January is “Explore” Month!

Skiing at Merrits
This is not the kind of skiing I'll be trying out. (Image via Wikipedia)

If I’m an Eeyore when it comes to fun, I’m something of a Piglet when it comes to trying new things. While it really is hard to be brave when you’re such a very small creature (I’m 5’2″ tall), I recognize that a lot of my fears are rather overblown. It’s about time that I try to face some of them.

In some people’s estimation, I’m fairly brave. I don’t hesitate to pull up stakes and relocate every few years. I’ll give birth at home any day of the week. But these things aren’t scary to me, so they don’t really require bravery. Some things that require bravery for me:

  • asking an employee at a store where the bathroom is
  • walking into a hospital (even if I’m not the patient)
  • sending food back in a restaurant
  • driving in the mountains in the wintertime
  • flying on planes
  • attending baby showers
  • planning my children’s birthday parties
  • dancing in front of other people
  • speaking in front of groups
  • visiting new religious congregations

See what I mean? A total Piglet.

So “Explore” month isn’t going to involve skydiving or ski jumps or eating undercooked eggs (at least I don’t think it will). But it will involve me pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone just a tad so I can see if I can expand the limits of what I find fun and what brings me joy.

With that in mind, here’s the plan:

January 2011 – Explore
Focus: Go out on a bit of a limb and try some things I haven’t done before.

-Go cross-country skiing. I’ve never been skiing, but I’m terrified of it. My friend shared a quote by Erma Bombeck with me the other day that captures my sentiments fairly well: “I do not participate in any sport with ambulances at the bottom of the hill.” I found another quote that fits well, too:

There are really only three things to learn in skiing:  how to put on your skis, how to slide downhill, and how to walk along the hospital corridor.  ~Lord Mancroft, A Chinaman in my Bath, 1974

So although I’m going to face my fear of skiing, it will not involve any downhill skiing. I’ve got it all planned out. A friend is going to drive me out to Mountain Dell next Saturday after my son’s Music Together class (because I’m afraid of even driving to skiing). There are free lessons that day and a chance to try out new gear. We’re going to get there late and the lessons are first-come, first-served, so it’s possible I’ll not get to try out skis that day. There are also snowshoe lessons that involve a guided nature walk. I’ve never been snowshoeing, either, so if that’s all that’s left, I’ll still be able to try something new. My friend says snowshoeing is lame, but I think lame might be just about my speed.

Go dancing. In public. There’s a Sacred Dance Fusion class on Tuesday nights at Avenues Yoga here in town. I think I’ll try that out. There’s also contra dancing on the 22nd in town here. I’ve been contra dancing once. I did my best to avoid actually dancing. If I went this time, I would challenge myself to dance. There’s a beginner session at 7:30 and then the dance proper from 8-11. Maybe that first half-hour would be enough to build my confidence. I have friends who absolutely love contra dancing (not in Utah. These are friends in North Carolina, where I tried contra dancing before), so I figure I might give it a try.

Try a martial art. This one involves a fear similar to the one I have around dancing in public. I’m just looking for something to help me feel more at home in my body, and I want to try out a couple of different things to try to meet this goal. I think I’m going to sign up for either Tae Kwon Do or Aikido. I’m leaning towards Aikido because it seems more meditative and less combative. The only thing still drawing me to Tae Kwon Do over Aikido is that I had a friend in high school who was, like, some state champion at Tae Kwon Do or something, and she had the most amazing thighs. Although we were 17 years old at the time, and I’m fairly certain that 17 years and two children have pretty much eliminated all possibility of me ever having thighs like hers were then.

This is going to be a rather more active month, compared to the more cerebral months I’ve had so far. Which is all part of the “Explore” piece, since I’m way more comfy in my brain than I am in my body.

I’m cautiously optimistic about this month. I think it’s a little too scary for me to be very excited about it, but cautious optimism isn’t too bad. And it’s more positive than the mood with which I usually approach a new year, which I think is better described as cautious pessimism.

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