Never Fear (Even if You’ve Ridden in on a Piñata)

photo credit: Unboxing iPod touch via photopin (license)
photo credit: Unboxing iPod touch via photopin (license)

Our minds are wonderful factories of ideas and creations.

It’s where anything is possible, great and awful. It’s where our dreams are made. It’s also where we give more fuel to fear than fear could ever get by itself. The mind is freshman year away from home, loaded with 15 extra pounds but also a transforming class.

It’s a buffet where no one counts your pizza slices. How do you even navigate that?

That journey in our minds can’t even be measured in milliseconds or milligrams, but it can cover miles and millenniums. What’s the limit? It’s where the final turn in the cure for cancer will happen.

It’s in the neighborhood, also, where the concepts of ISIS and SARS and identity theft are tossed and cultivated.

Our minds are like the Internet – hope and horror in seeming harmony, in the same duplex.

photo credit: Kryptonite? via photopin (license)
photo credit: Kryptonite? via photopin (license)

Should latch down and cower? Guard against all our Kryptonite and take the safe road the whole way? A while back, Beth posted a comic and a quote on her blog, “I didn’t have my glasses on …” She titled it Fear, and it’s been on my mind a lot lately.

Check it out. And come back.


The piñata cowboy rides with risk and reward. It’s about avoiding the big stick. What’s the use if you hide from it every day? I wouldn’t ride a piñata into a Louisville Slugger Festival, but I’d take it on the range. See, there’s that balance there.

It’s how you navigate life when you’re stuffed with candy.What’s the point of riding in the first place? I’ll never skydive or cliff-dive or dive into a pallet of Charmin in the back of a membership warehouse (again, probably.)

But you know what? I won’t live in fear of the big stick and other hazards.

There’s too much to gain if you’ll just ride! (And one good whack doesn’t bring down all the candy. Relax.) So, I’ll ride. You should too.

It’s how you’ll find your matching piece in an 11,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

It’s how you’ll know for sure what happens when you plop a junior frosty into a cup of vanilla root beer.

It’s where you learn if your hunch is awesome or atrocious.

It’s just the right shirt for just the right trip.

Fear’s always there like sunburn or calories or the oakland raiders, but it shouldn’t keep a boy from dreaming and navigating and hoping and living.

Even if the horse you ride is loaded with gobstoppers.

And decorated like a Rose Bowl float.

fear quote.jpg



  1. Ann Koplow says:

    I am not afraid of this post, Eli. I love it. Thank you.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I love that you love it, Ann. It’s that step or two into the direction of your dreams. That’s all it takes.

  2. I just actually saw the saddest thing a piñata for kids now has strings so each kid can pull the strings open instead of hitting it with a good old fashioned bat. What is the world coming to?!!

      1. Yup pretty much sums it up!!!

      2. tamaralikecamera says:

        Ugh, I’m afraid this one is Michelle’s fault, though. All of her health food regulations. She is also gunning for piñatas to be filled with kale chips.

      3. Eli Pacheco says:

        Time to vote Libertarian!

  3. Amen Eli! Wonderful post. Fear can be all consuming and so many people live in fear rather than just living! FDR’s First Inaugural Address – ” There is nothing to fear except fear itself”.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Tiffany. Glad you liked it. I’m not going to wrestle grizzly bears, but you know, I’m not going to fear my own future. I want to meet it, not wait for it.

  4. A.PROMPTreply says:

    A very good mantra, Eli. I had a moment when Son No. 1 had a big opportunity and my first instinct was to say NO. I was scared. But then I realized teaching him to live in fear wasn’t teaching him to live at all. From then on, my motto has been, I will not teach them to live in fear, I will teach them to live and to grab every brass ring they can along the way……even if the brass ring doesn’t pan out, they will never have to look back and think, “Oh, maybe I should’ve tried…”

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Torrie. I feel the same inside when my oldest looks at colleges in Florida. It’s so far. Why would I want to deny her opportunities for the sake of miles between us though?

      I love the approach you’re taking. I want my girls to chase their dreams but to also realize their happy lives can manifest in many ways, so many they haven’t even considered and might not until they find themselves in it.

      1. A.PROMPTreply says:

        I have one in California right now, Eli. He’s been there 5 years with at least another one to go. It’s not been easy, but he’s living his dream and growing in ways he never would’ve done had he stayed here. And the very best thing, Eli, I mean THE VERY BEST thing is when he comes home it’s even better because he comes because he wants to…not because he has to or because he has nowhere else, but solely because he wants to connect with us and feels connected. It’s a strange gift that distance can give you. So take heart…’s not all bad if she ends up in Florida or somewhere else… too will reap benefits you had not even thought of before.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        I hope it’s that way with Elise, too. I think it will be. I think she’ll want to come back often. And I know she’ll want me to come visit. I GUESS I could spend some time in Florida if she REALLY wants me to.

      3. A.PROMPTreply says:

        See there? You’re already on your way! 🙂

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        She’s ready to go visit schools, just the two of us.

  5. ksbeth says:

    thanks, eli for the shout out, for taking it a step further, and for living without fear as a father of 3 wonderful girls. )

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      thanks beth for the inspiration and for posting things that stay with me long after the browser closes.

  6. Wow. A very penetrating and hopeful post. And from now on, I’m going to nickname you, “The Cowboy Philosopher.”

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Tony. I didn’t know which direction the post would take, but I knew beth’s post began the conversation. “The Cowboy Philosopher” works – so long as the cowboy rides a pinata!

  7. laurie27wsmith says:

    Fear is a cancer Mate, it can eat away all our hopes, dreams, good intentions and experience. Yet there’s nothing wrong with being afraid, it makes you stop and think before you head into whatever lies ahead.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s like a necessary evil, then, isn’t it? In just the right dose to keep us even keel, but not enough to poison us.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        Too right Mate, you’ve hit it on the head. I think fear is what helps us to survive, at least it makes us look before we leap.

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