Friday, December 17, 2010

The only thing to fear . . .

. . . is fear itself? Sometimes I wonder about that.

Last night I had what I can only call a "fear" attack--it felt a little like a panic attack: this cold, unreasoning feeling (in the back of my mind, it really did seem irrational) that I couldn't shake off. My husband finally talked me through it, but for about half an hour I felt like I wanted to curl into a tight ball and just disappear.

What was I so afraid of? Well, it almost sounds silly in black and white (and in daylight): I'd been reading predictions about the future of the university (some, like Bill Gates, maintain that in 5-10 years most of university work will be done online) and I had this terrible vision of a future where my husband and I were out of work (with no hope of employment) because we lived in this futuristic society with technology that was beyond us. Today, of course, this seems laughable: while I do think universities are going to rely increasingly on online courses, I don't know that there will be such a drastic shift so quickly--I think that the "university experience" of sitting in classes and sharing apartments with other like minded souls is such a powerful part of going to college that it will persist to some degree. Also, it's unlikely that both of us (we're smart, hard-working people) would suddenly become so inept that we couldn't learn a new trade if we had to.

Still, the feeling of fear was very real and very intense. And telling myself that it was irrational--or that it was a failure of faith on my part--didn't seem to help.

Am I the only one who ever feels like this? What do you (that is, if anyone is reading this with similar experience) do to snap out of it?

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