Everything I’ve ever done that ultimately was worthwhile … initially scared me to death.  – Betty Bender

I don’t make resolutions and never have. The beginning of a new year so close to my birthday is probably just frosting on the cake, as it were. New beginnings can’t happen only at this time of the year or I have too long to wait before I can take another leap.

Instead, I just make goals and work towards them whenever the chance comes my way.

Some things are dictated by the world at large. I couldn’t wait to start school so I could learn to read like my big sister. I had to wait for September for that to happen despite my wishes. And then they didn’t want to teach me to read. The indignity was too much. My mother bribed me to go to school. If I would go, she would teach me to read in the afternoon. Deal.

Thus began my love affair with words. I have loved fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays, letters, and anything up to and including the back of cereal boxes. If there are words in front of me, I’m reading them.

I wasn’t scared when I was five. I didn’t know enough. So I might have to disagree with Betty.

But I got older. And the new things I wanted to try did scare me. I wanted to ride a bike and that meant taking off the training wheels. I’m sure I fell over. What kid doesn’t? But I don’t remember the falls. I only know that I can hop on a bike today and ride with the wind in my hair and the sun shining on my face. It is something my mother couldn’t ever do. I’m glad I learned it when it was still safe to fall.

The first time I showed some stranger my writing was very difficult. There could be unfavorable critique and then what would happen to my words. Well, the only way to find out was to show people my writing. Nothing bad happened. I wrote for an ezine and people read and responded to my words. It was safe to do this. I wasn’t the only person to read my words. I lived!

I got braver and braver by taking incremental baby steps. Between my two main blogs, I’ve had over 400,000 hits and written over 2,000 posts. I’ve had writing published in other spaces and places as well. It was getting easy to write. Perhaps I should do something different.

I wasn’t ever the first picked in gym class for anything. I could hold my own reasonably well during a game of kickball, but don’t hand me a bat or expect me to hit a basket. As an adult, I found racquetball and became pretty good at the sport. I was able to win lots of my games although I can’t really guarantee it was most of them. It was if I was playing other women, but I played with the big boys, too.

But then I got older and then I got feeble.

The scariest thing I have ever done was take control of an out of control life and walk into a CrossFit box. I was fat, or at least as fat as I had ever been. I weighed more than I had when I was nine months pregnant. I could walk around the block without passing out, but that was the extent of my expertise. My joints were rusty, my stamina was nonexistent, my flexibility wasn’t as bad as might be expected, but I had no idea what I was doing.

One year later, knowing some of what I was doing, I took another leap. I entered, for no good reason other than frank stupidity, the Whole Life Challenge. In eight weeks I did what I had been unable to do in the previous year. I reached my goal weight and then a smidgeon more. I learned about healthy eating. Even though I had been a nurse for over 20 years, there was much to learn about today’s food supply. I learned about caring for my body even when I’m not at the gym, maybe especially when I’m not at the gym. It was not a pleasant experience, especially as I was first starting. However, by the end of the eight weeks, I was a new me.

So here I sit, writing about diet and exercise. Making a new beginning to a new year. I have no resolutions. I do have a goal. I plan to venture outside my comfort zone as often as I dare. That’s where all the magic happens. Surely, something good will come of this.

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