Put on the Skates & Brave It

I haven’t written on my site in months and while I’d like to say it’s because I’ve been doing mind-blowing things, admittedly, it’s not the case. One day crept into the next, and it just felt easier to skip it. After enough weeks passed, it actually felt a little scary to write again. It takes time and effort and felt like an “extra” when, in reality, writing is essential to my life. This website was meant to be an impetus to spend more time on writing and other creative endeavors.

As we drift into 2023, I’m going to hold myself accountable to prioritizing my interests and goals. I know it will be more rewarding than the humdrum, but it will mean I have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Other than perhaps a model being discovered by an agent at the grocery store, most successful people had to pursue their dreams and the change they wanted to manifest with vigor and persistence. They had to muddle through self-doubt and insecurity, forge through setbacks and the worry of failure. They had to push past the discomfort, and I’m determined to do the same.

It “started” today, as it’s the first mild day since our arctic chill over the holidays. I drove over to Tenney Park and laced up my ice skates that I barely broke in with my two brief skating attempts last winter. Aside from coffeeshops and bookstores, I rarely venture places alone, but I went solo because it was the only way to make it happen. I was afraid to get out on the lumpy and snow-patched frozen lagoon–no Zamboni out smoothing things (yet?). But I did it, one foot and then the other. It was like starting over from scratch, fear overriding any remnants of muscle memory. I fell twice, nearly fell a few more times, but I had a few thrilling stretches of actual skating. I know next time will be better and the time after that better still.

While it’s supremely challenging learning skills as an adult we wish we would’ve learned as children, if we want to learn enough, we can keep trying despite the fear of failing and difficulty in functioning in the discomfort. I want to relearn rollerskating and ice skating, so I’ll keep lacing up. I want to learn to downhill and cross-country ski, so I’ll have to get comfortable with my worry of falling. I want to be financially stable, so I’ll have to get comfortable doing something other than shopping online when my restlessness strikes. I want to publish a book, so I’ll have to get comfortable writing and waiting for rejection rather than vegging with a show. I want to get in great shape, so I’ll have to get comfortable with choosing salads and hoofing it on the treadmill. I want to connect with people and effect change in the world, so I better get comfortable with tough conversations, the fear of rejection, and putting myself in positions of vulnerability. I will learn to be comfortable with discomfort.

I’m not waiting for 40 or a mid-life crisis to stake claim over my days. My time is now, which is all I have–which is all any of us have. To aid myself in moving in the direction of my ideal self and life (grateful but never complacent), I’ve set myself twelve intentions for the year. These intentions will guide my development, learning, and growth.

As January 2023 rolls in in, I’ll be in my birthday month, celebrating myself with pursuits of joy and self-care. February will be for “romancing the ordinary” as Sarah Ban Breathnach brilliantly coined, as well as showing love to others. I will focus on my goals and actions in march and physical wellness in April. May will be all about calm, meditation, and mindfulness. June will home in on leadership, July on creativity, and August on cultivating a connection to nature. When September beckons people back to school, I’ll focus on my own learning and then use October for reflections and owning my past. November will be about gratitude and savoring simple pleasures, and then I’ll end the year with a December of kindness and generosity of spirit.

There, I’ve broadcast it. I must hold myself to carrying out this quietly courageous mission. Even if it’s terrifying, confusing, or unsettling, I have to go for it anyway. The easier path doesn’t yield the impactful results I crave. No one else can do it for me. I have to put on the skates and brave it.

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