I love to play shortstop. It’s the key position in the infield and it usually sees a ton of action during the game. I feel like I’m a pretty decent fielder too; I’ve got decent range to my left and a good enough throwing arm to make most of the plays that come my way. Every so often, I’ll make an error; maybe the ball will catch the heel of my mitt or I’ll misjudge a hop. In the last softball game I played in, I ended up making four errors in one inning and a total of six during the course of the game. After each error, I would start thinking more and more about how to avoid making a mistake on the next play.
I was overthinking it. I was so focused on avoiding an error that I was pushing all the fundamentals I had spent years practicing right out of my mind. The mistakes snowballed as I stubbornly tried to force myself to “slow things down”—as if being more methodical could help me react to a ball speeding towards me. The fear of failure had paralyzed me.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the number 30. I turned 29 today so that special milestone is looming on the horizon. And I’ll admit, I’ve been scared to reach cross that threshold. It’s just a change in one digit, but dammit, I’ve gotten used to seeing a ‘2’ in front of my age. If I really dig deep, I’m afraid of the change that comes with aging. I’m afraid I won’t be able to play shortstop much longer.
Leading up to today, I had been working on a 30 before 30 list; 30 things I want to accomplish or experience before I turn 30. It’s a fun idea but I think this goal was born from a desire to make sure I accomplished a laundry list of things before I wasn’t able to do them at all. As I added ideas to this list, it became clear that I was letting fear control me. I was overthinking it.
The fear of the unknown can be paralyzing. It causes to you to do everything you can to maintain the status quo. Sometimes that’s okay. More often, it prevents you from moving forward, from actually growing. So when I’m looking at houses to buy or talking to Megan about starting a family, I start thinking about excuses to keep things the way they are. I like my life the way it is but that doesn’t mean it’s the best version possible, particularly when a selfish and fearful attitude ends up hurting others.
Of course things are going to change as I get older. But those changes aren’t all for the worse. Sure I might lose a step on the ball field but I’ll also get to enjoy watching my future children grow up into ballplayers themselves. I needed to put things into perspective and tell myself, “It’s going to be scary as I grow older and things change, but I’m going to push that aside and enjoy it.”