When some women turn 50, they get Botox. They go on a cruise or to Vegas. Some get a new husband. Me? I bought a scooter. Why? Because I always wanted one and turning 50 to me meant that I would no longer put off the things I’ve always wanted.
To me, scooters looked really fun and cool. I imagined myself riding around town with the wind in my hair and feeling very carefree. I thought that I would stuff my dress and high heels into a backpack and arrive to work in my downtown CLE office with the relaxed look of a woman who had spent her commute feeling at one with the road.
What I did not consider was that I would be TERRIFIED!! OMG… without the steel enclosure of a car to protect me, I felt incredibly vulnerable in traffic. The wind did not blow through my hair because I had a helmet strapped tightly under my chin. To make matters worse, that ODOT-approved skull protector was not designed with any thought to fashion or coolness.
Gone were the Malibu Barbie tank top and cutoff jean shorts for summer riding. I donned long pants and sleeves to protect me from errant rocks that seem to come at me from nowhere. Flip flops? Nope. They were replaced by sturdy and sensible shoes. And forget Ray-Ban Wayfarers. They won’t fit under the helmet. My geekdom has no limits on my little “bike” and goggle-like glasses became my friend!
But more importantly, not only am I afraid, but I face a fear every time I ride it. Even in the helmet and with the protective gear, I feel a freedom that is hard to describe. Though not in my hair, the breeze feels great. Through my long sleeves, I can still feel the sun on my back. And I return home feeling like 50 will never hold me back from doing what I want to do.
We all have a collection of fears. Some are big and some small. To be truly empowered, we have to practice facing them. Like a muscle, every time you face a fear, you grow stronger.
So, I issue this challenge to all the SheInTheCLE.com readers…
Let’s call it the “Face Your Fear” Challenge. Pick a fear and race toward it–chest out, shoulders back and eyes forward. Because conquering fear gets easier every time you do it. Start small and pick something measurable and realistic. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Speak up in a meeting where you feel intimidated
- Plan a solo vacation
- Sit in the front row of spin class
- Walk into a cocktail reception where you know not one person and work the room like you own it
- Buy the (insert thing you’ve always wanted here)
Inspiration is contagious. I would love to hear what challenge you faced! I guarantee, someone reading this blog has faced it and we can all inspire and encourage each other. You can do it. No doubt.
In the meantime, if you see a lady on the west side riding sensibly, going the speed limit (if not slightly below), please give her plenty of clearance and maybe a thumbs up when you blow by her. She may not be hell on wheels, but she is hell bent on conquering her fears!