I haven’t thought much about this issue, but here are a few memories and superficial reflections:

  • I stuttered as a child and teenager, but even though my stuttering largely disappeared in the course of my twenties, I continued to be afraid of stuttering, for example, when I should a lecture or seminar talk. For that reason I always wrote manuscripts for my talks so to avoid phrases that increased the risk of stuttering, like for example, sentences opening with the wowel ‘e’.
  • I’ve always been claustrophobic (but never agarophobic). I once saw a short horror movie about a man who was buried alive and still have nightmares about it. Being buried alive has always been one of my greatest fears. At the age of ten or so, I once listened to a a radio transmitted reading of Henry Kuttner’s horror short story “The graveyard rats” whicch I have never forgotten. I’ve often thought I should demand to get my head cut off after death to make sure I don’t wake up in the coffin on my way into the crematory oven.
  • I’m scared of heights (acrophobia), scared of falling down, and afraid of flying. I don’t remember being acrophobic in my childhood or teens, but this fear has grown over the years; I avoid flying as much as I can.
  • Worst of all is the combination of claustro- and acrophobia. At my first visit to NYC in the late 1960s, I didn’t mind taking the elevators up to the observation deck at the top of the Empire State Building, but as grew older I became more and more scared of riding elevators. Nowadays, I almost always take the stairs instead, even if that means I’ll have to walk up to the fifth, tenth or even twentieth floor.
  • When I was younger (in my thirties through fifties) I was afraid of having smelly feet and armpits, and of having a bad breath. I’m less anxious now.
  • Until recently, I was afraid of not getting enough sleep and looking tired as a result. I didn’t mind being less concentrated for work, I just didn’t like to look like a drowned cat. But this anxiety waned after the birth of my second and third child when I realized I could blame my tired looks on the kids and that looking tired was a sign of adulthood and maturity.
  • I’ve never been able to capture the day (carpe diem), on the contrary I’ve always lived in perpetual anxiety of might happen to me and others in the future – and I find some consolation in viewing movies with apocalyptic themes.
  • But I’ve never been afraid of death. I can feel an immense sorrow when I think of my death, and I’m afraid of becoming bedridden.

This bullet list will be expanded as I read through the archive and learn to know myself better.

Vacation selfie 2019