Did you ever have cold feet? Literally or figuratively. Probably both at one time or another.
I got cold feet on Thanksgiving night. Literally. When I went to bed, my feet were freezing. Outside temperatures were in the low teens. Fahrenheit. I turned on the electric blanket, raising it up a notch every few minutes until I finally felt warmth. Cozily wiggling my toes, I suddenly realized that the next night would be very different. I was planning to buy a cute springer spaniel puppy on Friday afternoon.
I began to picture myself throwing off the covers every hour or so to take the puppy outside, remembering my first puppy-training efforts years ago. I would remind my first dog, Heidi, to pee, as I stood in my jammies in the front yard, which she would promptly do as soon as we got inside the house. My springer spaniel, Pete, was smart. He trained in less than a week. But we went outside a lot that week.
Even the thoughts of beginning puppy hygiene on cold winter nights gave me shivers. It wouldn’t be much better in the early morning. I knew the new puppy would have me awake and outside at the crack of dawn. The icy crack.
Turning up the electric blanket another notch cemented my decision. Winter was not the time to start puppy training. Not for me, at least. My literal cold feet turned into figurative cold feet. I began to itemize all of the reasons that I shouldn’t get a new canine companion. So, I didn’t.
I’ve experienced the figurative cold feet numerous times. Standing in front of a congregation to cantor gives me cold feet. But I do it. Hitting the upload button when I think my latest book is ready for publication gives me cold feet. But I do it. Giving a presentation gives me cold feet. But I do it.
What’s the difference, I wondered? How is it that we’re able to overcome some fears, but not others? Sometimes our fears hold us back from accomplishing a dream because we don’t think we can do it. Maybe it’s just not the right time.
A new puppy is not in the cards for me at this moment. It’s OK. One of these days, I’ll know when it’s the right time. Or not. For now, I’ll enjoy my warm feet.