August 2012 log
This page will serve as a log for my daily feats during the month of August!
As you may know, this month I’m personally challenging myself and any of you who are interested to take control of our fears, whatever they may be.
I currently have some things in my life that are holding me back and I’ll be working daily this month to challenge fears and negativity and make room for personal growth. To keep myself accountable, I’m logging my daily feats on this page. By the end of the month, I’ll hopefully have a log of large and small fears that I overcame. The end result is intended to build confidence, inspire new personal challenges, and remind ourselves that we are more powerful than we know.
For the full post on this challenge see: The August Challenge post.
Below is a log of how I’m doing each day. I will be blogging about some, but probably not all, of the fears I’m overcoming each day. It just depends on the nature of it and whether I want to disclose it online. Feel free to leave comments on this page and let me know how you are doing! I want to keep this conversation going all month long.
August 1: The fear I overcame today was blogging about the fear challenge, oddly enough. I always feel anxious when putting myself out there and being vulnerable in my writing, but I have to say, I was so happy that I did the post. Everyone’s comments were so supportive and I realized that so many of us struggle with this. I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Thank you.
August 2: Earlier this year, I had a falling out with a family member who made some very poor choices without showing much remorse. This is something that has happened many times before and I felt so disappointed, yet again. Our relationship has been strained and disconnected for a while, but especially as of late. Today, I picked up the phone – after a few months of avoidance – and called this family member. I was very anxious about the call, but it ended up going quite well. While this family member’s actions still disappoint me a great deal, I’m hoping to try to stay in touch more even though it’s likely we’ll never have the relationship I’d hoped for. I felt proud of myself for facing my fear and calling, but I also had many mixed emotions too.
August 3: I have water in my right ear! Do you know what that means?? I went swimming – lap swimming, that is! Eric joined me. We’ve been so inspired watching all the great swimmers in the Olympics, we knew it was time to get back into the pool. Some of you might remember when we trained for our first triathlon (part 1 and part 2), it’s hard to believe that was two summers ago! Well, I can’t tell you how anxious I was before the swim tonight. A few hours beforehand, I started to feel butterflies in my stomach and I debated backing out of it. What do I fear about swimming laps? The better question is what don’t I fear. In the anxious mind, all thoughts sound rational – that’s the worst part. An hour beforehand, I almost felt sick to my stomach I was so nervous! Frustrated with myself. Thankfully, I had a commitment to go with Eric and knew I couldn’t back out. When I walked out of the shower into the main pool area I immediately wanted to leave. You know the saying “the hardest part is showing up”? well, it’s always right. The hardest part was getting to the pool and into the pool. Taking those steps toward the pool and then walking over to dip myself into the water. The water was warm and refreshing. This isn’t so bad! I started off with the breaststroke, which I’ve always found an easier stroke. First length, done. I’m alive. I did it. Second. Still alive. Nothing bad is happening. Wasn’t too busy. I eased into freestyle and took a break with the board now and then. Ten minutes passed, then 20, then 30. Still alive. Eric did fine too. After 40 minutes, we were wiped and called it a day. Success! I’m sitting here with water logged in my right ear – that was the worst thing that happened.
