{April 10, 2012}   47 and fearless? Not so much.

I’m not writing this blog because I think my life is more interesting than anyone’s. I’m writing it because I think my life is less interesting than everyone’s…and I want to change that.

I turned 47 last week. On my birthday, I did something I do more often than I care to admit. I tried to get out of an activity I’d promised to do. It wasn’t anything big. Several days earlier, I had agreed to walk with my friend Jen. (If you know me well, you know I don’t like to exercise. I don’t go to the gym. I don’t play sports. I can’t remember the last time I ran any distance. It’s just not me.) But I figured it was just a walk, and it would be good for me.

When it came time for the walk, Jen texted me: “We walking today?” My response was something like, “Sure, unless you don’t want to. Then I’m fine not walking.” In other words, I like the “idea” of walking, but I’m pretty comfortable right now and don’t want to make an effort.  She didn’t let me get out of the walk. We walked more than 3 miles (uphill both ways, I swear). Jen and I share a similar sense of humor, so we had a lot of fun talking while we walked (though we agreed—only because it was my birthday—that I am marginally funnier than she is.) And my muscles, unused to any type of exertion, were sore the next day (or two or three). But I’m glad she didn’t let me get out of the walk. It was good for me.

When I came home, I realized that my “I’m OK if we don’t go” response had become a habit. I’d agree to something, but when it came time to actually do it, I’d try to opt out. I was too comfortable.

Comfortable sounds great, like fuzzy slippers: cozy and warm and relaxing. And frankly, comfortable is great! I’m fortunate to have a comfortable life. I’m grateful for good health, a warm home, a loving family, caring friends. But the more comfortable I became, the less I wanted to do. Did I want to meet a friend out for a drink after her late shift? “Sure, but I’m already in my jammies. Next week.” Did I want to try a new restaurant downtown? “Sure, but I’ll have to get a sitter…and directions… Well, maybe another time.” Being comfortable meant it was easier to stay home…it was easier to do nothing.

But my logical brain had questions:  If I’m reluctant to venture out and try new things at 47…what will I be like in 10 years? Will I be too comfortable to leave the house? Will I miss out on all types of experiences? And what kind of example am I setting for my boys, who are 4 and 7? Will they be afraid to try new things? If I want them to embrace life…if I want them to live it to the fullest…don’t I need to do the same?

So that day I decided I was going to push myself out of my comfort zone and try 47 new things before my next birthday. I will visit new places, sample new foods, try new experiences, learn new skills and have fun along the way.

The new things don’t have to be huge “bucket list” experiences.  Among the ideas suggested by my Facebook friends were:  take a hot air balloon ride (sounds fun), walk across hot coals (ouch!), ski the Birkebeiner (a 35-mile race on cross country skis? me?), visit Angkor Wat in Cambodia (the temples look amazing), hula dance (why not?), skydive (under consideration), surf or scuba dive (need to become a strong swimmer first), pole dance for my husband (scarier than sky-diving!) and blog about all my experiences.

So my first new thing, suggested by Lori, a former colleague, is this blog. For the record: I know about as much about blogging as I do about Angkor Wat. While that lack of knowledge might have deterred the 46-year-old me, the 47-year-old me is jumping in with both feet. At this point, I see this blog as a way to keep me honest. I’ve told you I’m going to do this, and if I don’t, you can give me hell. But if you’re entertained by my experiences and mishaps, that’s great. If you’re inspired by my successes (not likely), that’s even better! But if you inch outside your comfort zone, if even for a short time, that will make my day.Image


Lori says:

Awesome intro! Looking forward to reading more of your adventures, you fun, fearless female!

Thanks, Lori! I don’t know what I’m doing on here yet…but learning how to blog will be part of the fun!

aandrews15 says:

Love it! I’m inspired to make a list when my birthday rolls around this year. I will have to come up with a few more items than you though… 🙂

LOL, Alyssa. You can’t be much older than me! Maybe you’d have one or two more items. I hear 47 is the new 37. Of course, I only hear that when I say it out loud. 😉 But I think it will be fun to try new things. If you have any suggestions, let me know. Hmm…I’ve never tried a Fairytale brownie…

craig smith says:

do the pole dance like jamie lee curtis in true lies

Craig, I just watched the clip on YouTube. She looks awesome! And those heels! I was thinking I could never do that…until she fell. THAT I could do!

