Woman-Up! — Facing Your Fears

Okay, so I admit that I slept with a toy gun under my pillow when I was a young child.  It made me feel better to know I had protection from potential burglars.  After all, I lived in a ground floor apt in New York City on the UWS (upper west side) where anything was possible! My father was often called upon to check under the bed for anything lurking, with plans to come out once the lights were turned off. Ben was good-natured about this and always there to be my protector from the boogey man, I could breathe a sigh of relief knowing a thorough check had been made.

My fears were many and included some very serious and mature musings, such as “Does life go on after I die?” (I wrestled with this one for a long time!) and what was that sound coming out of the radiator in my bedroom? Though my protector, Ben was also an overly anxious father, who hovered over me and watched my every move — which made me a Nervous Nellie.

So it is no wonder, with this back drop, that I would be the one on the ground watching in an amusement park or, worse yet, the big kid on the turtle roller coaster ride!

Nevertheless, on vacation this past week on the beautiful Oregon coast, I decided to face my fears and try sand dune buggy riding.  This is a popular sport in one of the many beach towns on the coast where sand instead of dirt fills the preserved parkland.  These dunes look like they could be on Cape Cod and are not found in any other part of Oregon, so I had to go with the flow.

With goggles, a scarf around my face to prevent sand from going in my mouth and an anticipated speed of 60-65 miles per hour, I was mentally psyched to conquer my queasy stomach and risk averse persona. If former President Bush senior could sky dive at 90,  a little sand in my face was a day at the beach!

The buggy climbs these giant hills and wait, there’s a huge drop down to the other side, which I could prepare for by swallowing hard and concentrating on getting  through it.

It was a half hour in length, so even if I was uncomfortable, it would be over before I knew it.

It was only a couple of weeks earlier that I asked (yes, asked!) to ride on the back of my neighbor’s Harley to celebrate a very big milestone birthday.  If not now, when?

Bottom line, I faced my fears and lived to tell the tale.  I’m certainly not a thrill seeker or an adventurer, but sometimes, you just have to woman up!

I’m taking a whole new approach, within reason of course.  Visualize what it might feel like, understand the risks, real or mostly imagined, and then make a new memory! It was actually quite fun to experience a sand dune buggy ride with friends and it’s a memory that goes into the scrap book of life.

Today’s Takeaway;

-Grab hold of your fears before they take over your life.

-Differentiate what’s real from what you’ve built up in your mind.

As always, enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay & Joy

Failing Better: Learning and Growing

Back in my 20s I held 7 different jobs in 11 years.  That meant 7 “first days” — finding the coffee machine,  meeting colleagues, imprinting names while shaking hands, signing forms, training, ever smiling, trying not to walk into a wall or closet.

One first day stands out.  I had to enter the trading room of Dean Witter, not only late, but also  wearing a large white bandage on my chin, having tripped while jogging along Chicago’s lakefront at 5AM that morning, certain that I was outrunning a mad rapist, which was actually a puzzled squirrel — it was a bloody affair necessitating a trip to the ER to get stitches.

Then there was a new job where I apparently slipped through the cracks of Human Resources.  I had been hired by a regional manager in Chicago and I thought it would be important to visit the NY office to meet the traders.  After my visit, I returned to Chicago where the manager who had hired me was no longer an employee.  And when I called the NY office to chat with my new trader-friends, those whose hands I had just shook were gone as well.  It gradually dawned on me that they had forgotten to fire me.  Paycheck or not, it was time to quit.

I hated first days and new jobs.

But I also knew that if I didn’t take risks, face challenges, I’d never find fulfilling work.  I would remain in my first role — not even a secretary, a secretary to a secretary.  (I took a mean short-hand, by the way – a skill set I am quite proud of!)

There is such a thing as good stress in which you stretch yourself.  You put on a brave face and take on uncomfortable challenges where you can learn and grow — even if you wind up being forgotten, fired, or embarrassed.

Failures are harsh but instructive.

The Swiss tennis player, Stan Wawrinka, has a tattoo on his left forearm that inspires him to take risks and learn from  life’s  failures.  It’s  a Samuel Beckett quote  that reads –

 

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No Matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

 

 

 

 

That saying, Fail Better, speaks volumes.  It reminds us retired folks that life still entails learning and growing. IF – and it’s a big IF – we take risks.

Volunteering.  Socializing. Reading. Calling friends and family. Writing notes.  Trying recipes.  Taking classes.  Traveling.   Even finding new work at Jewel, Starbucks, the Library (surely, SOMEone wants us?!).

 

So when failure slaps you in the face, remember Stan Wawrinka, and say, No Matter!  Fail again!  Fail Better!

 

You don’t have to get a tattoo, however…

 

Today’s Takeaway –

-Stress can indeed be good, if it propels you to take a risk.

-Hey, maybe a tattoo is in your future… no judgement here!!

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy