52 WEEKS OF YES: ROLLER SKATING (WEEK 6)

Okay, so this isn’t a new experience but I haven’t roller skated in 30+ years.  So, I decided that this counts. *wink*

All the way to the rink, this song was playing in my mind…

 

Roller skating seemed like a pretty cool idea, up until I stepped out onto that wood floor.  Uh-oh.  Houston, we have a problem.  Didn’t there used to be a rail you could hold onto???  I can’t believe there’s nothing for me to grab onto if I lose my balance!!!  Needless to say, I had to take it slow the first few laps while I regained my skate-legs.  The 1st lap was pretty rocky.  By the 3rd lap, I started to get my groove a little bit.  By the 5th lap, I was able to pick up some speed and get off the wall.

 

 

I didn’t think it was possible, but somewhere along the way, I lost 30+ years and morphed into a giggly teenager.

BEFORE: *Too cool for school*

AFTER: *giggly, sweaty goofball*

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” — Neale Donald Walsch

52 Weeks of Yes: Ziplining, Mani-Pedi, Firing Range, Indoor Skydiving, Reflexology, Rollerskating…

52 Weeks of YES: HAND & FOOT REFLEXOLOGY (WEEK 5)

About a week ago, I received an email of August specials from a Wellness Center that I frequent from time to time.  They were having a special on Hand & Foot Reflexology.  The description read:

“Reflexology promotes relaxation, reduces stress, improves circulation, detoxifies and revitalizes the whole body, stimulates emotional release and releases pain.”

That sounded like a whole lot of “healing” in a hand/foot massage, but I was down to give it a try.  The massage therapist told me that Reflexology is an Eastern practice.  The premise is that there are areas of the hands and feet that correspond to areas of the body.  By applying pressure to certain areas of my hands and feet, I can experience relief in the corresponding part of the body.  I wasn’t 100% convinced, but was open to the experience.

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As she did her thing, she would ask if my hands or feet were sore or tender as she touched certain areas.  To my surprise, each time I said yes.  Then, she would go about manipulating those areas.  I learned that each of the areas corresponded to my shoulders and neck, where I happen to carry the most tension in my body (my shoulders and neck are ALWAYS sore).  Well let me tell you, when I got up from that massage table, it felt like a physical weight had been lifted.  There was NO tension or tightness in my neck or shoulders.  It was shocking. Being the skeptical, overly-analytical person that I am, none of this made rational sense to me.  Yet and still, I felt so much lighter and so relaxed.

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*Me, feeling good after the reflexology. Had the perfect message on my shirt, Free Your Mind.

Would I do this again?  Absolutely.  Would I recommend it?  Absolutely.

So, what’s my new experience gonna be next week?  You’ll just have to wait and see.

“There comes a day when you realize turning the page is the best feeling in the world, because you realize there is so much more to the book than the page you were stuck on.” — Zayn Malik

52 Weeks of YES: week 1 – ziplining; week 2 – mani-pedi; week 3 – firing range; week 4 – indoor skydiving; week 5 – reflexology

52 Weeks of YES: INDOOR SKYDIVING (Week 4)

Over the last few years, I’ve seen multiple ads for Indoor Skydiving at Paraclete XP.  I’ve read their website many times so I knew it was the largest vertical wind tunnel in the United States.  Military personnel and skydiving teams from all over the world come here to train.  Indoor skydiving was always something I had thought about doing, but never had the nerve.  With “52 Weeks of YES”, it’s a whole new ballgame.  I knew I had to do it.

At 9:30 this morning, I headed out on a 1 1/2 hour drive to Raeford, NC.  I was feeling pretty good until I walked into the Paraclete Observation Deck and actually saw people flying around in the tunnel.  That’s when my nerves kicked in.  But as with zip lining, I knew I had to get in the right head-space.  Don’t over-think it — just do it.  I refused to focus on how scary it was gonna be.  Instead, I focused on how exciting it was gonna be.  I’m learning quickly that fear is all in my head and most of my fears aren’t based on actual reality, but my own (mis)perception.

