I’ll be honest: I clearly had no idea what I was getting into when I threw out the Operation Eleanor 30 Day Challenge. And that’s probably a good thing because had I any idea of how hard those thirty days would be, I don’t know that I would have had the courage to take them on. But then, that’s kind of the whole idea of OpEleanor now isn’t it?
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” And I was tired of living in fear. Tired of taking the easy way out. Tired of not trying new things and avoiding the more difficult scenarios in life if there was a way to duck out. So it was on. I was going to do this. Bring it, Eleanor.
Then I casually threw out the challenge to you. And to my surprise, you showed up and you did so in a big way. Suddenly this personal little challenge became something more; something very meaningful to not just me – but to many – and it took on a life of its own. Wildly inspiring #OpEleanor tweets were coming and going, courageous blog posts and ping-backs were floating around, motivational quotes were everywhere, and, best yet, a small community of people sprouted, encouraging and congratulating one another on accomplishments big and small.
And while it may have started with an inspirational quote by Ms. Roosevelt, in the end, it was you who gave me courage, made me rethink what I did, kept me going when I wanted to hesitate and got me through thirty amazingly terrifying yet liberating days.
So, thank you. More than you’ll ever know.
In the month of November, I:
asked for help from family
applied for jobs
confronted someone who had hurt me
got back to baking fondant cakes
returned to the bank where my sister was held-up
stuck-it-out though an evening I desperately wanted to flee
flew on an airplane
took a trip on tight budget and stuck to it
jumped a fence at a brewery to get a photo I really wanted
asked for assistance from a stranger
admitted a humbling truth to myself
said everything without holding back in case it was my only chance to do so
talked about the skeletons in my closet
got out of bed and faced a horrible reality
networked with friends
said the things you’re not supposed to say out loud on my blog
held my ground even when I didn’t want to
got over my fear of doing holiday cards & took the boys’ photographs
stopped avoiding my friends who cared and sat down & talked with them again
let the boys go to Disneyland with my parents without me
sent a total shot-in-the-dark email for something I desperately wanted
finally moved my blog to wordpress, without worrying about losing 4+ yrs of posts
started MMA classes for me
tackled a touchy topic with family
went on my 1st job interview in forever
faced the infamous Hill in MMA – the only girl – and didn’t quit
returned the stuff I bought for a trip that was, apparently, never meant to be
agreed to run a Ragnar marathon in October – a bucket list item!
let someone back into my life
‘blegged’ for a good cause
did bench presses at MMA – a huge fear of mine because of my aneurysm
went out with new people instead of waiting around for someone else to not show
cooked my own Thanksgiving dinner for the first time ever
faced my ex-extended family for the 1st time in over a year
had a frank conversation with a friend, realizing it’s “gut-check time”
set boundaries and stuck to them
rehearsed what I need to say, even though I wish I didn’t have to say it
applied for my passport
finally asked the name of someone I speak to every day
decided I have nothing left to say to someone who can’t hear it anyway
started xmas shopping even though I am having a hard time getting in the spirit
pushed myself harder than ever physically
s asked a friend to find out more
put my own ideas out there with enthusiasm and confidence
What’s weird is that prior to November 1st, I had made a list of a few ideas for fears I could attempt to tackle during OpEleanor. But you know what? Almost none of them made this list of what I accomplished because, as it turns out, life had its own challenges planned for me. I still haven’t learned to ride a bike (soon!) and I didn’t go out to lunch by myself just because and I still have never had Thai food or tried a Zumba class. But this is the lesson, at least for me, in all this. This, is life. You don’t get to pick what scares you; what challenges you on a daily basis. But you do have the ability to pick and choose how you handle those fears. And I know for me, this Operation Eleanor 30 Day Challenge will forever change the way I make decisions. I can no longer hesitate and go the other way; instead I pause and a voice inside my head taunts me “Yeah but… OpEleanor!” And there we go, it’s on. All over again.
Thank you, Eleanor.