www.whyville.net Oct 31, 2010 Weekly Issue

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There I was in Paris, France. It was about nine underneath the Eiffel tower and it had just finished flashing its blue lights as it does every night. I couldn't believe I was there. Outside with the rest of the group and our tour guide, I stared up at the height of this giant tower and I knew I couldn't go up there. I had seen the tower from a distance before and said I would just swallow my fear and go up there for the experience. I mean - I didn't know when I'd go back. But being there, and seeing the height, I knew it would just ruin the experience for me. After I told my teacher, all my friends were crowding around saying things like, "Oh, you've got to go up!" and "You'll Regret it!" And regret it I did.

It's an irrational fear sometimes - heights. No one really understood that being in the tower would ruin its magic for me because I would be so scared. It makes my palms sweat when I think about it. Still, I have so much regret because it's not as if I'm going to leap off the tower or anything. Mostly I regret not doing something about this fear before it seems to have turned into a phobia.

It's been like this all my life - diving, those stairs in the mall, the ones where you can see down through the back of the steps, and looking over the rail on basically any staircase have all been associated with this one fear. My biggest regret is not doing something about it sooner. But I can't blame myself for not going up in the tower. I probably would have been scared and refused to move, so really, it would have ruined the whole trip for me.

It's brought me to tears sometimes, the frustration with this fear. Several times that night I cried. And that is one thing I didn't want to happen. Really I just wanted to stay at the bottom of the tower and see what there was to see before we had to go, but instead, this memory is stained with regret and tears that I will never forget.

I write this to tell you readers that if there's something, anything, you think you will regret not doing later in life, do it. Not something you'll regret skipping for a day, or a month, or even a year, but something that will stick with you for life, then do it. So whether it's joining a club that's not so cool, doing the right thing even when it seems so hard, or facing your fears, it will make a huge difference on how you feel about it later. Because even if it was unsuccessful, you'll never have to experience the uncertainty of what might have been. And hopefully you'll never regret trying.

So in the future, I will return to France. With hope in my heart, and the memories of my regret close at hand, I will march up to that Eiffel Tower and go up in it. And years later, I can tell my grandchildren about my excursions to Paris, and what I learned about trying different things, no matter how hard it can be, and ultimately, face my fears.


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