August 4: I have struggled with social anxiety as far back as I can remember. I don’t remember a lot from when I was super young, but this one memory sticks out in my mind and I find is so strange that I even remember it. I was just 3 or 4 years old and my family was at church one Sunday. The pastor would always call up the kids to the very front of the church for a mini lesson and all the adults would watch. Well, just before the pastor called all the kids up, what does 3 or 4 year old Angie decide to do? I crouch down on the floor and HIDE behind the pew, so the pastor doesn’t see me and I don’t have to go up on stage! In my young mind, if I was hidden I wouldn’t have to go to the front of the church. I’ve never liked being the centre of attention, even way back then. The pastor must have seen me disappear suddenly (hah) – or maybe he saw me hiding on the floor – and I remember him saying a lighthearted joke in reference to me hiding. Busted. I can’t remember what he said, but I remember feeling scared and nervous about it all. I was too young to know what social anxiety was, but I just knew I didn’t want to go on stage. I know this is a weird example, and I’m sure my mom has many better ones, but it’s one that always sticks out in my mind. My point of all of this is to illustrate that social anxiety is something I’ve dealt with my entire life. It has prevented me from doing countless things in my life and I’ve missed out on many opportunities. It’s prevented me from enjoying otherwise pleasurable situations. I’ve been on anxiety meds in the past (a couple different times during university) and I had really bad side effects on the pills and coming off them. Since then, I’ve tried to manage my anxiety medication-free. It’s very tough at times, especially when I’m not actively working on it. It’s very easy to get complacent and allow anxiety to take control. I’m going to be going back into therapy sometime this month (more on that later) when my insurance plan kicks in. One of my goals this month, is to get back into my anxiety work consistently and see some real progress. That, in conjunction with this challenge, will really pave the way for some amazing changes. All this is to say, the fear I’m overcoming today is going out with friends! I wanted to write this now because by the time I get home it will probably be 1 or 2 am. Even though I have anxiety before I go out with friends, I know I will have fun like I always do! Why can’t my brain figure that part out? Again, I’ve written too much, but it’s therapeutic in a way. I’m reading your comments everyday on this page and I’m so inspired by you all. Thanks for sharing – it really does help to know there are others going through similar things. Oh, another fear faced today – I swam again!! My anxiety was probably 2/3 LESS today than it was yesterday. It’s amazing how just doing something ONE TIME can decrease anxiety so much. Toodles for now.
August 5: Today, the fear I challenged was a work-related one! I think most of us can relate to having those work tasks that we fear for one reason or another. One of mine over the past several months has been getting a system in place to organize my cookbook photos. I’m shooting all the photos for the book which is proving to be much more difficult than I ever anticipated. Since January, I kept saying, “I really need to get my photos organized and create a system” – well, 7 months has gone by without doing this! The more time that goes by, the more fear builds. My mind thinks – well if you are avoiding it, it MUST be bad, right? I recently organized all of my recipes in a spreadsheet (and it felt great), but I need to do this for photos too. Today, I decided to just get it over with and I spent the better part of a few hours going through all my photos since January and marking ones that I will include in the book. The process wasn’t as difficult as I imagined it would be, but I must say, it was painful looking at some of the photos I shot for the book early on. My photography skills are a work in progress and I’m still experimenting with different styles and approaches to find out what I like best. As I was going through my photos, I was disappointed with photos I took even just 4 months ago. I will have to reshoot many of them. In addition to going through my photos and organizing them, I also made a plan of attack for my photography. I’m hopefully going to meet with Eric’s friend who is a food photographer for a one-on-one session and I also need to gather a few more photography props and tools for the shoots. Now that I have my goals set, it should be easier to make more progress in this area. Take home message – if there’s something you’ve been putting off it’s so much easier to just tackle it than to procrastinate and worry about it for weeks or months. Often, when you get into it, it’s not as hard as you thought. This was certainly true today!
August 6: Today was one of those days. I put in a 12 hour work day and had little to show for it with many frustrations and issues pop up. PMS may have been a factor. You’ll see another chocolate recipe tomorrow morning, so it wasn’t a total loss. What can you do but roll with the punches on days like this? Unfortunately no fears were faced today (unless you count facing a mountain of dishes that I wanted to run away from!!), but I’m going to get back on the horse tomorrow! Promise. Hope your week is off to a better start.
August 7: The sun will come out tomorrow and so it did today. I made up for yesterday by facing not one but two fears! I went to the dentist for my regular cleaning appointment. I have a lot of anxiety before and during dental appointments, but I feel so good after and I’m always glad I went. My teeth are simply glowing right now. ;) The hygienist gave me a tip today – drink tea with a straw! Sounds strange, I know, but I’m going to give it a shot because green tea stains my teeth a lot. The other fear I faced was speaking with a psychologist on the phone and making my first appointment. It turns out the doctor had a cancellation for tomorrow, so I’ll be going into therapy much quicker than I originally thought. No time to back out now! We spoke briefly about what I was going into therapy for and I also asked her what types of therapies she tends to use in her own practice. I was happy to hear that she uses an eclectic approach, pulling from different techniques and perspectives as shes fit for the person. Her emphasis is on CBT which has been fairly effective for me in the past when I’m actively using the strategies, however I’m open to other approaches too. I’ve been in therapy several times over the past 10 years and the first appointment is always the most difficult. Occasionally, it has been the only appointment. Rarely do we ever get so personal with someone we’ve known for 5 minutes, but in the end, I know it’s worth it. It has taken me many years to learn that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of true strength. Ditto for asking for help. Don’t be afraid to lean on others for support when you are struggling with something. Keep rocking your challenge!
