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My Year of Eleanor Roosevelt

By December 31, 2017 No Comments

This time last year we were all shouting that 2016 had been the WORST YEAR EVER. All the celebrities had died! Hillary lost! Everything was awful! To shift the focus to more of the positive, 12 months ago I shared a list of all the wonderful things that had happened in the world that year and all the things I had achieved, little or big.

Little did we, as a global community, know what was in store for 2017. A big, hairy, rollercoaster of a year where the worlds leaders compared sizes of their nukes and our local leaders all realised they were ineligible for parliament. But, it was also a year where I actively tried to stop focusing on big, externally impressive, achievements as measures of success. The pressure I had been putting on myself to win the next award, get the next trophy and finish some imaginary race first… it had become unhealthy.

So, on the last day of the year, I sat down by my favourite beach in the world and I wrote a list of all the things I did in 2017 that scared me. I had thought it would be a handful of dot points, but once I started it turned out to be pages and pages long.

It turns out, 2017 was my year of embracing Eleanor Roosevelt.

You see, among all the remarkable things Eleanor gave us, she said: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it. You must make yourself succeed every time. You must do the thing you think you cannot do”

Here’s a list of the things I realised I had done. I’m a better person for them all. Lets continue to do things that scare us in 2018.
THINGS THAT SCARED THE SHIT OUT OF ME IN 2017
  • Got my wisdom teeth out – conquering my fear of the dentist. Dentists are much better than they were in my childhood.
  • Got a tattoo – been wanting to do it since 1997. Now I want more, lets see where this ends up in 2018.
  • Got a motorbike license and screamed HOOLLLYYY SHIT the first time I rode down Parramatta Rd at 70kmh with my L plate flapping on the back.
  • Bought a Vespa. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I love it so much I get sad each time its I have to turn into my street and get off the bike
  • I have a mantra of going somewhere I’ve not been before every year. This year I travelled solo through Nashville, Memphis, Ho Chi Minh, Hoi An, Hanoi and Sapa. While some days it does scare me, travelling alone is one of my favourite things to do and if you’re privileged enough to have the resources and ability to do so, GET ON IT.
  • I escaped a typhoon in Hoi An. That was scary as all shit and not at all fun to do alone.
  • Completed a 6 hour trek through the Vietnamese mountains with the women of the Black Moon Tribe
  • Quit drinking alcohol for the majority of the year. Turns out I don’t need alcohol and don’t like it very much
  • Prioritised my physical and mental health above everything. (Most of the time.)
  • I joined the women of the world and marched the streets of Wisconsin in the Women’s March and shouted THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE. It felt really good to get angry about all the shit that’s been going on for far too long.
  • Invested heavily in my mental health. Talking to someone is always a good idea
  • Inspired by Wonder Woman, I took up Body Pump. Lifting weights feels amazing and strong and powerful and is fun. Also, I can now totally kick your ass.
  • I said no to things I didn’t want to do and stopped doing things out of obligation. Turns out, hanging out at home is really great
  • Fronted an 80’s cover band and publicly showed a side of myself that, these days, I mostly keep for myself and close friends
  • I set some boundaries in my relationships and said goodbye to some that were no longer healthy
  • I embraced my personal feminism and took a very public stance on that
  • I went all in for some big opportunities that did not come off. And that was ok
  • Stopped attaching my work to my identity
  • Shared stories and ideas with an incredible group of women and discovered that yes, #metoo, #ustoo, but that no one is alone and that humans must be honest and vulnerable with each other if we want to thrive.
  • I lost 10 kilos and then put 5 back on. That is also ok.
  • I faced the reality of our collective mortality through the death of two very dear friends. One very sudden, one a long time coming. Life is too precious and too short to shy away from shining your light as bright as it can be.
  • I bought my first ever bikini… and wore it in public. Guess what gets you a bikini body? You buy a bikini and you put it on your body.
  • Stopped buying shit I don’t need and gave so much away to charity. I had too much stuff. I really don’t need that many shoes or clothes – none of us do.
  • Got a piano in an effort to reignite the 15 years of music lessons I had. It’s not like riding a bike. I’m slow to remember and my playing is CLUNKY AF, but it feels like reuniting with a very old, dear friend.
  • Went to several calling parties for the YES campaign for marriage equality, I had difficult but respectful conversations with people who’s ideas differed from my own. We all need to step away from the screen and sit with those different from us to have these kinds of conversations more. Let’s get out of our bubbles. It’s hard to hate someone up close.

And finally….

  • I went to an Adele Vs Beyonce Soul Cycle class in LA. I wasn’t as bad at it as I thought I was going to be and it was so much fun I’m counting down the days until I am back there this month and I can go again.
Through all of that, and not all of it was as easy as typing it into this little blog, I thoroughly believe I’m greeting 2018 as a much wiser, happier, present, open and honest person than I was 12 months ago and I am so grateful for the wonderful tribe, scattered around the world, that I get to share that with.
Happy New Year everyone. Here’s to doing more shit that scares us.