I am, admittedly and fairly confidently, a creature of habit. In my opinion, this is generally pretty awesome. I have my morning cup of coffee down to a science. Watching television reruns provides immense comfort. My wardrobe is consistently colored with blacks and burgundy and I wear my favorite shoes (brown Docs) every day. I like being home for the night at 7PM. I might not yet be partaking in all of Buzzfeed’s “19 Signs You’re a Homebody” but I’m rapidly getting there.
While I love my ladybug slippers, huge sweaters, and daily routine, being a homebody and a creature of habit is a little inconvenient when you agree to start a blog about going out and tackling your fears. Agree? I can hear Allie reminding me that this theme was actually MY idea.
Well after 4 years of happily humming along with my routine life in the Blue Ridge, I began to realize how much was happening around me and that I might be missing out on some really fantastic experiences. Most of my friends have begun adventures in grand new places, embarking on impressive career paths or undertaking ambitious graduate coursework. I am one of the few who didn’t leave my college town post-graduation and while I am perfectly content staying put, that’s precisely what started to gnaw at me – I’m just perfectly content.
Eleanor Roosevelt was already on my mind when I headed over to a work meeting at the start of the semester. Now, fitness professionals don’t have conventional staff meetings. After reviewing the fall schedule while sitting on gym balls, we all slipped out of our sneakers and in to sporty bathing suits to hit the pool. Some gabbed in the hot tub while others opted to play water polo. I decidedly took to the high dive with several other coworkers. Our supervisor had specified on the way to the water that the diving board had only one way down. I laughed and confidently mounted the ladder up to the deck.
And then I looked over the edge.
Never in my life have I felt so literally petrified. Those around me took a sharp breath in and then one by one dropped off the tip of the board. Some simply walked off. Others bounced off and shouted with delight. I stood, feeling my feet firmly attach themselves to the platform, as ten other personal trainers took the jump. My supervisor and a handful of others began to cheer from the pool deck, urging me to just jump. I joked and laughed and took to tree pose, desperately hoping that I could find solace in my favorite yoga pose that would give me the confidence to jump.
It didn’t work. I didn’t jump. I took a deep breath and realized that I didn’t have the confidence to free fall ten feet into cold water. I did, however, have the confidence to own and accept my fears and to walk down the ladder with just as much self-assurance as I had when I climbed up. In that moment, I feared judgment. And in that moment, I faced it.
As Allie and I will continue to learn and explore, there are many different kinds of fear. My laughable fear of fern spores pales in comparison to my legitimate hatred of roller coasters. When Eleanor suggested “do one thing every day that scares you,” what kind of fear did she mean? My interpretation is a recommendation to step outside the box each day, to try something new, to learn your limits.
By challenging myself to creep out of my comfort zone each day, I’m not only getting to know my town better but getting to know more about myself. I am finding out things about myself that I never knew were there, both positive and negative.
In the coming months, I intend to try new things. And I plan to try many of them alone, perhaps conquering two fears at once. I may not be skydiving or swimming with sharks (or swimming at all – did I mention I’m scared of water?), but I will be learning my limits and nudging them to make my comfort zone a little bit bigger.
So with that, here’s to fear.