I’ll leave you with a quote I enjoy:
Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
August 8: Today was right up there on the anxiety “Richter” scale – I had my first therapy session with a new-to-me psychologist. I can think of only a handful things more stressful than telling a complete stranger my entire life history. On the first therapy appointment, it all comes out. Thankfully I knew this coming in. I knew not to expect it to be a happy-go-lucky appointment. Deep feelings are stirred up, ones I try not to think about in my day to day life. I’ve sugar coated things before in therapy and this time I decided I would lay it all out on the table. My throat felt dry on the way there (why didn’t I bring water??) and I was so relieved when the psychologist ( I will call her “Jamie” from here forward) offered me a glass of water before we even began. She’s done this before. At first, I took a sip and placed the glass down on the side table, but as I became more nervous I decided I felt more safe clutching it for dear life in my cold hands. I only put the glass down twice that hour to grab a tissue and sign a form. We started with a bit of small talk – our crazy humid summer. Nervous laughter. Apparently, I can talk for minutes straight about the humidity without so much as taking a breath. Who knew. Then, a quick story about us moving to our new town. My current and previous careers. She told me about herself and her approach to therapy. Then we formally delved into some intake questions, which led us so far into left field I thought we might run out of time before we finished the intake. I apologized for talking too long, but she never made me feel like I had to. Jamie frantically wrote down my story on her paper while I spoke, trying to get names, dates, relationships, and places correct. I had a hard time myself with some dates. I talk, and talk, and talk. Then all of a sudden there are no words, only kleenex. It turns out we both discover a theme during all of this today – I carry a ton of guilt, even for other’s actions that I can’t control. While not surprising, I hadn’t thought of it that way before. I used to only associate guilt with my past eating disorder, but I guess it trickles into many areas. “We’re going to work on all that guilt!”, Jamie said with a smile. Jamie is excited to show me a bunch of strategies she can work with me on the anxiety. She is filled with hope and that makes me hopeful too. Today, I felt both drained and relieved after our 68 minutes were up. She asked me how frequently I might want to come into therapy. “weekly” was my answer, at least initially. Soon the real work will begin. I have a handful of psych measures to fill out before the appointment next week. Oddly, I look forward to filling them out. The measures bring me back to grad school when I used to learn the ins and outs of each one. I’ll try not to let this bias my responses.
Thank you once again for reading & sharing.
August 9: Those measures I was looking forward to filling out? 1.5 hours later, I finished. I never want to fill out another measure again! Just kidding…it wasn’t that bad. I secretly enjoyed it and let me tell you, it sure as hell beats doing data input for them. There were a few questions I couldn’t think of an answer for, so I will have to come back to them in a few days. Today, my fear was yet another doctor appointment. Three doctors in one week…who am I? Thankfully this challenge has given me the push to book things I’ve been putting off. Some of you might remember back in March when I injured my knee while lifting a heavy box (a box of cookbooks, of course…grrrrr) while moving. When I was bending my knees to pick up the box, I felt a sharp pain on the inside of my right knee. Sharp, sudden pains are never good! I ended up taking several weeks off running entirely. When my knee started to feel a bit better, I got into hot yoga again and also did a lot of strength training exercises as recommended by a Physical Therapist. He didn’t know what was wrong with my knee. After a lot of patience and time off running, my knee was feeling good enough to try running again and my PT encouraged me to try it out. It went pretty good for the first while, but the same knee pain came back on and off (some days were good, others not good), especially if I tried to run more than 1-2 miles. I got into spinning here and there for a different form of cardio. Months have passed now and my right knee still feels off and on. After complaining to Eric about it yet again, he finally said to me, “Ange. Book an appointment with a Sports Doctor. You need to find out what’s wrong…this has been going on for too long.” Tough love. And he’s right. I guess I was afraid what I might find out. So, today was the day of my appointment and I was nervous as hell beforehand. After telling him my knee history over the past 4-5 months, he did a series of mobility tests on my knees. “It’s hard to tell for sure until you have an MRI, but I have a feeling you may have injured your meniscus. It’s a form of cartilage in the knee and if there’s a bad tear, it often requires surgery. Sometimes it’s minor and it will heal on its own with time.” My anxiety shot through the roof at the mention of the S word. Breathe. He showed me the knee anatomy and talked more about the different parts. “We won’t jump to conclusions though. I’m sending you for a MRI. It will take 4-6 weeks to get an appointment for the MRI. Then we’ll have some answers and meet again to discuss.” Four to Six weeks, worrying about my knee….great!! I’m trying to think positively and keep the faith that I can get through any challenge that comes my way. This is what life is all about…overcoming challenges and embracing gratitude for what you have. It could always be worse…always. He encouraged me to continue activity (swimming, spinning, hot yoga, walking, strength, are all fine) so I’m just going to keep truckin’ on and waiting for that MRI test. As they say, knowledge is power! PS- I’m reading your comments everyday…thank you a million for making this challenge so meaningful!
