Last Sunday I ran my first 5K race. I still can’t believe that I actually did it – and in the tropical heat, no less. Although I have vaguely considered it a worthy goal, running an actual race wasn’t on my radar even two months ago.
It turns out that 2015 is the year of living dangerously…out of my comfort zone.
My kids often talk about being “risk-takers”. It is one of the ten traits included in the school Learner Profile and students are encouraged to be inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced, and reflective. While these traits are all deemed equally important, being a risk-taker is a concept that seems to be especially resonant outside of school too: “I am a risk-taker: I am willing to make mistakes. I am confident and have the courage to try new things.”
For my generally confident (and fruit-averse) daughter, this might mean: “Look Mommy, I’m a risk-taker, I’m eating a mango!” My son takes a more reflective approach – acknowledging when he feels nervous about doing something and emboldening himself with his risk-taker status to eventually take the plunge. Though risk-taking will probably have a different connotation when they are older, I embrace what it means for them now – trying new things and not being afraid to make mistakes.
It’s an important lesson for grown ups, too.
In January, after three years of living in Jakarta, I was starting to feel like my daily life was becoming somewhat routine. Gym, work, grocery store, repeat. To change things up, I found myself saying YES to things that I might not usually consider.
When a friend asked if I wanted to join their early morning running group, I said YES. I knew that the group would likely be too advanced for me but figured that I wouldn’t know if I didn’t try. “What’s the worst that could happen?” I asked myself. I would walk, that’s it. I did walk some at first, but I set my own goals and improved each week. Now we’re training for a 10K.
When another friend asked if I would like to be part of their dance group for an upcoming fashion show event, I said yes to that too. Other friends and even my husband were surprised. Performing a dance routine in front of a huge crowd is WAY beyond my comfort zone, but again I thought: “Why not?” In this case I try not to think about the worst that could happen (falling off the stage comes to mind) but I’m proud of myself for doing it and am actually looking forward to the big night.
I’ve continued with the YES theme in other areas of my life and have already seen positive changes: improved health, new friendships, new possibilities. I’ve realized that pushing my boundaries in this way is also about adjusting my own perceptions of myself. “Oh, but I’m not a runner,” I would repeatedly explain, trying to somehow qualify my actions.
Well now I am a runner. And a dancer. Among many other things.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
Our kids may not recognize some of the bigger risk-taking decisions we’ve made (like moving our lives halfway around the world), but it’s often the smaller actions that resonate the most.
It feels good for them to see that I can be a risk-taker too – I can be afraid sometimes and I can also be brave, just like they are.
When I walked in the door after the race, finisher’s medal around my neck, both kids jumped up from the couch with wide eyes. “Mommy!” my daughter exclaimed, “I didn’t know you would win the race!”
Not exactly…but YES! In my own way, I did.
What risks are you putting out there for yourself this year? How are you embracing these challenges?
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by our mom of twins in Jakarta, Indonesia, Shaula Bellour.
The image used in this post is attributed to the author.
I don’t make resolutions for the new year. December is so full of celebrations and commitments, and I find the idea of sitting down to think through the ways I need to improve myself and make the world a better place overwhelming. I’m a change-as-it-strikes-me-anytime-during-the-year kind of gal. When I can help someone or donate my time and resources somewhere, I do it. As for my personal development, I take stock often. So as I am writing this, with 2013 coming to a close, I’m not focusing on who I will be in 2014. Instead, I’m celebrating on a few key changes I made this past year. (more…)
Welcome to 2014! As we bid farewell to 2013 with all of its ups and downs, we are ready to look forward to the year ahead of us. Some of our World Moms have shared their resolutions. Read and enjoy, and add your own resolutions in the comments!
The European Mama from The Netherlands: Learn to read sheet music and play the piano. Have one or more of my blog posts published on a high quality website. Get paid for my posts. Learn more about blogging. Be a better parent. This mama has blogged about her resolutions.
Nicole @ Sistersfromanothermister from Florida, USA: In 2014 I need to find my center. My world seems as though it has been upside down for so long, I need to center my life to focus on what is most important. I need to take care of myself, so that I can take care of others. I need to strive for change on what I can control and let go of all that is beyond that control. And the relationship I have with my girls is all that I make it, and I cannot ‘fix that for anyone else’.
Tara B. from Washington, USA: Play more!
Mrs. P. Cuyugan from the Philippines: I need to seriously de-clutter. Our stuff is all over the house, my email inboxes (yes, all of them) are out of control, everything is just out of order. Even my thought process is messed up. I need to get rid of a lot of junk and try to sort things out and make sense of everything in my life right now. That’s my promise to myself for 2014.
Maureen @ Scoops Of Joy from Indonesia: My 2014 resolution is to focus on my health even more. I’m fighting uterine fibroids and changing my way of eating to avoid surgery so that will be the center of my 2014.
Susan Koh from Singapore: My mantra for 2014- Less Stuff, More Life. I’m aiming to find contentment with what I have, decluttering and purging what I don’t need in my life from toxic friendships to too many cereal boxes that I think I’ll need for crafts with my daughter.
Jennifer Burden from New Jersey, USA: There is one person that I could be spending more time with lately…my husband! My resolution is to make more couple time this year! And family hikes with the kids! And I was thinking the other day that I really want to drive a race car, a totally new desire for me. Not sure if the race car is for this year’s or another year’s resolution yet. I’ll let you know!
Sarah Hughes from New Jersey, USA: I want to step back this year and slow down. Less non-family responsibilities (other than work) and be absolutely 100% present in the moments with my children. Oh and I need to lose 15 pounds, it’s a must!
Karyn @ Kloppenmum from New Zealand: To eat cake, drink wine and have as much fun as is humanly possible.
Mom Photographer from California, USA: Exercise more. Organize more. Eat more. Reading books, more. Being more happy with what I have instead of thinking about and longing for what I don’t have. And funny thing, because driving a racing car is on my bucket list, Jennifer, and just as you, I am not sure if it’s doable in 2014 but definitely sometime in the future.
Elizabeth Atalay from Rhode Island, USA: I am not big on New Years Resolutions, as is evident in the same 10lbs I’ve been talking about losing for years now! That said, Family, friends and travel are paramount, but I’d like to connect the dots a bit more, and this year I intend to start making mini-documentaries as digital content,oh, and I’d like to really make a positive difference in the world through my work somehow.
Mama Aya from New York, USA: To find some time for me! I have been really burnt out lately between the kids, working full time, traveling for work, de-cluttering so that we can sell our place and move, etc. It is affecting everything in my life including my relationships with my husband/mother/friends and is causing me much stress. I resolve to do things for myself, like spend time at the gym or go for a manicure, regularly so that I can be a better mom, wife, daughter, sister, and friend!
Mamma Simona from South Africa: My resolution last year was to stop making resolutions!
Kirsten @ Running For Autism from Canada: To give myself permission to follow my dreams instead of neglecting my passions so that others can shine. To understand that there is room for what I want to accomplish while still being supportive of my husband and children.
K10K from Belgium: I have two. (1) I will finally finish at least one of the books I am writing and find the courage to send them to a publisher. (2) I will hide an encouraging or funny little note or drawing in my kids’ lunchboxes once a week.
World Moms Blog wishes moms all over the world a happy and fulfilling 2014. So, tell us your New Years resolutions!
Photo credit: toolmantim. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.