I don’t want to alarm you but it’s almost the end of 2014. Like in six short, sweet weeks we’ll be raising our of glasses of champagne to an entirely new year and kissing our 2014 accomplishments — and failed resolutions — good-bye. For me, 2014 has been one of the best years, both in its many adventures and its infinite challenges to grow, evolve, and discover. For me, there is no better feeling than proving myself wrong, whether it be running that extra mile I thought was impossible, climbing to the top of Half Dome, or acing that interview I thought resembled something of a bad date. It’s true when they say your greatest limitation — Oh god, this is so cheesy! The cheese is melting everywhere! — is you. So here’s to proving yourself wrong many times over and taking these 11 risks along the way.
Rent an Airbnb, pack up a backpack, and book a month in a city you’ve always dreamed of visiting. Yes, be cautious when traveling alone but don’t let your solo status hinder you from taking in the culture and life around you.
2. Ask someone on a date.
A friend date counts in my book but whether you’re asking a crush or future best friend to grab drinks, making the first move will give you the ultimate sense of empowerment. And if they say no, good riddance! At least you find out sooner rather than later they’re not worthy of your time.
3. Be the loudest laugh in the room.
Don’t apologize for the things that make you laugh! At work, the videos that make me laugh hysterically hard are the same things my coworkers won’t even crack a smile at. Does that stop me from laughing till my glasses fog up? Not in the least.
4. Negotiate a raise.
Negotiations are the best and worst of times rolled into one. I literally can offer no advice because I’m the worst with them. I get tongue-tied, super stressed, and worst of all, sweaty. But each negotiation has gotten easier and there is a huge sense of accomplishment that comes from advocating for yourself. It’s a skill we have to learn sooner or later so we might as well start now. Show us the money!
5. Unplug from social media for an entire week or weekend.
Whenever I travel to the mountains, I make a point of turning off my phone for almost the entire trip. This not only inspires me to live in the moment, but helps me realize the importance of communication outside of social media and technology. I know it’s crazy but writing and receiving mail is one of my favorite things of all time so might I recommend putting that phone on silent and striking up a penpal. Those urgent texts — they’re never urgent, lets be honest — can wait.
6. Adopt a pet.
The best thing I ever did.
7. Attempt to meet a friend halfway between your two homes NOT using technology.
For the first episode of their show The Art Assignment, John and Sarah Green encouraged people to produce art by taking to the road and meeting a friend in the middle of their two locations. The show’s premise is to expand viewer’s ideas of art through interviews with artists and projects for each fan to engage with. Especially as a person who can’t get anywhere without a GPS, I love this idea of unplugging and going off the beaten path to meet a friend for drinks in a forest. But more than that, be creative with your outings and travel away from the movie theater and Starbucks. They will always be waiting for you if things go wrong.
8. Get a tattoo.
Yes, it will hurt. Yes, it will be worth it.
9. Try a sport you believe you will be horrible at and stick with it for six months.
Whether you’ve always wanted to run a marathon, take a hip hop class, or become a skilled archer, there has been no better time to sign up than right now. It’s true you will be awful at first but isn’t that the best part? You’re putting yourself out there and one day, after many dance classes, you’ll realize hey, I’m not so bad at this anymore. You’ll be surprised what your body can accomplish when you don’t let those mental roadblocks standing in your way.
10. Take yourself out on a date, including dinner.
I absolutely savor my time alone. After working with a bunch of people all day, there is nothing I love more than coming home, playing with the cats, and absorbing the silence of my home. And while I love being around my friends and family, every once in a while it’s nice to go solo to a movie or dinner and simply sit and enjoy my own company. If this sounds too much like a lesson from Sex and the City, that’s because it is, and it’s a lesson we all need to start learning.
11. Tell someone how much you admire them.
It’s always been important to me that I let the people I love know how much I care for them. Friends, coworkers, role models, family, I never want to regret not telling people how much they influenced my life in a positive way. Yes, it can be weird at times, but there is really no situation when someone isn’t happy to receive hear the sweet words of praise.
^^ If this man can climb an iceberg, you have no excuse as to why you can’t take a risk yourself. ^^