August 10: Some techy talk today. I’m notorious for putting off tasks if they involve learning a new tech gadget or computer program. Somehow, I managed to resist the whole smart phone craze until mid-2012 when I acquired a used Samsung Galaxy II. The rest was history. I recently purchased a 15-foot cable for tethered shooting and it has been sitting in the corner of the office for ages. Of course, I assumed it would be complicated to set up so I continued to shoot in “comfortable” mode while it sat ignored in the box. Finally, on Friday I decided to give it a shot (pun intended) and it was so easy to hook up. Ridiculously easy. I did a quick Google search to figure out where I could find the tethered setting in Lightroom and boom, I was now shooting tethered. Something I had been putting off for ages was now done in less than 10 minutes. Remind me to read this entry frequently…
August 11: Yesterday I had the pleasure of celebrating Eric’s big 3-0 with him and about 50 of our family and friends. It was a magical, beautiful day – and of course, all about the birthday boy. We’ve been through so much over the past 12 years and I’m so incredibly proud of the person he is today and always was.
August 12: Today I called an old friend who I haven’t talked to in a couple years. As I get older it’s easier to fall out of touch with people and the more time that passes, the more anxious I feel about reaching out. Plus, the phone has always made me anxious for some weird reason. As it turned out, she was home and quite happy to hear from me (although I bet surprised too!). I had it in my mind that she was going to be mad at me since we haven’t spoken in so long, but it turned out she felt just as bad about it as I did. We had a lovely catch up and now have plans to get together for lunch sometime this fall. I hate to think that I could have lost this friendship because I was afraid to make that call and I’m so glad I did. I have a few other friends and family I want to reach out to and hope to do so over the next month.
August 13: Today, a couple “smaller” fears were tackled, but tackled nonetheless. First off, as you may have read in today’s post, I tackled my long-time fear of making a balsamic reduction. I felt like a culinary goddess. ‘Nough said. Secondly, I faced a fear while on a walk last night. Eric and I were walking on a very dark trail in the woods when all of a sudden a few animals ran out just a few feet ahead of us. I literally couldn’t see anything – it was pitch black. Normally, I would’ve wanted to turn around in the opposite direction, but I continued on even though I was scared of not seeing where the animals were. As it turned out on our way back, the scary “predators” were 3 of the cutest bunny rabbits you’ve ever seen. bahaha. My bravery clearly has no bounds.
August 14: Lunch dates with new friends – you can bet I’m anxious beforehand, but I always seem to have a wonderful time. Today, I met up with a colleague in the publishing industry I’ve gotten to know over the past several months. As always, I was super nervous beforehand, but the meeting went very well. We chatted away the better part of 2.5 hours and I just completely lost myself in the conversation. It felt so good to really enjoy myself without worrying or feeling nervous and it renewed my hope that I can accomplish all my goals even in spite of feeling anxious. As many of you have mentioned in the comments, it’s OK to allow oneself to feel the fear and do it anyways. Instead of trying to resist my fear like I’ve done for so long, I’m trying my best to recognize it for what it is and then do it anyways. Actually, on the drive there I said to myself, “I feel nervous and that’s ok..I’m going anyways!” quite liberating to say. I also drove through downtown Toronto in rush hour traffic – another thing I fear, but I survived. ;)
Drop me a line and let me know how you’re doing!
