Do the thing that scares you!

BY YVONNE THAXTON

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Editor’s note:The following is a note from friend and former neighbor Yvonne who left me to move to the University of Arkansas when she SHOULD have been retiring and having “play dates” with me.

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She wrote: “Everyday do one thing that scares you.”  Eleanor Roosevelt said that at some point in her life.  I have no idea why or under what circumstances, but I thought it a great challenge, so I spent two dollars to buy the magnet bearing that quote.  It resides now resides on my microwave.

When I decided to buy the thing, I was thinking about a friend in Jackson, Mississippi who jumped out of an airplane to celebrate her 80th birthday.  She said it made her feel alive again.

I decided that she felt “alive” because she had just closely escaped a tragic and ugly death.  However as time has moved on, I’ve decided that Mrs. Roosevelt and Louise had the right idea.  If we do something, even a little something, that scares us, it is likely to change the way we live.

I left retirement and all of my friends and connections of the last 56 years to move away and begin a new career.  I did it for a lot of reasons. It was a bit frightening to move to an area where I knew virtually no one and begin a new position, but I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life wondering “what if” so I took the plunge.  And that is why I bought the magnet.

Here I have no history, so I can reinvent myself.  I’m becoming brave.  Besides, I figure that if I get hurt and have to have a part replaced, I will be in rehab with potential new friends of the same generation.  I can go out without all of my makeup – a previously terrifying thought!  I’ve joined a wine tasting club, a dinner club and even a hiking club.  Most of the members are in their 3rd decade of life.  There are a very few in my decade.

Hanging out with “30 somethings” keeps me up to date on the latest crazes and the best movies.  They think I’m funny which is okay with me.  I used to be afraid of looking silly or losing my dignity.  These “kids” have taught me that just about anything that makes us laugh is good.

Overcoming little “fears” has made me ready to face some bigger ones.  I have a hot air balloon ride planned for May.  And I asked a man out for coffee… that terrified me!  He liked it as he’s of the same generation and apparently asking for dates scares men too.

Life is good and many fewer things scare me.  I wonder what is in store for the next decade?  After all, growing old is just a state of mind!

I needed that Yvonne. I’m afraid of many things – driving across bridges, what or who might be living in my attic.  And my biggest fear – bananas.     

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