All that happened was that a friend asked me “what about Charlie?”

“He has a girlfriend,”  I said knowing that I was actually safe from having to deal with this.

“He’s free now,”  she said.

Oh.  I was at the gym and I was on my way to the rowing machine.  I got on and started my routine.  My brain went crazy.

“I don’t know if I like him.”

“What if I go out with him, find somebody else, and hurt him?  Will my friend hate me?”

“I don’t think we like the same things.”

“What if he locks me up in the house.  I’ll be stuck.  I’ll be pounding on the walls and no one will hear me.  HELP!!!” (I don’t even know where this came from).

I worked myself into such a state that my heart was racing and I felt ready to have a nervous breakdown.

What actually happened?

All that happened was that my friend said “what about Charlie?”

That’s it.  And my brain went crazy trying to protect me from getting hurt.  My body was tense and in pain.  I couldn’t breathe.  Nothing to do with Charlie.  Nothing was actually happening.  

I find it fascinating.

While writing this I’m checking out my body.  I am so uptight.  I’m so afraid of making another mistake (can you say sociopath?) that I’m not even open to a little question.  My back and shoulders hurt.

What can I do?

I can make a list of the actual facts.  (My friend asked me a question).

I can breathe, let go, pray, and trust the universe to protect me.

I can just say hi to men again, whether married or single, it doesn’t matter.  I’m just saying hi.  I’m just opening myself up to have conversations.

I can play and have fun again.

I can thank my brain for protecting me.

I can remember that playing it safe does not create a passionate and fulfilled life.

I can take chances and if I make mistakes, I will survive.  Without a risk, there is no possibility of really having the life I want.

And even if I ever got locked into a house, since most doors lock from the inside,  I just turn the knob and let myself out.


  • Hilary Arnow Burns

    Hilary Arnow Burns, Creating Life in the Present Moment

    Graduated from Wharton Business School, Hilary pursued a career in management consulting, ending up on Wall Street during the 1989 crash. "It was certainly exciting," she says about her time at Drexel Burnham Lambert. From there she found her way to many entrepreneurial ventures, ending up as a District Sales Coordinator at AFLAC. She has always loved to entertain, empower and acknowledge people and does so through her writing and speaking. She specializes in memoir and poems which tell a person's unique gifts and story.   She has published her first book, "The Second Piece of French Toast," available on Her website: GettingRealwithHilary connects you to her YouTube channel and blog.