We all have goals and we all have fears about achieving them, but it's how we handle those fears that determine whether or not -- and how quickly -- we get there.
I made a bucket list of 40 must-do things when I was 20. Some were silly, small and very attainable, but there were three things on the bottom, italicized to signify "never-going-to-happen."
- Meet Sarah [McLachlan]
- Write for a magazine or newspaper
- Own a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes
On Nov. 11, 2011, I decided, thanks to my dear friend, to make a quick trip to see the Bryant Park Tree Lighting. Sarah McLachlan was performing. I am, as some may call it, obsessed with her. I call it being a fan. I grabbed my desk calendar page and a pen in the off chance she may be around for an autograph. On the way out, I turned to my husband: "She and I will be the greatest friends, I'll be so cool, calm and collected... or I may pass out, so tell her I love her."
After watching her perform in the pouring rain, she made her way off stage and I made my move. I "casually" walked over to the backstage area and waited -- 10... 20... 30 minutes. She finally emerged. At this point in the story, you're allowed to judge (as if you haven't already). I yelled out to her, "Sarah! Sarah!" The security guard told me to relax, but then whispered she'd be leaving another way. Like lightning, I ran to catch her on the way to her car.
There she stood, smiling at me, and there I stood, starstruck.
I played this scenario out a million times in my head, but my fear was holding me back. I couldn't believe she was right there.This was my moment. I mustered up my courage, pushed my fears aside and went for it.
I walked up to her, rapidly fired off a few admiring items and cried while she held my hand.
This was real life, people.
She graciously posed for pictures and signed my desk calendar page before heading off to her waiting car.
On Nov. 20, 2012, I opened my Kindle and downloaded Arianna Huffington's newest book. I had recently heard her speak and found her interesting and powerful, yet relatable. I decided this would be the book I would read during my trip to Europe with my husband for our 30th birthdays. I felt a connection with the words. Page by page, I read about women who went for their dreams. I read about Arianna facing her fear of aging and standing up for what she believed in throughout her career. I read about women taking chances, women who made me feel proud to be a woman. Women that were going through the same things I was.
"We're all one breath away from not being here," she told me. "I've tried to use my father's death and many untimely passings in my family as ways to remember how precious life is... as opposed to living in fear that something horrible might happen. Because indeed something horrible might happen, but all we can do is be grateful for the time we have here and make the most of it." -- Arianna Huffington, On Becoming Fearless... in Love, Work, and Life
This excerpt is bookmarked for life. At this point, I realized what I had to do. "Once I'm done with this book, I'm going to reach out to Arianna Huffington and thank her -- that will be the start of my journey to being fearless."
I wanted to thank her. She put my fears in writing and told me it was OK. I wanted to tell her that she was an inspiration to women with careers and women who have dreams of being more than the perfect wife and perfect mom.
As I turned to the last page of the book, I looked up and sighed. "Am I really going to email her?" I had to -- not emailing her went against everything I just read and the courage I just gained. I needed to be fearless.
That night, I turned to my husband and confessed: "Tomorrow I'm going to email Arianna Huffington about this book." That was it, I threw it out into the universe, and now it was real. The next morning, after what felt like 40 email drafts, I sent off a note to thank her.
Now, unless you live under a rock, you should know that Arianna Huffington is not a random author. She's a powerhouse. Go ahead, Google her.
One day shortly after my email, I received a reply.
On Saturday, April 6, 2013, I walked into Christian Louboutin's Madison Avenue boutique, red-sole heaven. I wanted to give myself a gift for ending my 20s with grace, paying off my debt and not having shopped for what felt like an eternity.
With my husband next to me, I tried on at least 20 pairs of shoes in every size and height, with platform and without. At one point, I sat in front of 10 pairs of shoes, wondering which one I liked best (I should note they were all black and patent leather.) To the average eye, you'd say they were all the same, to me, they couldn't be more different.
After 20 shoes, 10 catwalk spins and an attempt to walk in a 6-inch stiletto, I walked out of the boutique having purchased a classic black pump, with a platform.
All of these dates and moments, silly to you, signify important moments in my life. Crossing off three things that you felt were completely unattainable, be it because of fear, age, or doubt is empowering.
Sarah McLachlan, Arianna Huffington and a pair of Louboutins changed my life. In those heels, with this blog, and that autograph as a reminder, I feel like anything is possible.
"I wanna leave my footprints on the sand of time, know there was something that meant I left something behind, when I leave this world, I'll leave no regrets, leaving something to remember, so they won't forget, I was here ... I've done everything that I wanted, and it was more than I thought it would be, I will leave my mark so everyone will know, I was here." -- Beyonce, "I Was Here"