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I have wrestled with what to write for a year-end or new year blog. Never really understood the big deal about New Year’s Eve anyway. Each moment is an opportunity to evaluate where were are, what we’re doing and make choices, different choices. “If you want something different than you’ve had before you have to do something different than you’ve done before.” What wonderful freedom in knowing I don’t have to wait until a certain date on a calendar or time on a clock to make a fresh start! There are opportunities everywhere.

One of those opportunities to change comes when we are faced with something we fear. It may be the fear of flying, fear of rejection or fear of having to meet new people. Many of our fears we keep hidden because of fear of what other people will think. Some of our fears may even seem silly when we voice them aloud. For most of my life, I’ve been the shy one. I can be in a room full of people and leave without meeting anyone new, especially if the introduction depends on me. Just never really sure what to say. I’m changing though. Slowly maybe, but change nonetheless. Went to two conferences this past year where I didn’t know anyone. At the first one I found the courage to speak to someone who may be able to help with a writing project. Struck up a conversation at the second one that is developing into a nice friendship.

Today, I faced another fear that comes from my childhood clumsiness. There are things I’m afraid to try because I don’t want to get hurt. I would’ve missed an hour or so of smiles and laughter with my two “nieces”, Cassie & Grace. They call me Aunt even though we are not related. They invited me to join them on the trampoline. Almost 60 degrees and sunny in the Northeast US on January 1st, we were outside and we had a blast!! Okay, so we probably violated all the safety rules for the trampoline. We played tag. Played a game about “dead man come and get me” where one person lays down in the middle and closes their eyes (they’re dead). “1 2 3 – dead man come and get me”. The dead person then rolls back and forth trying to tag one of the other players. Giggles and squeals of laughter. We then made up a new game called “Last Girl Standing”. It was just bouncing around and trying to make the other people fall without physical contact. I won the first round!

So the next time one of those fears raises its ugly head, ask yourself whether it’s a valid fear or whether it’s time to step out, face the fear and discover something new. When you do step out, the least you’ll gain is knowing that you faced the fear and you survived.

Now there’s something to smile about!