So, I signed a waiver, watched a 3-minute instructional video, learned the 4 hand signals, and suited up.  It was go time!

Round 1 was pretty much a practice run to get us used to being in the wind tunnel – how to properly hold our arms, legs, head, etc.  Then came Round 2.  I was doing pretty good and getting good height on my own.  All of a sudden, I heard the wind tunnel rev up big-time, my instructor grabbed my waist, and the next thing I knew we were being blown 50+ feet in the air to the top of the wind tunnel!  We came down fast and just when I thought I might hit the floor, we shot right back up again.  And yes, I screamed like a girl the first time we flew up to the top.  But, the second time I was screaming and laughing all at the same time.

 

As I look at the video, I laugh every time I see the two ladies who were sitting on the bench.  When we flew up in the air, they jumped off the bench and ran to the glass,  staring up at me in amazement.  Apparently, it startled them just as much as it startled me.  LOL!

At the end of the experience, I could honestly say that I had so much fun.  If any of you have contemplated Indoor Skydiving, do it!  You won’t regret it.  Plus, it felt real good to check something off my list that I thought I couldn’t do because of fear.  I’m starting to learn that I’m a much tougher chick than I ever gave myself credit for.  Get it, girl.  😉

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So, what’s my new experience gonna be next week?  You’ll just have to stay tuned and see…Hint: Relax, relate, release.

“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”  — Will Rogers

52 Weeks of Yes: FIRING RANGE (week 3)

If this were a movie, I’d have the music from that Clint Eastwood western playing in the background…

 

I’d slowly walk into the scene, with guns in both holsters.  I’d stop in the center of the frame, feet spread shoulder width apart.  I’d slowly reach for my gun, then grab it quickly, and shoot.  Pow!  Man down.  Then, I’d put the gun back in the holster, turn around, and walk away from the camera as swagalicious as I came in.  Fade to black.

Well, my first experience shooting a gun didn’t quite happen like that…

I have a co-worker who is an experienced shooter (shout-out to KC!), having been shooting at ranges and in competitions for about 6 years now.  So, I asked her to go with me to a firing range.  I’d never done it before, so why not give it a go?  Honestly, I started to get really nervous when we were put in a lane.  I watched her take a few shots first, which made me even more nervous.  The 9mm was so loud and the recoil made her body jerk a bit.  All I could think was please don’t drop this gun when the shot goes off.  Hold onto the gun, no matter what!  So when it was finally my turn, I focused on my target (using the gun’s sight alignment), aimed, and shot.  The recoil wasn’t as bad as I thought it was gonna be.  In fact, my first two practice shoots were pretty good if I do say so myself.

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When I got a smile and a thumbs up from one of the guys who worked there, my nervousness started to turn to a little excitement.  I began switching out posters to find more challenging targets.  I even got better at loading my bullets in the magazine, inserting the magazine in the gun, and pulling and releasing the slide to chamber a full round.  I could get used to this.

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So, what’s my new experience gonna be this week?  You’ll just have to stay tuned and see…Hint: Up, up, and away.

But better die than live mechanically a life that is a repetition of repetitions.”  — D.H. Lawrence

 

52 Weeks of Yes: MANI-PEDI (week 2)

Stop right there.  I know what you’re thinking.  A mani-pedi?  Really, girl?!  Don’t judge me.  NO, I’ve never set foot in a nail salon to get my fingernails or toenails “did”.  Why, you might ask? First of all, I’ve never been a frou frou girly-girl.  Sometimes I paint my fingernails and sometimes I don’t.  Having painted nails has never been an end-all be-all for me.  I generally paint my toenails during the spring and summer months due to sandal/flip-flop season, but other than that — not so much.  Second of all, I’m cheap frugal.  I watch my dollars and cents like a hawk.  Necessities usually trump luxuries.  My philosophy has always been why pay for something you can do yourself?

