My word for 2017 is DARE. I want to continue the work I started in 2016, but I know I need to dig a little deeper and address my inner critic in a much bigger and more intentioned way. I guess I have to look at 2017 as a double-dog DARE for the next 365 days and take some chances, venture outside my comfort zone, do hard things. Should be easy enough, right? Riiiiiiiggghhhhht.
I've already started living my word for the year when it comes to school. I signed up for Algebra (again) and Beginning Oil Painting this semester at the local community college. It's my sixth semester at the junior college and I can't believe how much I love it. Algebra intimidates me, but I'm determined to master it. In a way, it feels good to know there is only one answer to a problem. It's finite and exact. It speaks to me on one level and intimidates me on another. I'm getting over it.
Oil painting is an entirely different beast. I like to dabble with paints (watercolors + acrylics), but mostly I'm drawn to painting or drawing geometric shapes and letters. My new painting class will definitely stretch me as an artist and give me plenty of opportunities to take a DARE and go for it. I was completely overwhelmed at the art supply store just buying all of the supplies! So I know there will be plenty of lessons involved with this class and anxiety management will most likely be one of them.
I had to dare myself to get out of bed and make signs and commune with over 4,000 other people at the Santa Rosa Women's March last Saturday, too. It's not that I didn't want to march, I did. I just get so worked up being around new people, crowds, and traffic. My new word for the year DARE forced me out of my comfort zone and helped me to commune with other like-minded people and show my son how a peaceful protest is done. And, let us not forget the sign-making. I channeled my former high school cheerleader self and got to business early Saturday morning before the march. I'm all about painting signs and my son got into it, too.
It's hard to do things you don't know how to do, especially at my age (46). Over the course of my life, I have too often worried what other people thought - about me or my decisions. I now know that to be honest and true to myself, I have to let those feelings of insecurity go. In Brené Brown's Ted Talk on The Power of Vulnerability, she references Teddy Roosevelt's eloquently crafted words from his "Citizenship in a Republic" speech delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France in 1910:
These words won't stop ringing in my ears.
It is not the critic who counts.
Repeat: It is not the critic who counts!
I had to let that sink deep into my heart and mind. I found it hard to fully believe these words at first and continue to find myself rejecting or questioning the simple meaning it conveys. If I pause long enough to fully absorb their powerful meaning, I know deep down that they are true and valuable. It is not the critic who counts, it is me who counts and not the naysayer or the person full of judgment; not the gossip or the fair-weather friend; not the people who either resent or dislike me. It is not the critic who counts. I will have to revisit this sentence and allow it to become my mantra for 2017 as I DARE to try new things.
I am in the arena of my life.
I will dare greatly this year and most likely know victory AND defeat.
And, that's more than okay with me.
Want to join me in daring greatly? C'mon. It'll be fun. I triple-dog dare you.