Mike B. says:

It’s interesting how everyone approaches life differently, isn’t it? In my world “too comfortable” is kind of an oxymoron. If anything, I’d like a little MORE comfort, not less, lol! I would also suspect you’re setting a much more active example for your boys than you realize and their impressions won’t be significantly impacted by mom going out for a drink with friends a little more frequently. (And wait, when they’re only a little older, they’ll find a time to turn things around – “But mom, you said it’s good to try new things! So why won’t you let me race motorcycles across the rim of the Grand Canyon with the guys??”)

But in all seriousness, good for you. Life’s meant to be enjoyed and if challenge and new experiences are what you like, why not go get ’em.

Thanks, Mike! And I do want the boys to eagerly try new things. And if they decide it’s racing motorcycles, I hope they will ask me to join them.
(As far as wanting “more” comfort, I may feel that way when I get to be your age, too…LOL.)

Melinda Gillespie says:

Congratulations Julie! Your sentiments ring so true for many of us, so perhaps your journey will help inspire others to remove themselves from their habits of complacency. I know that your thoughts above have got me thinking….

Thanks so much, Melinda! If you have ideas for new things that might require me to take a trip to Colorado, let me know! 🙂

Sam Perroni says:

This my first time at ever viewing a ” blog ” and I got to see Julie’s face for the first time- not to mention learning what not to do throwing pottery. This should be fun. sam

Well Sam, if my blog is the first you’ve ever viewed, then it’s safe to say that it’s the best you’ve ever read, right? LOL. Thank you for taking the time to read it. I hope it will be as fun to read as it will be to write!

Kelly says:

Do the polar plunge, NAKED, or with swim suits now days u might as well be lol!

That is a great idea, Kelly! Since I hate being cold and don’t like to be seen in a swimsuit, it would definitely take me out of my comfort zone! Sign me up! 🙂

tina says:

I agree with Mike B. that you are setting a more active example for the boys than you think, but I understand how you feel and can relate. I know I need to exercise to keep my hip and knees and mind feeling good, but I so easily come up with an excuse not to do it. The other day, I texted a go-getter friend asking if she wanted to power walk because I knew I’d be held to it. I need to be able to hold myself to doing more, though. So glad to have your blog as inspiration!

Thanks, Tina! Knowing that there are other people like us who want to push themselves to do more is an inspiration itself! If we surround ourselves with people like that, it will rub off on us, right?

[…] to know more about my 47 and fearless project? Click here. Share this:TwitterFacebookMoreLinkedInLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. 47andfearless […]

[…] to know more about my 47 and fearless project? Click here. Share this:TwitterFacebookMoreLinkedInLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. 47andfearless […]

[…] to know more about my 47 and fearless project? Check out my first post here. Share this:TwitterFacebookMoreLinkedInLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. 47andfearless […]

stu bloom says:

I think you should come take a golf lesson with the boys. Give me a call!! Love the idea to get out and try new things.

That’s a great idea, Stu! I’ll be looking for things to do with the boys when school’s out, and I think they would love it! I’ll contact you to set something up this summer. Thanks!

[…] to know more about my 47 and fearless project? Check out my first post. Share this:TwitterFacebookMoreLinkedInLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. 47andfearless […]

[…] to know more about my 47 and fearless project? Check out my first post. Share this:TwitterFacebookMoreLinkedInLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. 47andfearless @ […]

Ellen Imp says:

I wanna be Julie when I grow up!

Ha! What is that saying? “Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.” I opt for not growing up!

Ken says:

As for the balloon ride… I know a guy…. Polar Plunge, don’t let anything but fear hold you back. I have done it many times and plan to do it again this year. Key is to have a fair amount of alcohol on board.

Thanks, Ken! I do have the Polar Plunge on my idea list. But I’m not sure there’s enough alcohol in Milwaukee to tempt me into freezing water. I hate cold! But I will think about it. And I’m hoping to take my mom for a balloon ride in spring. When do you start up again? Thanks for your feedback!

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