However, since I’m throwing myself head-first (in this case, hands and feet first) into new experiences, I decided to step into the world of nail salons.   As a birthday gift for my sister, I decided to treat us both to mani-pedis.

Walking into the salon, I’m immediately smacked in the face by the aroma of chemicals.  Am I going to be able to stay in this non-ventilated room without becoming ill?  Surprisingly, my body adjusts and after awhile I barely notice it anymore.  I started with the pedicure.  I cannot tell a lie.  It was pretty amazing.  I almost fell asleep in the remote-controlled massage chair twice.  As the technician applied scrub, mask, and lotion to my legs and feet, I lapsed into a state of supreme relaxation.  When she finished painting my toenails, I did not want to get up from that chair!

 

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Then, I was off to the manicure station.  The manicure wasn’t as relaxing, but it produced great results.  My nails came out fantastically. Although I decided to forego the acrylic application, I did get the gel coating so that my polish would last longer.

 

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Overall, I was beyond pleased with this new experience.  Having endured a full and hectic work week, it was a welcomed treat.  Like myself, many women work extremely hard, but don’t take the time to indulge in any form of self-care.  We go, go, go without any reward for our efforts.  This isn’t how I want to go about my life so I’ll most definitely indulge myself again for a few hours of pampering.  As the L’Oreal tagline states, “Because I’m worth it.”

So, what’s my new experience gonna be this week?  You’ll just have to stay tuned and see…Hint: Bang, Bang.

“It’s a sad day when you find out that it’s not accident or time or fortune but just yourself that kept things from you.” — Lillian Herman

52 Weeks of YES: ZIP LINING (week 1)

So, my first new experience was…ZIP LINING!

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Now anyone who knows me, I mean really knows me, knows that the idea of me zip lining is ridiculous.  I’m afraid of heights.  I’m afraid of jumping off platforms.  I don’t trust cable lines.  I don’t trust harnesses.  Although I know realistically the odds of plunging to my death while zip lining are miniscule, I always seem to think I’m special.  I’ll be the one who beats the odds.  As long as there’s one catastrophic story out there that I’ve heard about, that’s usually enough to steer me clear from any potential danger.  But now I’m on a mission.  I’ve dared double-dog dared myself to embark on 52 new experiences in 52 weeks.  And this is indeed a new experience.

A girls’ trip was already on the books set for Asheville, North Carolina to tour the Biltmore Estate and indulge in some wine-tasting.  Why not throw in a little adventure?  After suggesting it on a group text, three of the five ladies were up for the challenge.  Once the commitments were made, I immediately went online to pay for and reserve our spots.  I couldn’t let too much time pass or I’d talk myself out of it.  I knew that once the money was paid (and it wasn’t cheap), that it would be a done deal.

The Biltmore was amazing.  The winery was amazing.  But let’s fast-forward to Sunday.  So…I was cool as a cucumber up until I started seeing  ‘The Adventure Center of Asheville’ signs, letting me know that we were getting close.  Then my stomach went into overdrive – 1000s of butterflies had taken shelter in the pit of my stomach.  Once I parked, everything seemed to start moving in slow motion.  It felt like an out-of-body experience.  I was walking in the facility door…I was completing the online waiver (promising not to sue if I’m maimed or killed – really?)…I was going to the bathroom a hundred times…I was walking back and forth to the car…and then they called for our group.  We participated in a (too) short training.  I did NOT know we were our own braking system.  We had to learn the technique to slow ourselves down, being mindful to start the process at just the right time on the zip line to avoid becoming one with the tree at the other end of the line (like I didn’t have enough to worry about while careening through the air).

