I have been pretty timid for much of my life:
I didn’t speak to most adults until I was, like, eight … except for one of my uncles because he made me cotton candy (what can I say, positive reinforcement works).
I rarely do anything that would make me stand out or push me out of my comfort zone except for several questionable outfits I wore in high school that made me look like Christina Aguilera at the MTV Video Music Awards.
I have a great fear of being embarrassed, which means I hardly ever try anything new because I will inevitably be bad at it, try to make a joke because the risk of no one laughing is too great, or offer to drive my friends anywhere because I will absolutely get lost or have a severe traffic violation.
My inner workings of my mind can be quite dramatic.
But the moments in my life when I have been like Elsa and have just let it go and LIVED without worry, without concern, and without judgment are some of the greatest moments of my life.
- Finally saying yes to a date with my husband even though I didn’t think he was “my type” (btw, who knows that at 21-years-old?).
- Volunteering to be Shirley Temple (which involves singing in front of everyone) for a 7th grade history project even though I had never sang in front of anyone ever.
- Dressing up as Pippi Longstocking as Halloween in the 3rd grade even though I got royally picked on by the boys in my class.
- Going to the University of Wisconsin even though I’d never toured it.
- Giving a career in animal behavior and welfare a try even though I graduated with a degree in genetics, didn’t get paid a lot, and was treated like I didn’t have a “real job” by others for years.
- Moving to Wyoming even though we knew absolutely no one and nothing about the state.
- Saying yes to a job that I felt totally unqualified for and, rather than running, stepping up to the challenge.
- Becoming a dance teacher at age 30 even though I hadn’t danced since I was 18.
- Buying a house in Wisconsin even though I had never set foot inside of it.
- Signing up to run a half marathon even though I had never ran more than a mile in my entire life.
- Opening up my heart to becoming a mother even though I had no idea what I was doing, how it would change my life, and how it could end in heartbreak.
The fear, the embarrassment, and the worry that were present at the time that I said “Yes” to these adventures has been replaced with feelings of great pride - even for the events that were messy, didn’t go as planned, or that horrified me at the time.
Since having my daughter it has become even more clear to me the things I want her to learn from my example and the things I don’t. (Cue the sappy Hallmark music guys)
I want her to know that life is only as bold and as colorful as she dares to let it.
I want her to know that she will find amazing people in your life when she is vulnerable and open.
I want her to know that there are amazing things on the other side of fear.
I want her to know that she can accomplish great things if she is persistent.
I want her to know that there is no “perfect moment” other than right now.
I want her to learn all of these things because I am living, by example, to teach them to her every day.
In order for her to be all of those things, I have to be all of those things too. That little Dagny who finds her own hands so fascinating and can poop more than her body weight in a single sitting is the real inspiration for me to start this project.
Something else you should know about me … I am a List. Maker.
So to get started on this project I am making a list of fifty-six things I want to experience in the next fixty-six days.
That might make me crazy, but just call me Gnarls Barkley and join me on this, what is likely to be, an epic, sometimes embarrassing, always entertaining couple of months.
Summer Adventure List
Drink the newest Starbucks drink
Eat a crazy donut flavor
Go out for ice cream
Go to the zoo
Go to a movie by myself
Go to a local microbrewery
Take a hot yoga class
Get the best cupcake in town
Have family photos taken
Eat fresh fudge
Learn to grill
Throw an axe
Take a Mommy + Me yoga class
Take a Barre class
Spend the day shopping with my BFF
Take a garden yoga class
Go out for pizza
Take a walk in a local park
Drink a milkshake
Go out for happy hour
Eat something deep-fried
Go to a DIY class
Swim in a pool
Eat a popsicle
Take a Baby Art class
Take yoga on top of a mountain
Go to the library
Go to the aquarium
Take a brewery yoga class
Make homemade waffles
Go on a road trip
Run a 5k
Go to a small town festival
Go to a local coffee shop
Go to a local Farmers Market
Walk along the water
Ride a tractor
Go to a botanical garden
Get a mani/pedi
Play arcade games
Drink a smoothie
Have a snuggle party
Sit by a fire
Say Thank You
Go to a National Park
Visit a place I used to call home
Throw a doggie birthday party
Take an aerial yoga class