Monthly Archives: December 2013

I Dare Me – My Way

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This year has been… unexpected. All my big plans crashed with me off a ladder back in May, and while I am up and moving, those plans still lie in the good fertile ground by a fallen tree back in Ohio. But if I am honest, I must admit that derailment of big and glorious plans has been daily business for me for most of my adult life. In spite of my crazy creative self, I seem stuck – and have been – for decades.

Enter the book I Dare Me, by Lu Ann Cahn. At about the same age I am now, she was feeling the same way I am. She had a job she loved, a great marriage and a good relationship with her grown daughter (three things I haven’t got!). But she still felt stuck. She didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. Life seemed to have no joy for her. Oh, yeah, I can relate! But then her daughter issued her an interesting challenge: do one new thing every day – for a year!

This is a great book, interesting and inspirational. And like No Plot? No Problem, by Chris Baty, it has inspired me to act. (Reading No Plot? No Problem led to my writing and publishing Left Turn at Cloud 9 last year.) My action? I am committed to doing one new thing every day of 2014.


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I may even try a chocolate covered grasshopper (my mom ate them as a kid in China, and she survived!).
My first New Thing, on January first, will be walking across the Golden Gate Bridge. And after that? Who knows? I’ve got all those books gathering dust on the shelves about road trips and great places in the wine country, easy bike trips, explorations in the East Bay, little known walks in San Francisco. I’ve always wanted to try Jambalaya, make Gumbo, maybe I’ll even try Tamales (I know someone with a good recipe. . .). I could fly a kite, join a drum circle, visit a “clothes optional” public bath, dye my hair blue. I might learn a magic trick, play golf, play frisbee golf. Maybe I’ll attempt to go a whole day without interrupting anyone! The possibilities are endless!
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I’ve been working on my list for several weeks now, as I’ve been reading the book. And I’ve been happy to learn about myself that I’m already pretty good at trying new things. Why, just this year I had major surgery for the first time, learned to walk on crutches, figured out the delicate points of getting around in a brace. I started a blog, and took videos with my fancy new phone. So I am an old hand at trying new things. And lots of Lu Ann’s firsts are old business for me, like tree climbing: I never grew out of that one. And hula hooping. But I’ve never taken a yoga class, and after a little more time, maybe my leg will be up to a belly dancing class. 

I’m going to be generous with myself; if I haven’t done it in 10 years or more, I’m calling it a New Thing. And there will be days when it might just be a drive around a new neighborhood. That’s okay, too. The point is to get off my rut and put on a beginner’s mind and shake up my tired old habits. The point is to open my eyes and remember that life is full of adventure and mystery, and I can live it every day. I just have to choose it.