August 15: Today I said yes to a social/business opportunity that I normally would have declined due to anxiety of meeting a whole group of new people. When I thought about it more, I realized wanting to decline was even more reason to say YES. This month, I’m monitoring the things I’m resisting and then trying to do them anyways. So far, nothing bad has happened! This opportunity is exactly something that I need to do. Even though the thought of it really scares me, I have to believe that it will go well and I will probably be so glad that I went. Plus, it’s only for a few hours. I can get through anything that is only a few hours. Next time you find yourself resisting something you fear, ask yourself why you are resisting it. Once I confronted my anxious thoughts, I was able to realize that even despite them, I could still do it. Feel the fear and do it anyways – it’s becoming a new motto this month, thanks to your comments!
August 16: It’s getting pretty annoying to scroll down this list, sorry about that guys. Next time, I’ll know to set this up better! Who knew I was going to write a book on this challenge. hah. Anyway! Today. I saw the psychologist again for appointment no 2. Naturally, I was anxious beforehand and a bit during. She asked me how things are going and what my biggest struggle is lately. That was easy – aside from the anxiety stuff – I’ve really been struggling with balancing my work/personal life. The cookbook has basically consumed my life this spring/summer and I’m not close to where I wanted to be at this point in the year. We came up with a few strategies to help – one of which is setting more frequent deadlines. I love this idea and hadn’t done that yet. It’s much easier to break things into small chunks than have one huge looming deadline, right? As soon as I got home, I got to work on a plan. I pinned down a handful of summer recipes to finish by the end of August. It’s a bit of a lofty goal, but a goal nevertheless. After that, we went over some of the measures I filled out and talked about my anxiety more. She described anxiety as being “wave-like”, which I found very helpful to visualize. Picture anxiety as a huge wave – as anxiety builds in your body/mind, the wave grows and grows until the anxiety is very intense and nearing the peak. This is when I – and many of you who suffer from anxiety – BAIL, run, freak out, cancel, feel nauseous….throw in whatever word you want for avoiding the situation! However, if you can learn to just push through the build up of of anxiety (or in a sense, “ride the wave!”) eventually the wave will peak and your wave and anxiety will be on its way down. The body can only stay in that state of “flight or fight” for so long physically until it has to return to a calmer state. It’s similar to when someone is super angry and then cries to release all the emotion and calm down. The goal is to push through that wave of anxiety – ride the wave – and know that the anxiety will reduce on the other side. I find this to be so true with my own experiences. Before a social situation I often have this intense build up of anxiety that can start a week or longer in advance and gets worse as it gets closer. If I do manage to push through and go anyway, I often find my anxiety lessens as I’m exposed to the anxiety-provoking situation. Of course, there might be blips on the graph here and there (such as an awkward convo with someone that makes you anxious!), but for the most part getting over that initial hurdle is often the hardest part. As they say, (sometimes) the hardest part is showing up. All in all, a good appointment. I’m also working on breathing from my stomach area instead of my chest. It’s hard to relearn…I’m such a “crappy” breather. I think yoga is calling my name, wondering where I’ve been…
August 17: Did some yoga before bed last night. Felt sooo good, but man have I lost flexibility. My muscles have been super tight lately, which I wouldn’t expect since I haven’t had much time to workout lately. Along with breathing better, I’m going to try to do a bit of yoga daily – even just 10 minutes will help a lot. Back to Friday though! What a whirlwind yesterday was. As I mentioned, I finally made a plan of attack for the last two weeks of August. It consists of about 15 cookbook recipes in addition to blog recipes and photography, so needless to say, I’m going to be working my tail off 7 days a week to try and get my summer recipes complete. Once the summer produce is out of season, it’s out of season. Yesterday I started in the kitchen around 6:30am and I worked straight until about 9pm when I cleaned the last dish. If you saw my crazy kitchen picture on instagram yesterday, you feel my pain. It felt so good to sit down last night. The upside is that I got 3 cookbook recipes plus the photography done and the first trail for a 4th recipe. I’m getting sooooo excited to share the recipes with you. After yesterday’s successes, I am already feeling much better about things. Six recipes are planned for this weekend and I’m hoping those go well too. Organization is not my strong suit, but I’m hoping to keep working on it. While organizing often makes me feel more anxious initially to see everything that needs to be done, it does help reduce anxiety overall. There’s something to be said for having a PLAN with many small goals to keep ya going!
