Growing up, I've always had an inkling of fear that lurked unseen in the shadows of my life. I can pinpoint the exact moment when my fear was catalyzed, when I first read H. P. Lovecraft's short story "The Call of Cthulhu" at the age of twelve. That single work conjured a sense of existential terror that I had never experienced before, an understanding that some cosmic dangers were lurking beyond our tangible universe, powers and forces that even science couldn't comprehend. I had found my own cosmic horror bubbling in my mind, a fear of the dark and the unknown.
It's been almost a decade since that initial encounter and I can still sense the underlying feeling of terror that envelops my studies and interests. From spearheading work on number theory to gazing in wonder at the night sky, I couldn't help but return to my fundamental fear that lurks underneath it all. In many ways, I feel this fear has grounded me as a passionate scientist, for without understanding the gravity of existential fear, one cannot apply their full energy into understanding the mysteries of the universe.
But even as I come to terms with this fear, I also find ways to embrace it, to keep it in check. Embracing the dark is a crucial component of living, and I like to think that engaging in activities such as lasertag, unicycling, or bowling help to maintain a balance of fear and appreciation. When faced with myself in the dark corners of the night, I am reminded of my mortality and that the fear in my heart is merely a natural part of life.
At the end of the day, I mend with the notion that fear has an important role to play in the grand narrative of our universe. With it, I'm able to proceed forth into the unknown, no matter how dark and daunting it may seem. I can use my fear as fuel to explore and uncover the mysteries of this cosmos, and in doing so, I can once again appreciate the endless wonders of the universe.