively, I played games to simply cope. I don’t know if that’s normal. But game playing I did. And no where did I play games more than coping with my mother’s death. And cancer. It scared the living daylights (I would love to use another word, but I’ll keep this “G”) out of me.

It’s so interesting to look back at your own life and realize what was going on in those years gone by, isn’t it?  Age brings clarity. And, for me, so did some great work with therapists. It’s easy to play games. Game playing. Ignoring reality. Pretending things aren’t the way they are. I think a lot of us do that. I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong.

But I’ve learned – especially over the last ten years – to really face that which scares me. I tell myself that – whatever it is – it’s not going to be permanent. And I’ve worked hard to be comfortable with being uncomfortable with the things that scare me. Fears I have for my children. Financial worries. Health issues. Family relationships. I’ve learned to not pretend that they aren’t happening.

I’ve learned to just let things unfold. And have confidence that I will survive.

It’s the best way to scare the bogeyman – or woman. away.

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Here’s some things for you to noodle on:

What did you fear as a child?
How do you deal with your own fears?
What’s the biggest fear you need to overcome today?

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Want more?  Read last week’s posts including the  Prologue and Introduction. And come back tomorrow for an entirely new post!