Walking It

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Walking It

My friend, Pam, who is a writer, pianist, teacher, jeweler, and overall extraordinary woman among many other things, started a blog after her last birthday. It’s called Between Birthdays. Her goal: try something new everyday for an entire year and blog about it. From new experiences to new products to new recipes, she’s done a lot of neat and nifty things.

Joel Runyon, who luckily realized in his 20s that he wanted to have an amazing life, made a list of things he thought he were impossible for him to do, and immediately set out to do those things. In the past couple of years, he’s completed a triathlon, skydived, and done 100 pushups in a row among other things.

I was immediately intrigued with Pam’s idea of trying something new everyday, and I love seeing what Joel and his dogged focus will tackle next. I’ve followed both of their journeys and have in turn been amazed, impressed, and generally excited for the adventures that are their lives.

You see I got married at 23. I had my first child at 25. Somewhere between the diapers and the mortgage, I forgot about the girl I am. The girl who likes to go and learn and explore. The girl who is delighted and intrigued. As a mom, I wanted to wrap my babies up and keep them safe and sound. In the process, I wrapped myself up too.

Please let me be clear, I love my husband and children and wouldn’t trade them for the world. The question I asked myself was this: do I serve them best by giving them the example of someone who is afraid of EVERYTHING or do I give them a mom who is excited about life, intrigued with the world, and in love with being?

I come from a long line of scaredy cats. My grandmother, who never ceased to amaze and delight me, never left the town in which she was raised. She lived the largest portion of her life in the same house. She created a wonderful life for herself and her family. She was also afraid of her own shadow. She had dreams and beauty and talent. I know she also had regret. I always got the feeling from her that she knew there was something more for her to do. She never did it. She never stepped out. She didn’t take the risk. And for all she gave us, I have to wonder at what we missed.

Circumstances forced me out. Surviving them made me realize that I’m more resilient and less fragile than I give myself credit for being. Then inspiration started raining down on me. Chance encounters, books and articles, emails from people I hadn’t spoken to in years, and new connections on the interweb pushed and prodded me forward and opened me up to ideas long left dormant. I began unwrapping myself; venturing further from the nest.

Yes, it is scary, but I have made a decision. I’d rather go down in a fiery flame then safely wrapped up in the cocoon I created for myself. I’d rather go big than sit at home. So, I’ve decided that for the next year I’m going to do one thing a week that pushes me out of my comfort zone. You may not think my choices are adventurous or scary but I promise whatever I choose will make my knees knock a bit. So, far I shot a gun and ran (yes, I ran) a half marathon and later today I may take myself to the Korean spa that I’ve been trying to get the nerve to set foot in for the past two years, and let them work my sore muscles over. But more about that later.

Mostly, I think about the lives I hope my kids will have. I want them to reach high and step out and be brave and love with their whole hearts. When they fall, I want them to know they can wallow a bit and let it go and move on and be amazing again. I want them to go big and be happy. Mostly, I want them to see the pearls in this oyster of a world we’ve been given and I want them to revel in every minute they are graced to be on Earth. Kids don’t learn from what we parents say they learn from what we do. The lesson, the example starts at home with me. I can’t talk it if I’m not going to walk it. Here’s to walking it.

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  1. Sounds like a plan, Denise. I will look forward to hearing about your many adventures.

    • And you just keep raising the bar and keep inspiring.

    • You can certainly see your expertise in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

  2. Isn’t it funny about stepping out and doing things out of our comfort zone? I struggle with much the same thing. My parents were not adventurous at all. Playing it safe, 60s-70s style. My mom would rarely venture off the path of normal at restaurants, always ordering the safe thing, something that she knew what to expect.
    Culinarily, I’m much more daring, and enjoy making new things as well as ordering unusual things. It’s just a meal, afterall, not a marriage!
    But physically, I’m much more safe. Having grown up with physical limitations {two body casts, for starters} I had to err on the side of caution, and I’ve never quite let go of that.
    Best wishes as you venture out. It’ll be fun to live vicariously through your adventures.

  3. That’s wonderful Denise and so inspiring. I can’t wait to read about what you do!!! Good luck and keep up the bravery!

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