Another thing I hate is scary movies - I'm prone to vivid dreams and horror films only encourage nightmares. However, I am a big fan of doing things that scare me in other ways. I was reminiscing with my friend Rebekah recently about when we did a bungee jump for my 28th birthday. I still get an anxious feeling in my chest when I think about standing with my toes over the edge of the high platform, with my ankles tied together by an elastic band. I can still relive every moment: the few seconds of free-fall, the rope stretching, the ground rushing closer, the doubt in my mind, and a scream escaping my lips. Then the bounce. I knew I was safe as I soared upwards, only to plummet once again. The adrenaline, the sense of achievement at over coming my fears, and ticking something off the bucket list - that's what I loved about it.
So why do it? If these experiences induce so much fear then why bother? Well, firstly it is impossible to entirely avoid an experience that scares you. And as we know, practice makes perfect - so the more times you do something that scares you, the better you'll get at dealing with it. That's not to say that the experience is any less scary - only that you know you managed before, so you'll have more confidence that you'll manage again. Secondly, once you get over the scary part, the thing you're doing is hopefully worth it! After my traumatic 11 hour flight (I tried to drink myself to sleep with gin and white wine but just ended up tearing up at all the films I watched), I looked after super cute baby monkeys, met wonderful people and saw giraffes on safari. The second yoga class is always less scary than the first because you know where things are and you can enjoy the experience of practising with a new teacher with fresh perspectives and ideas. As for starting a new job - every day you get to prove how good you are and every day you'll get a little less lost (teaching in a big secondary school where all the floors look the same takes a little longer, I assure you).
But what about joining a new club? You'll be nervous the first time, you might get lost, not know where to put things and need to ask for help. But being part of a new community is well worth that initial step. If you're the kind of person that finds new situations difficult then you can work at getting better. I used to get self conscious dining alone. What if people think I'm a loser and haven't got any friends? The truth is, most people won't even look at you, let alone think you're a loser. Bring a book and a notebook and busy yourself with people watching or reading. I know I go on about this, but JOIN A CLUB! Cycling from London to Windsor sounds quite daunting doesn't it? Join a cycling club and most of the planning is done for you and there'll be people around if something doesn't go entirely smoothly. (Search Pedalling Girl Gang on Facebook if you identify as female and want to actually cycle to Windsor).
Don't let fear stand in the way of trying something new and awesome! Whatever level of scared you're at, challenge yourself to do something you really want anyway. London-based folk are welcome to join me on adventures so we can be scared together. Keep an eye on my facebook page for events, or contact me using the form above. Let me know what scares you - comment below.