In March 2007, a crazy lady did the (almost) impossible. She, in broad daylight at the local YMCA, over the brief span of five measly minutes, brazenly convinced me to sign up for a sprint triathlon. To take place in four months. I didn’t own a bike. Running only happened in my dreams and then, only if being chased.
Thirty minutes after leaving the gym, my entry for the 2007 Danskin Women’s Sprint Triathlon was speeding across cyberspace. And I sat, heart pounding, palms sweaty, slightly slouched and more than a little befuddled; wondering what in the fudge-ruckers I had gotten myself into. I had this moment when I decided (very uncharacteristically) that if other people could do it, why not me?I easily could have talked myself out of the whole shebang, but for once I took a chance on me.
The mantra for the triathlon that year was, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” Up until that day, it had been a long time since I’d been able to answer that question with any type of meaningful answer.
Somewhere during the course of an event that I planned to do once and cross off of my, “been there, done that” life list, I had a “light bulb” moment. Empowered by doing something I didn’t think I could do, I realized that if I did this, what else could I accomplish? All those things that other people did that looked like fun, but seemed a little scary‚Ä¶ ALL of those things and I was the only thing standing in my way! It completely changed the way I viewed my life. That triathlon was totally outside of the box for me, way beyond my comfort zone and completely crazy; but a funny thing happened when crazy came along: I wanted more of it and have done three more tri’s to date.
How we live our lives doesn’t change instantly. It’s a series of steps. Living life is a conscious decision. Make it. All of those things that I’d casually thought about my whole life, those things I wanted to do someday? I sat down and thought about them. I wrote them down; made them a priority. I added the things that seemed scary. Those things that make your heart skip a little beat ‚Äì add them first. This business of living isn’t about sitting back and observing. Participate.
What have I done so far off of my list? The very first thing on my list was to write the list ‚Äì check! I ran a mile, then decided to take it further; so I added running in a 5k road race and did that too. Crashed a wedding ‚Äì holy heart thumping madness people! It was awesome! I’ve paid for a complete stranger’s meal, watched the Macy’s Parade live with my kids in NYC, took them to Block Island, RI and painted one door in my house pink. The pink door was just for fun to remind myself that I shouldn’t take life too seriously ‚Äì it’s my favorite door.
Some things are works in progress, like figuring out my family tree, getting a tattoo (I still don’t know what I want it to be) and learning how to play the fiddle.
Marshall (my fiddle) and I met last year. I love him, but I’m not sure there’s any reciprocity in our relationship. I watched some online tutorials. Not so much help. I took two free group fiddle lessons. During the second lesson I had a decision to make: stay for another 45 minutes pretending to make the same music as the rest of the class, or cut bait and try again another time. I cut bait. This list isn’t perfect folks. It’s a work in progress with an ebb and flow. Admittedly, sometimes more ebb than flow. Marshall and I still practice at home. It only sounds like I’m killing a couple of cats now instead of a boat load of them. I’m counting that as a win for the moment!
With 105 things on my list, I revisit it often. Time tends to pass. Jumping out of an airplane, pole dancing on a subway train and showering in a waterfall are still unchecked. But now when I ask myself, “when was the last time you did something for the first time?” the answer always makes me smile.
Keleigh resides in Connecticut and is part of the Connecticut Challengers, Adventurous Babes Society Team.