Anticipating the future is impossible.
Psychics, palm readings, magic 8 balls – it’s all fake. No one can predict something that is yet to happen. You may think of an outcome or hypothesize what will take place, but you can never know for sure.
Shortly after 9/11, I was scared to walk onto an airplane. I was terrified to trust the other people that were boarding beside me. It’s madness to feel safe around hundreds of total strangers. For all I knew, an attacker could be in the seat next to mine.
Even today, I still find it difficult. No matter how many times I fly, putting my life in the hands of the pilots, passengers and crew, who are unfamiliar to me, is extremely difficult.
But nowadays, this fear isn’t just about air travel. As we learn from the horrifying Brussels attacks, even standing in the terminal building is a danger. In fact, even taking the underground to the building is a risk too!
So is nowhere safe anymore?
I find myself rushing through a shopping center because it seems like a likely target. Huge public gatherings are not on my list of places to attend. The London underground is a definite no-no. Even simply walking through the streets has me at a more vigilant awareness.
Some may say I’m being irrational. To be honest, I sometimes think that too. But fear is an irrational emotion which is hard to control. Forcing myself to go to places my heart wants to flee from only makes me feel more on edge.
Quite simply, I’m scared of what the world has become. Terror is swooping across the European continent. There are those who thrive through troubling times such as this. They stand up to lead others through their panic and they fight back against the assailants.
But I can’t be that person.
I’d like to make one thing clear: There is nothing wrong with being afraid. I am often told that I need to ‘grow up’ or ‘get on with my life’ but that doesn’t eliminate anything I feel. If anything, by growing up, I realize how much I have in my life and how much hurt I would cause by being reckless with it. Being safe is my priority but I don’t know how to do that anymore.
I remember the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris in January, 2015. That specific one hit me really hard. I work in a newspaper every single day. Numerous people come in and out; some familiar, some unknown. The Charlie Hebdo offices were targeted because of what they had previously published. Islamic extremists strongly disputed what they sent to press. But ever since that day, I have lived with a sense of uncertainty.
I spent weeks, maybe even months, sitting in fear of what could happen. My door remained closed in case someone could sight me from the street. I couldn’t stay in one place in case I was given a reason to run. I even started to plan an escape route. Quite simply, we’re a Jewish newspaper, so jihadists will never agree with what we print. But, over time, I realized I can’t operate like that anymore. I can’t spend my life roaming around my work space. But even so, that nervousness is still there.
ISIS are spreading and entering new borders each day. They dress as normal people, live regular lives and one day, ruin the life of others. They have no fear, they have no understanding. They live for death. What will happen tomorrow may change your life forever, but even though it may be stupid to live in fear, I find it even crazier not to do so.
We don’t live in an easy time. The world is changing back into the dark shadow it was before.
Enjoy the sunlight while it’s still beaming, before nightfall inevitably surrounds us once more.