Anti-Fear Bucket List

Eleanor-RooseveltA quote by Eleanor Roosevelt hangs on the wall beside my writing desk. It strings ten words together in the wisest counsel I have ever received.

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Brilliant. Simply brilliant. This quote has gone before me on too many occasions to list: summoning the courage to write, the audacity to go to Egypt, bravery in hard conversations, the tenacity to look impossible circumstances in the eye and overcome. Every time fear paralyzes me into crippling inaction, I chant it like a mantra until I can move forward.

Still some days I can’t. There exist ideas I believe will never happen. Experiences I will never get to enjoy. These moments of fear are also too numerous to count, because they exist in the seams of life. The places throughout the day that go unnoticed, categorized as fleeting thoughts or whims. But are they? If you and I, in the unconscious moments, dismiss those impulses and longing for something more, doesn’t it become a habit of letting “can’t” win?

Furthermore, who is this “can’t”? Who gets to tell us what we can or cannot do? Ultimately, once we clear out all the excuses, it boils down to me. To you. We possess ultimate power over our actions and choices. Sure, life might throw a curveball or two or a thousand at us, and getting pummeled time after time with baseballs leaves bruises, but what do we do with the rest of it? What do we do with the stuff we have power over? Our time? Our focus? Our dreams? Our actions? We believe the unconscious “can’t”.

I say, “NO MORE!” Because we must do the thing we think we cannot do! I believe taking those risks and moving forward builds the life we want to live. Doing otherwise leaves us suspended in mediocrity. I want a full life. One of adventure and surprise and joy and contentment. But I cannot have this life until I tell “can’t” to go to hell. And I suspect I must tell it not just once, but over and over and over again for the rest of my life.

As an act of defiance against “can’t” (which is ultimately fear, right?), I have decided to write an Anti-Fear Bucket List. A list of dreams I have that, for one reason or another, in the seams of unconscious thought, I have decided I cannot do. I figure once I have declared said list to the world (or my handful of faithful readers. Thank you!), I will be held accountable to act.

Anti-Fear Bucket List:

  1. Put Gatekeeper on Kindle Scout.
  2. Go on a world trip to research for Gatekeeper 2.
  3. Take time to interview people to glean their stories.
    • Especially the panhandlers near the mall.
  4. Complete the 101 Things to Do in Butte County.
  5. Say “yes” when my knee jerk response is “no.”
  6. Win NaNoWriMo.
  7. Have that scary conversation I keep putting off.
  8. Build a writing group for young adults.
  9. Join a critique group.
  10. Have one spontaneous adventure a month.

As an act of war against fear, I have decided to share my rebellious acts on Facebook.

Now be brave; create your own list. Then be even more courageous and share it with me (and the world) in the comments. And together let’s LIVE!

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2 thoughts on “Anti-Fear Bucket List

  1. From my heart to your mouth! You’ve captured perfectly what I’ve been working hard to live this past decade. I have a mantra, “Jessica, this is a growth opportunity.” It has led me to sky dive, speak publicly as an “expert” in my field, bachata dance lessons with a stranger (who’s now my husband), and there was even a foray into professional hula damcing! My group opened for the son of Don Ho, danced in the middle of the My Shasta Mall, and several other GROWTH opportunities. This is what led me into and somehow got me through grad school – seeking growth and growing courage. Girlfriend, we have kindred souls!

    1. This speaks to my soul!!! This is living, saying “yes” when that pesky self preservation voice screams “no!” I definitely need to hear more about your professional dancing! So happy to find another kindred soul.

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