Today I’m 47. Every year for my birthday I do something to scare myself. It’s like having a bucket list, only instead of doing 100 things at once and dropping dead I do one thing per year and then eat cake.
That’s what I do, but did I ever tell you why I do this?
Why Birthday Goals?
I was cleaning out my father’s desk. He died when I was 28. I pulled out a slip of paper. “New Year Resolution 1991 – Start my own business.” I smiled. You wanted to start your own business, Dad? I found another piece of paper. “New Year Resolution 1992 – Start my own business.” 1993, 94, 95. Year after year. Start my own business. Start my own business. Start my own business.
It was never the right time. He would do it when he retired. One year before he was supposed to retire he died of kidney cancer and his hopes of starting his own business died with him.
Don’t get me wrong – my dad had a wonderful life. He had a family and friends that loved him and his co-workers did too. But looking at those papers broke my heart. At the end of your life what will you regret more – trying something that failed or never trying at all?
When you try something that scares you you might fail. But maybe you’ll fly.
Last Year’s Birthday Scare
My birthday scare has led me to run marathons, jump out of planes, do five minutes of stand up comedy and learn the lift from Dirty Dancing.
I’m trying to turn my memoir into a movie script. It has proven really, really scary, so I converted my goal to writing a one woman show. That way at least I could make progress.
The pandemic threw a monkey wrench in that, because theaters are not open. But that’s like a freebie valid extension in my book! And I did make progress. The play is going to be 90 minutes. I wrote the core 30 minute version and ACTUALLY PERFORMED IT!!! On Zoom, to a mostly friendly crowd. They said they are looking forward to the full version and would legit pay for tickets to see it. I have a director lined up and he is also helping me edit the script.
So, it’s not done, but I’ve made progress. I can’t wait to get back to being an actress/writer again! So that was 46.
This Year’s Birthday Scare
Now that I’m 47 I’m doing another goal that has been lingering in my brain for decades. I’m writing my first novel!! It’s going to be a series (3-5 books) and is like Outlander meets Succession. I might have to throw in some sex scenes a la Bridgerton.
The first draft manuscript is done!!! I’m now in the tedious portion of self-editing before I send it off to a real editor/agent. Even though I’ve self-published three books, I’m actually going to try the traditional path (something I’ve never even attempted before because I hate/fear rejection.) At some point I will be brave enough to post the first chapter on my blog.
So there it is. I might fail. But maybe I’ll fly.
Lisa Traugott is a personal trainer, Mom’s Choice Award writer, original cast member of FOX/John Cena’s “American Grit” and has a monthly fitness column on Bowflex.com.
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