My secretive cousin has been busy doing new things this month and I can’t wait to see her list. She has already started to philosophise on the subject of what counts as something new. Her new will be different to my new, I’m sure. She has probably already done a lot of my new things in her life, because she is braver and more interesting than me! I won’t say much else on this as I want to know what Sarah’s thoughts are.
Some of my new things are very easy and tiny, but I didn’t necessarily set out to be ground-breaking every day. However, I admit I’m still being held back a bit by my lack of bravery, and that seems a shame.
The title of this post is a passing comment from Sarah and I was inspired to write something on that theme. However, I have tried to think of some things that I am NOT scared of doing which other people ARE scared of doing, and I can’t think of anything (besides trying new food which I covered in an earlier post). So I am a bigger coward than I thought I was.
I’ve even asked my mum if she could think of anything I wasn’t scared of, and all she could think of were snakes and horror films. You’re SUPPOSED to be scared of those things!
Part of the problem here is that people do not always admit what they’re scared of (whereas I’m always banging on about it). But everyone’s scared of something. And sometimes people turn their fear around as if it’s others who have the problem. For instance, some people keep busy as they are scared of their own company but might describe someone (like me) who happily spends time on their own as being a loner or boring to cover their fear.
But I am, nevertheless, a huge coward so what can I do about it?
I have a few ideas. I already trick myself into doing things, like buying tickets for an event before I have time to think about the scariness of the event. But this week I had some new inspiration. At work I had a petrifying task to do – then suddenly a massive house spider appeared. I’m scared of spiders and have nightmares about them but I caught it and put it outside without batting an eyelid. I was so scared about the other thing, the spider fear seemed to vanish (and perhaps the spider was a brief distraction). On top of that, the next day, another spider appeared (seriously, spiders, go away), but by then I had done the scary work thing so I was straight back to jumping out of my skin and scarpering. Does this mean that if I have something hugely daunting on the horizon, THAT’S the time to do something comparatively less daunting? Will it pale into insignificance?
One barrier is that being brave does not ALWAYS pay off. Some things do end in disaster and cause setbacks. While I am learning that fear of failure should not stop me trying, and my list so far does not contain too many things that I regret doing, there will be times when my fears are realised. It seems important to develop better ways of dealing with failure if I’m going to try and be braver. But it’s hard to predict the outcome of trying something scary. Joining a choir paid off but I won’t even consider acting. But should I? (No.)
Still, a small, not-brave-at-all new thing can be life-changing. I love fennel tea now, for instance. And while trying new restaurants is becoming a cheaty fall back ‘new thing’ option, it serves other purposes – socialising with new people, changing routines, creating new memories, and getting to know ‘my’ two cities better.