This year would be the perfect time to exorcise this particular, and particularly odd, phobia. Triskaidekaphobia is the name given to the fear of the number 13. With 363 days of the year 2013 to look forward to, now is the time to be fearless.
Google offers much insight into the origins of the number 13 phobia. Common themes include the attendance of 13 guests at the last supper, where Jesus was betrayed. Some historians versed in Middle Ages point to the demise of the Knights Templar on Friday the 13th in the year 1307, as a reason to fear the day. Being afraid of Friday the 13th even has its own moniker, paraskevidekatriaphobia. I can safely say I am afraid only of trying to pronounce the word as I've learned the day itself has much to offer. Mathematical types often swoon over the perfect number twelve, thinking the poor sod that follows surely must be unlucky. I'm not convinced.
Thirteen is our family's lucky number. It is knowledge based in fact. My husband and I met and married on Friday the 13th. We hardly could believe it when our preferred venue had not yet been booked for a Friday the 13th wedding. What good luck! The outlook for 2013 is even better. Our oldest just turned 13, and will begin her foray into the teenage years during the lucky year 2013. What parent would not see the good fortune in this coincidence?
Generally, the ringing in of a new year gives us time to consider, and improve on, the year gone-by. For 2013 I have been thinking about fickle fear, and believe this year gives us a unique opportunity to tackle it. It's all in the angle to you take.
After all, 13 gives us the baker's dozen, something extra thrown in, just for good measure. For all the mathematicians that feel sorry for 13 (having to follow the number 12 and all) remember it's 13 that is included in the Fibonacci sequence, while poor number 12 is auspiciously missing. Many in the Christian faith count the 13 that attended the last supper as lucky dinner guests. It was the time in history where Jesus' pals learned his departure from this world would be the start of something big, that's been around now for 2013 years or so.
As our kids enter their teenage years, it's my hope they continue to cultivate rationale risk-taking, overcoming the fears that accompany leaving the security of childhood behind. This is true even though I recognize their cerebral cortex has not yet fully developed, a point our 13 year old often latches upon when I inquire, in my best mom tone, "what were you thinking?"
I hope too that lucky 2013 will help me shed some of the fears, both rational and irrational, that often guide my actions. Instead, to recognize that dwelling on what we're afraid of is far less effective than looking it square in the eye - and spitting (metaphorically speaking of course). To know that fear is the catalyst for courage to take on the things that scare us most, whether it's the teenage years or the next Friday the 13th. So welcome 2013 - bring it on. We're looking forward to all the lucky moments you have in store.
"We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face ... we must do that which we think we cannot." Eleanor Roosevelt.
Cindy Bargell lives outside of Silverthorne with her husband and two daughters. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.