Anyway, the next thing I know I’m standing on the edge of a platform, having just been given the green light to zip.  I won’t lie.  It took quite a few LOOONG seconds to build up the nerve to lift my feet up from the platform so gravity could take its course.  I quickly learned that the longer you stand there, looking down, the worse it is for you.  The best thing to do is just let go as soon as they give you the “all-clear”.  Don’t think, just do it.  Just go!  Perhaps this is a metaphor for life… Ding, ding, ding!

When you are “standing on the edge” of something that you really want that scares the heck out of you and seems to be a crazy idea by ordinary human standards, don’t just stand there and let fear overtake you.  Don’t waste time pondering over all the things that could go wrong.  Don’t talk yourself out of what could be an incredible experience.  Don’t let anyone else talk you out of an incredible experience just because they are too scared to do it.  BELIEVE that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be at this very moment in your life.  TRUST that inner voice that led you to this position in the first place.  KNOW that you have everything you need to do exactly what you want to do.  REFUSE to allow fear to dictate how far you go in life and what experiences you choose to have.

So, I finally lifted my feet (after gentle coaxing from a young boy in my group – lol) and took off.  Once I stopped screaming, it was pretty awesome.  My training kicked in and the next thing I knew, I was zooming in onto the next platform like a champ — and ready to keep going to the next line!  You see, that’s what happens when you punch fear in the face.  You realize that you’re much stronger and way more powerful than you give yourself credit for because fear is a punk, really.  All talk and no real action.  All it can do is get in your thoughts and try to interfere with your mind, but that’s it.  Once you refuse to listen, the ceiling is the roof!  (It’s a Carolina thing – you may not understand).

After zip lining on 7 lines and walking across a sky-bridge (didn’t care much for that, but I did it), I was quite proud of myself.  I accomplished something I never thought I would or could do.  Now, it’s on the next.

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So, what’s my new experience gonna be this week?  You’ll just have to stay tuned and see.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt 

52 Weeks of YES

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My inspiration for this blog is two-fold.  One motivating factor has to do with the amazing screenwriter, producer, and author Shonda Rhimes.  Between her hectic work schedule and her extreme shyness, she rarely made time for fun.  In her book, Year of Yes, Shonda declared that for one year she would make the conscious decision to say “yes” to everything that she’d normally say “no” to automatically.  Whatever she thought scared her, intimidated her, or bored her — she would say “yes” to.  During the course of that year, she experienced a transformation that she didn’t expect.  It changed her life.

The other motivating factor, and perhaps most importantly, is the death of my mother.  My mom was one of those people who had put off so many goals and dreams, waiting for retirement.  Then, she would finally have the free time to take art classes, volunteer, travel, and spend more time with her grandchildren.  As a retiree, she’d finally be able to live life on her terms.  Or so she thought.  My mother retired in January 2013, was diagnosed with cancer in June 2013, and died in August 2014.  None of her long-held aspirations were ever realized.  Not one.  I don’t want to fall into the same trap, thinking that I have infinite time to do all the things that I want to do and go to all the places I want to go.  I know now, more than ever, that life can end in an instant.

So, here’s the plan.  I’m embarking on 52 weeks of YES.  Every week, I will say “yes” to at least one new experience — no matter how big or small.  I’ve decided to document my efforts in this blog to keep me honest and hold myself accountable.  In fact, to keep myself real honest, I’ll be including “receipts” in the form of photos and video.  I’m not gonna lie.  This won’t be easy.  I’m a comfort zone, stay in my lane, kick-my-feet-up-and-watch-TV kind of girl with my free time.  Pursuing 52 new experiences in 52 weeks is gonna be a stretch for me.

I thought it appropriate to launch this little adventure on the 4th of July*. Independence Day.  In a way, this is like a declaration of my own independence from the status quo, fear, procrastination — pretty much anything that threatens to hold me back from living life to the full.

So, what’s my new experience gonna be this week?  You’ll just have to stay tuned and see… Hint: It involves height and speed.

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” — Benjamin Yee

*For some reason, the date stamp is incorrect for this post. Actually posted on July 4th, not July 5th.