August 18: It appears that I fell off the face of the earth for a few days! This weekend was so busy I didn’t have a chance to update this page. On Saturday, I invited new friends over. We met briefly last month at a party and said that we should get together sometime. Well, all too often that never happens! I called them up earlier this week and invited them over on the weekend. We had a great time and now have plans to get together in September. If my anxiety had its way, I probably wouldn’t have taken the leap and called them, but I’m really glad I did. Plus, they got to taste test a bunch of cookbook appetizers!
August 19: On Sunday morning Eric and I went to a huge antique market in Guelph. I’m usually always anxious when it comes to negotiating a deal, but today I decided the fear I would overcome would be just this. I bought a handful of things for my blog photography and I negotiated the price with each vendor. It wasn’t that hard and sometimes it was actually fun (if the vendor was playful about it). I ended up saving over $25 dollars overall….so all in all, a success! PS- Can I just tell you about this amazing vintage Le Creuset pot I scored? It’s white with a pouring spout & has a lovely wooden handle with Le Creuset inscribed on it. major swoon. Hopefully you’ll see it in a soup post this fall!
August 20: Today I was asked to host an event in September at a festival. I’ll admit this sends my anxiety through the roof (!) but instead of flat out rejecting the idea, I thought about all the positives that could come out of it. I asked for more info and if it’s a good fit, I’m hoping to move forward with it!
August 21: Hot yoga was accomplished tonight. I haven’t been great for keeping up with yoga lately, so today my goal was to take a hot yoga class. It always helps with anxiety. I’ve been avoiding one of the studios near me because the rooms are really small and you are literally on top of the people around you. The first time I tried this studio it was during a 30 day challenge, so the studio was literally PACKED with people. If I stuck out my arm or leg too far I would nearly hit someone if I wasn’t careful. Needless to say, it was difficult to “zone out” in this class with someone’s head up your rear. hah. I didn’t try many classes at the studio after that. My goal for today was to go back to that same studio that made me uncomfortable and do it anyways. As it turned out, the studio wasn’t busy at all this time. I guess with it being summer and not having a challenge going on, things calm down a lot. I had a great class and will certainly be back!
August 22: Today I had my 3rd therapy appointment. The session went so, so well. I feel like I hit my groove and lightbulb moments were happening left and right. Natural conversation flowed, we laughed, and I had so many insights throughout the hour. The first two appointments were a bit heavy, but this session was so uplifting and encouraging. My therapist wants me to set an alarm on my phone to go off every half hour or hour to remind me to stop work and do some deep breathing. I really like this idea because so far I’m not remembering to breathe properly on my own and I rarely take breaks throughout the work day. I also downloaded a free breathing app called “Breathe2Relax” that guides you through breathing exercises. This brings my lifetime app count to 3? I’m on a roll. Breathe2Relax is a pretty basic concept, but hopefully I will get some use out of it. If any of you reading have any fun apps to share, pass them along! (edited to add a week later: I can’t seem to remember to use this breathing app!)
PS- How is it August 22nd already??
August 23: In every relationship, there’s usually a messy person and a tidy person. Am I right? Eric has always been the tidy one in the relationship (bless his soul…) and for some reason he puts up with me ploughing through rooms like a tornado. In the spirit of this, today’s fear was tackling my closet! Well, we share the closet and Eric’s side is always so tidy and organized while mine has clothes strung about, on the floor, stuff thrown on the top shelf. From time to time, he’ll look over at my side and shake his head saying, “Maybe you’d be able to find something to wear if you didn’t throw your clothes on the floor…” He does have a point! Tonight, I got to business and spent a couple hours getting things organized again. It now looks better than Eric’s side – score! How long will this last? We shall see. Tomorrow, I’m targeting my dish cabinet. And soon, the kitchen cupboards. It’s bad. Real bad.
August 24: Tonight we were on our way to a friend’s house and we drove by our old house for the first time since we moved in March. Even though we both think the move was great for us and love our new area, there are many things we miss about our old place of course. I avoided driving by because I didn’t want to feel sad when I saw someone else living there. I imagined it would feel a bit like seeing an ex boyfriend with a new girlfriend – you kinda want to see them together, but then again you don’t. Anyway, Eric suggested that we drive by and I reluctantly agreed. I’m not sure what we were expecting, but what we saw was nothing like we hoped. The house looked run down really showing its age and the lawn was unkempt with huge weeds everywhere. My heart sank. That wasn’t the same house that we left. Well, it was, but now it was theirs to take care of. Maybe it’s easier to let go of this way. I’ll have to drive by again at the peak of fall. There’s no way that house can look anything but magical during that time of the year.
