First of all, let me say this post was inspired by one written by a gutsy friend and fellow blogger, Sherry Aikens, and her post titled Facing Fears Being Vulnerable on Superexhausted. Sherry writes about all the things she's done in her life that have left her open to being hurt or taking risks. Wow! She is one gutsy lady.
Each year I try to make a New Year's resolution and every year I forget all about them within a few weeks. Someone suggested making a bucket list. Bucket list--oh no! not me! Yes, I admit, I don't have a bucket list. (I know, I am the only one right?) But life is too busy to write bucket lists! Better I just get up and do it! I've always love the sneaker company slogan "Just Do It!" because it is so... me. (more like if I took the time to write it down I'd chicken out, so I need to Just Do It! and the sooner the better!)
So I want to ask you, what have you done that involved taking a risk, trying something new, something out of your comfort zone? What do you have on your 'bucket list' of things to do that terrifies you the most?
At 50 I was laid off from a job doing medical research that I'd had for almost 20 years. As I looked for a new job I kept coming back to a job listing that had intrigued me--working for reality TV. I know, leap off the cliff right? Well at least if I failed I wouldn't smash into pieces at the bottom of the cliff! Nothing like going from something I know to something I know nothing about--but that's typical, sometimes making decisions that lack 'smarts' all because I want to try something new.
Amazingly enough it was a great job! At least while it lasted. Like many jobs my job was absorbed into someone else's job description, alas, because I really enjoyed it. Ah well, time to hunt for a new job again! At 55 I was once again looking for a job but didn't want to go back to Center City to the big research hospitals, so I snagged a job doing medical editing--a bit of everything I'd ever done. Once again, it lasted, until it didn't. So now, I blog. A lot. And I work with helping people with intellectual disabilities live independently. I zig, I zag, and yes, I guess you could say I do JUST DO IT!
A lot of my scary stuff is nothing to a lot of people. It's their everyday life, but for me, not so much. One thing that I was afraid to do... chemistry class. In high school I absolutely could not master balancing equations. Yet when I had to do it again in college a few years ago, it was a piece of cake. Why couldn't I do it before? Fear. Fear of failure was holding me back. When I couldn't master it the first few times I tried it, I let fear paralyze me. (See, as I said, not your usual 'bucket list.')
What else used to make me crazy? Driving in Philadelphia. Again, college forced me into facing that fear (I learned a lot of things in college that had nothing to do with getting a degree.) I was terrified of driving from my home in the suburbs through west Philadelphia and into Center City. Buses, people swerving in and out, bikes...all of it make me nuts, but nothing so much as those narrow lanes! Now I wonder why it ever bothered me. Again, nothing you would put on a bucket list, like skydiving, ballooning, bungee jumping, sailing around the world--but everyday scary stuff for me.
I'm old enough that I remember when I didn't know how to use a computer. (OK OK, stop holding your sides laughing at what a dinosaur I am!) But I was terrified of it. The darn thing jammed up everytime I tried to use it. Finally after hours of driving my coworkers crazy (thank you Chris, Rob) I figured it out. Ah! Finally! I refuse to become intimidated by a machine ever again!
What else is on my list of terrifying things? Navigating the subway systems, whether in NYC or Philadelphia, subways scare the beejesus out of me! I think it has to be with being enclosed underground (I will not be a happy corpse!) I had the same problem with scuba diving--as a child my dad took my brothers and my sister and I diving--I was sure I was going to be pressed into the sand at the bottom of the ocean! Of course obviously it didn't happen. You'd think that would have cured me of the fear--'fraid not...you still won't find me scuba diving though. But I may ease into the subway next year--stay tuned!
Yes, you won't find me making a bucket list, it would scare me to death. I think I'll go ahead and JUST DO IT! Before I chicken out--AGAIN! So I guess you could say 'just doing it' is my New Year's resolution for 2013.