Phobophobia: The Fear of Being Afraid

Angie hopped on a plane on Saturday afternoon, bound for Texas and all the fun that her annual visit with her parents entails. I always tease that she’s heading off to summer camp, because just like a summer camp, she almost always returns with some sort of handicraft. One year they made butcher block cutting boards. Another year it was coat racks. And last year, I think they made a table out of pallets. That one did not come back to Tennessee, thank goodness!

This year things could be different though. About a month ago we received one of those calls that no one likes to get. Angie’s mom was being rushed by ambulance to the hospital. At only 22 beats per minute, her heart had practically stopped. I won’t say that Angie’s mom is the pillar of health but there was absolutely no indication until that day that she had a heart problem. In fact, she was outside working when she collapsed. I hate to sound cliché, but it really is the truth – you never know when something will happen that changes everything in your life.

Angie’s mom now has a pacemaker and a cabinet full of medications that she never took before. She’s supposed to watch what she eats and exercise, but much like my own mom, age comes with a certain amount of stubbornness and fear. For as much as they fear dying, the fear of change is sometimes even more dreadful.

Watching our parents age, brings many fears for us as well. The fear of losing them to a debilitating disease. The fear of losing them at all, for that matter. The fear of dealing with crazy family members when we do lose them (we both have siblings that have a coin purse where their heart should be – always waiting on some grand inheritance to fall into it). And about that, there’s the fear of having to deal with the stuff that’s left behind – pets, possessions, and property. It’s enough to make you feel overwhelmed at times.

But I don’t want to be afraid.

And yet there are those times when fear gets to you without you ever having invited it in.

“Aren’t you afraid she won’t come back?” my mom asked me as she told Angie goodbye on Friday night.

For hours after that moment, I kept thinking, why would she ask such a crazy question? Should I be afraid? Is something going to happen? Does she have some sort of sixth sense about these things? Again, it was enough to make me feel like I was going nuts. Later, my mom apologized. She said she didn’t know why she asked that question but thought perhaps she might have been feeling a little afraid herself.

But I don’t want to be afraid.

I was driving home from the airport, looking for a nearby Farmer’s Market, when it suddenly struck me – my whole family is always afraid of something and probably always has been. I just never noticed it that much until I grew up. My sister is afraid of being alone. My niece is afraid of adulthood. My nephew is afraid of speaking in public. My mom is afraid of change. And I am afraid of being afraid.

I don’t usually think of myself as a fearful person. I pick up snakes. I eat out of dumpsters. And even after almost drowning, there’s still no place I’d rather be than in the ocean. But lately other people’s fears seem to be sneaking in on me and I am afraid of turning into one of them.

Fear breeds fear. When you question everything and embrace nothing because it might hurt you, you are not living life as it was intended. And I simply don’t want to be afraid, so here’s what I’m going to do.

I’m going to talk about my fears. Fear likes to lurk in the dark. I will call it out and challenge it in the bright light of day.

I’m going to let go. I can’t control how other people think or act. I am only responsible for me. I will let go of expectations, bad experiences from the past, and unrealistic scenarios that are not likely to occur in the first place.

I’m going to live in the present. This is, after all, the only moment we know for sure that we have. Why waste it on fear?

I’m going to trust myself. I’ve been making decisions for me for longer than anyone else has and even when I’ve made the wrong ones, I still managed to survive. I am going to trust that whatever life brings me, I can handle it.

Take that phobophobia!

What are your greatest fears? How do you handle them?

Cover photo: I wanted to find a picture of the scariest thing I could think of. Sadly, I could not find one of the giant spider above the fridge in our Airbnb in Hawaii so I chose the runner -up. This little gator was a mere 7-feet long and just a few yards from us when we spotted it in the pond of our Florida apartment complex.

CSA Basket Suppers

We will be picking up our 5th CSA basket of the season today. Already we’ve gotten to experience a few new items, mixed with an abundance of old favorites. Last week’s newbie was snow peas. I know many of you have probably been eating snow peas since the dawn of time but we have not (the occasional pea pod in our Chinese take-out does not count). This was our first time to prepare them at home and I promise, it will not be the last. Those things are delicious!

Last summer, we made the mistake of signing up for two CSA programs, thinking that we would eat what we could and freeze the rest for the winter. Along that same line, we shopped the Farmer’s Market weekly and visited countless local farm stands. AND we grew a garden with 32 tomato plants! We had so much food that we had to buy a second freezer. But when winter rolled around, we found it hard to get to the freezer foods because we were knee deep in rescued foods too.

Our new freezer by the end of August

When both of our freezers became packed, we starting contemplating moving items to my mom’s house. Then one morning in the middle of January, the insanity of it all settled in. We’re not prepping for a zombie apocalypse. We aren’t feeding a family of 10. We don’t live in a place that gets 8 feet of snow and we aren’t 50 miles from the nearest town. We live next door to a Walmart for Pete’s sake! In short, we weren’t going to starve to death if we didn’t have food in the freezer. We soon realized that without some concerted effort, there was just no way the two of us were  going to plow through our back stock before this summer. Let’s just say, February and March were the “squash and okra” months at our house.

This year we made some adjustments. We sold our older freezer. We signed up for one small CSA basket and we planted a very small garden – 8 tomato plants, 4 squash, 7 pepper plants, and a short row of cow peas and green beans. That leaves plenty of room for weekly visits to the market and farm stands. Our overall goal though – to eat 100% of what we receive in our basket (or buy at the market) each week. No freezing. We do plan to can and freeze a reasonable amount of produce for winter but we’ve decided to see what our garden yields before buying anything extra.

Our small garden:

To make the most of our basket contents, we’ve been trying some new recipes:

Snow peas with squash and pepper

You can serve this as a side dish or atop of bowl of brown rice for a complete meal. The recipe is easy – 1-2 squash (cubed), 1 pepper sliced in strips, and a pound of snow peas (washed and trimmed). Saute in avocado oil until the squash is tender. Season with salt and pepper (or your favorite seasoning).

Veggie Pizza

Angie makes an amazing quick homemade pizza crust using this recipe but any pizza crust will work. We topped ours with onions, bell peppers, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese. Bake 10 minutes and enjoy!

Spinach Zucchini Soup

I was searching for “what to do with an avocado you forgot you had” when I came across this recipe. It has absolutely nothing to do with an avocado but Google obviously thought it was something I needed to try. Thanks, Google! I made a few adaptations to the recipe though. I left out the cheese and instead of half and half, I just added more water. I also subbed in trattole noodles for the cheese tortellini. While it may seem like I was avoiding the use of dairy, in reality, I just didn’t want to go to the store. The soup was great.

Summer Salad

When in doubt, we make a salad. This one contains green and red leaf lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, broccoli and radish sprouts, and a boiled egg. Everything except the vinaigrette dressing came from our basket or the Saturday market.

So far, so good on our goal. We haven’t stuck anything in the freezer to avoid cooking it and we are eating 90% of our basket items in the week they were received. Of course, the real test will be the next two weeks when Angie is in Texas and it’s just me and the basket. Hopefully we don’t get a dozen squash!

What are some of your favorite recipes for seasonal fruits and veggies?

Food Waste Update

  • Wasted Food this week: 1 ounces
  • Total Wasted Food in 2018: 51 ounces
  • Rescued Food this week:   93 US pounds
  • Total Food Rescued this year:  279.02 US pounds

Keep up with our food finds in real time by viewing our Food Find Gallery.