The World According to Rico – Confronting our fears can come with great reward at the end

We all have a fear or two, right? There is some nagging feeling we each possess about not wanting to do something because we are just too timid.

We naturally have fear built into us so we don’t do stupid, reckless things.

But we also sometimes have phobias that aren’t quite warranted or rational.

Personally, I’ve been terrified of the tiny blue kiddie pool in my backyard, ever since I arrived in York a few months ago. The fear grew even worse when an inch of water was added and I was encouraged to actually step inside it. Of course, I refused. And remember, they put that warning sticker on the side for a reason.

Each day, as I cruised the yard, I’d only slightly glance in its direction because to give it full eye contact could have been deadly, I reasoned in my little puppy brain.

Then this past week, the temperatures soared to more than 100 degrees and I grew tired of laying by my special air vents in the house. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate air conditioning and the ability to stay cool, but I also need a little action now and again. So the other evening, when the degrees plummeted down to only 90 at 8 p.m., the powers that be decided it was time to try again, to coax me into that baby blue hell hole.

The folks talked about how I would be so happy and cool, if I’d lie in the water and relax in the shade. They said I’d have fun and feel good. I was told to appreciate the fact they ran the water a few hours earlier, so it wouldn’t be shocking. They even splashed around the plastic edges, pretending they were going to get in.

I don’t know if they wore me down with boredom or irritation, but I eventually decided to just go for it. I slightly put my first little paw in the water – because I’m now big enough to get in it myself. I mimicked their splashing and was slightly delighted to feel cool water fly onto my nose and in my whiskers.

In went another paw. My whole front end was now committed and it was time to let the back end feel the same.

With all four paws fully engaged in that dangerous 1 ½-inch level of water, I decided to maybe embrace the moment. I ever so slightly brushed my head in the fluid and the next thing I knew, I was rolling around, making sounds I’d never made before and relishing the beauty of a strange contraption called a swimming pool.

Sure, I was a wet, soggy mess – not remotely fluffy or glamourous. But dang, I felt like a million bucks.

I realized I was no longer afraid. And by embracing my fear, I found a blissful outcome at the end.

I think embracing fears always comes with great reward. Take my mom for example. She absolutely hated to fly in an airplane, but once she embraced the fact it was the only way she’d get to her paradise destination for her annual vacation, she calmed down. Sure, she still hates certain parts of the experience, but she’s not nearly as manic now because she knows what comes at the end.

And she hates deep water. But once she embraced the fact that the experience of wading into the ocean was worth that terrible plane ride, she realized she could enjoy that massive body of water, albeit in small doses.

Kim Kardashian is terrified of spiders, yet she was willing to hold one upon the request of her daughter who loves them. Sure, the self-proclaimed ugly crier bawled her eyes out the entire time, but her reward was hearing her little kids laugh their heads off and jump with joy. And I’m sure it was profitable in the reality TV world and on social media.

Most people are scared of snakes, yet Britney Spears embraced a big yellow one for a memorable performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. Online accounts said she was so terrified during practice, she broke out in hives. The reward at the end was, well, we got to see Britney Spears wearing a 7-foot albino Burmese Python and there have been many Halloween costumes sported over the years to commemorate that strange musical moment.

My mom’s Grandma Onie was horrified to ride in the car because she was sure her husband, Grandpa Andy, was going to drive the old Plymouth into the ditch where it would surely explode with great force and in a fire ball. Yet, she crawled into the death trap every Sunday morning with the reward being getting to church just in time to pray for Andy’s soul.

My mom’s mom, Cheri, was scared of horses and vowed to never be near one, no matter what. Yet, she reluctantly got on top of a pack horse in the Teton Mountains and hung on for dear life while it hauled her to a high-up camp many years ago for their hunting trip of a lifetime. The reward was the ability to drink her morning coffee in a mountainous dream world where the trees were the colors of green and gold and the peaceful silence was just as spectacular.

A friend of a friend was apprehensive about going on a blind date but in it she found her soul mate.

I’m pretty sure Neil Armstrong was a little scared to step onto the moon but once he did, he was able to make the historic comment about “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Did filmmaker, James Cameron, really want to get in a metal tube and travel miles under the surface of the ocean to take pictures? Really? I’m pretty sure he was apprehensive to some degree. But when he got there, he got to film the Titanic wreckage – oh, and make lots of money with a little movie bearing the same name.

You have to imagine that Elvis had the jitters the first time he walked onto a stage with his guitar. But once his hips and lips started moving, he was on his way to stardom.

The first day at a new job makes everyone fearful but the benefit is that eventual paycheck and just maybe a career of a lifetime.

Going to college is scary for parents and kids, but the icing on the cake in the end is a bright future for the student and the calming of household chaos for the moms and dads.

I know I’m just a dog and don’t know much about the world just yet. I might be all wet; however, I can vouch for the beauty in embracing our fears every once in a while because the reward just might be worth it.


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