Living in Fear: The American Lifestyle?

I had an interesting conversation at work today regarding the marathon bombings and the lockdowns that followed. One of the partners at the firm I work at made a statement about how a) there would never be a lockdown in Ireland and b) if there was, nobody would obey it. Yet, about two months ago, all of my friends and I were sitting in our dorm rooms, unable to leave simply because we received a text that said not to.

Do we live our lives too scared?

The number of lockdowns I’ve experienced in my life are innumerable (school intruders, national attacks, weather, etc.) and I understand the idea of safety, but how many of those were actually necessary?

The first lockdown I remember occurred when I was in elementary school and a cat wandered in when some kids left the door open coming in from recess. The rest of the recesses for the day were cancelled and nobody could leave the classroom until the cat was captured. It was a CAT–a house cat–and we completely put our lives on hold for it.

Looking back at the day of the bombings, yes, I was scared. However, I spent the entire day listening to the police scanner, two different news channels, and reading through updates online, meanwhile checking my phone for the BU alert updates. So, instead of being in class or at the gym or dining hall with friends, I was sitting on my bed psyching myself out even more. I understand that there was danger around, but I also understand that we need to move on with our lives.

I love “Boston Strong” because it displays the message of “you tried to break us but now we’re even better than we were before.” That will be proven when we hold the marathon next year, despite the events that occurred this year. Yet, while we were screaming Boston Strong and making overpriced t-shirts to sell in Boston gift shops, we let those attacks temporarily stop us in everything that we were doing. That’s not strong, that’s scared.

The gist? I vow to not live in fear in the future. There will always be violence, natural disaster, accidents. I’d rather be having the time of my life when something happens than regret all of the time I spent sheltering myself from the possibility. And I don’t mean I’m going to go chase tornadoes to put myself in the middle of a protest that doesn’t mean anything to me. I simply mean that I’m going to embrace every opportunity I have, and I’m not going to let other people define when I can and can’t be happy.


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