August 25: I’m not sure if I did anything that scared me today (or maybe my anxiety is decreasing?), but it was a fun day. I went to the St Jacob’s farmer’s market for the first time in YEARS (since I was probably 12!) and it was a lot of fun. I bought zucchini and a huge bag of beets. I also went out with Ange to celebrate her birthday at a nice restaurant nearby. It was so nice to catch up and visit with a dear friend. Edited to add: I just remembered I organized my dish cabinet today!
August 26: We got some sad news last week – a close family member’s cancer has come back and will have to undergo chemo for 3 months starting in early September. :( It’s hard to believe as we get older how many of our loved ones have been impacted by this horrible disease. I know he will get through it though. He is an amazing person and has such a positive outlook on things. Today we went to visit them at their new house in Toronto. It was so good to see him in great spirits despite everything going on. Eric is going to go over to help with the renos they’ve been working on, so hopefully that will help alleviate some stress.
August 27: I contacted a non-profit food organization that I’ve been hoping to get involved with, but have put it off because I was nervous about the social aspect of it all. The organizer was so helpful and welcoming and I was instantly at ease as I found out how it all worked. Unfortunately, they are all booked up in 2012, but I hope to organize an event in 2013. I’ll be sure to post info on the blog if any of you are interested in finding out more or attending! It will probably be in Burlington.
August 28: My goal today was to dine solo. Anxiety is a funny thing – I get nervous in social situations, but I also get nervous when I’m all alone and have no one to lean on for support. Go figure. I think I’ve been out to eat by myself only a couple times in my entire life, so today I set a goal to go out for a meal by myself. No friend, no Eric, no phone, no work to distract me. Just me enjoying a meal and my own company. At first I felt really strange sitting at the table alone – almost as if I was being stood up. I was the only person in the restaurant solo. After 15 minutes, I felt more comfortable and really just focused on enjoying my meal and taking time to take in my surroundings. I ended up having a great time…it was empowering in a weird way!
August 29: Today I had my annual OB/GYN appointment. I always manage to work myself up and feel majorly anxious beforehand, but it’s always a breeze! Why can’t I remember this? It takes all of 2 mins and then it’s over. Another appointment to check off the list. It’s amazing how much better I feel when I tackle something that’s been on my mind for a while.
August 30: My goal today was to introduce myself to one of our neighbours. We have only said a quick hello in passing, so I figured a good challenge was to head over and strike up a convo complete with some desserts in tote! It wasn’t as scary as I imagined and they were so so nice and welcoming. We spoke for about 10 minutes and I was on my way! Easy as pie.
August 31: The last day of the challenge! I can’t believe how fast this month went. Looking back on each day feels good and I have definitely noticed an improvement in my anxiety. I am doing so many things that I normally would avoid out of fear. It’s amazing how things get easier even after just doing it once or twice. I hope to continue this challenge into the fall. While I might not do something every single day, I think 1-2 weekly goals might be a good way to go about it. Anyway, today was our 4th year anniversary and Eric surprised me with a trip to BC mid-Sept! I haven’t been before and we’ve been talking about going all summer long, but just didn’t have time to go. I had completely forgotten about it and was so shocked when he surprised me. The catch was that I had to agree to going ZIPLINING in Whistler AND walk a crazy high suspension bridge! He’s cruel!!! After some hesitation, I figured it would be a great way to end the Aug challenge. So you’ll have to wait and see if I do it, but I will report back 3rd week of Sept…
I may come back a new woman.
Thank you to all of you for your amazing comments & support over the month of August. You never cease to amaze me and be a constant inspiration in my life. Congrats for all the fears you challenged! Whether it was 1 or 31, every fear overcome is a huge step in the right direction.
One of my biggest lessons this month:
I don’t have to resist fear or push it away. It’s ok to FEEL the fear for what it is, but do it anyways! Sometimes addressing the fear rather than trying to ignore it is more beneficial in the long run.
What did you learn?