Something Scary

I’ve recently finished My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock.

Heard of it? In short: Inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous quote, “Do something everyday that scares you,” Noelle Hancock set out to live the last year of her twenties facing her fears every day.

Sound familiar? Like a 30 Before 30 list…perhaps?

First, I loved this book and I highly recommend it.

Second, with every page I devoured I thought, “This is the book I was meant to write.” Since my 30 Before 30 list, I’ve wanted to write about that year and the adventures I went on. Not all of my list items were fears, but you can definitely see a similar theme. No?

The thing about my urge to retell my 30 items in book form is that I’ve always felt that I should write a fictional tale. I mean, my actual adventures weren’t interesting enough to keep a reader eagerly turning the pages….were they?

She definitely did more interesting activities than I – instead of deep sea fishing, she went diving with sharks. Instead of running a marathon, she hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro. Instead of joining a volunteer association, she volunteered on the cancer floor of a hospital. She actually sang karaoke solo….. I still have yet to accomplish that item.

Okay, thanks. I’ll take second place.

But wait. Here’s the thing – my biggest takeaway from her story is that she was honest about who she was. And she spent a whole year learning about and accepting herself (did you notice the bold italics….. ).

Hmmm…. Surely a story about belting out an off-key version of We Built This City in front of a rowdy crowd of bar patrons would be more exciting than the fact that I never actually sang karaoke (Item #7). Right?

After reading Hancock’s book, I’m starting to wonder if telling the tale of what actually happened might be just as good.

On the eve of my 30th birthday, mere hours before the clock struck midnight and my twenties became part of my past, my list became the topic of dinner conversation among colleagues. After hearing about taking a self-defense class, planting a tree, going vegan, and which of the three Godfather’s I liked best, my boss asked, “Is there anything you haven’t done?” My answer: solo karaoke.

Thus began a pilgrimage to all the area bars we knew of in search of a karaoke machine. Promising that he (and the entire table of coworkers) would join in the fun, my boss charged into multiple watering holes, yelled, “You got karaoke?” and quickly left when we heard no.

You can imagine my relief disappointment when we finally found a bar that offered karaoke on a Wednesday night….only to discover their DJ was out-of-town that week. Whew.

Defeated, we hunkered down at table and talked about the songs we would have sung. We laughed at each other’s choices and toasted to my 30th year.

Okay, maybe that story isn’t as good as actually singing Starship (and possibly performing a dance I’d choreographed to accompany it) but it’s real. It’s life. It was a fun, silly night and a great way to end the year of my list.

Reading My Year with Eleanor not only fueled me with inspiration to write my own story, but it got me thinking about accepting me for me. Accepting ourselves for who we really are can sometimes seem scary but as Eleanor wisely said, “Do something every day that scares you.” What better place to start that with yourself?

So, tell me, what have you accepted about yourself? Have you faced any fears lately?

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2 thoughts on “Something Scary

  1. Great article! You gotta sing karaoke… It’s not so bad. I sang and did the dance moves I practiced( Johnny Cash ring of fire) and then the bar broke out into a beer fight. Big fear. Bigger better memory/ story. The feeling you get from doing something you thought you could never do…..unmatchable.

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