A few weeks ago, I found myself staring off the edge of Looking Glass Rock. A friend had convinced me to climb it, saying, “You are moving away and you have not even experienced this place.” He was right. I spent most of my life in a place that is known for epic climbing (Western North Carolina, if you’re wondering), and I was always drawn to climbing and meant to try it. So why was this my first time?

All my life, I have spent my time doing “important” things in an effort to avoid wasting time. I’ve spent a lot of my time thinking about the things I wanted to do and the person I wanted to be. Like Thoreau, I have always aspired “to live deliberately…and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” My greatest fear has always been that I would spend my life without really having the life I wanted.

While I stared at the beautiful view from the top of this amazing rock, my friends’ words playing over again in my head, I realized something. In my attempts to live deliberately, I had not lived. My focus on my fear had actually started creating the very reality I wanted to avoid. In my effort to use my time productively, I did not spend enough time actually living.

Sure, I had taken some risks, I had pursued some passions. Yet, for some reason, I always held back. I don’t think I’m alone in this. Many of us let some type of fear keep us from living our lives as freely as we could. We don’t pursue the career we love, we stay in an unhappy relationship, or hide who we really are because we create too many unnecessary limits for ourselves.

Well, I am done with that. I need more days like that one. It’s time to actually experience life. I hope you will join me. Don’t let fear and arbitrary limitations prevent you from living YOUR life. There are enough external limits to our freedom. Don’t impose that type of harshness on yourself as well.