Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"Do one thing every day that scares you."- Eleanor Roosevelt

That quote, by Eleanor Roosevelt, inspired the memoir, My Year With Eleanor by Noelle Hancock.  Noelle had just been laid off from her job as an "entertainment blogger", and realized she was needing a lifestyle change.  But she feared change- and so many other things! She then ran across this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt and felt inspired to embark on a yearlong adventure in being courageous.
On her 29th birthday, and for that entire year until she turned 30, she vowed to do one thing each day that scared her.

The author weaved in a lot of fascinating information about Eleanor Roosevelt throughout the book, as well as inspiring quotes from her at the beginning of each chapter. Fortunately, there is a reading list at the back of the book, of recommended books about Eleanor.  I, for one, can't wait to learn more about her after just getting my feet wet with this one.

Beyond all the quotes and stories about Eleanor, Noelle wrote about many of the scary things she did during that year. Some were big time scary, like...
 *shark cage diving
 * attending trapeze school
Others seems on a slightly smaller scale of scary, like:
 *attending a silent retreat
 *calling up old boyfriends and asking what they thought of her
 *shadowing an employee of a funeral home

All of the chapters were pretty interesting and funny, but the ones I liked best were the challenges that weren't on the "death-defying" scale, but instead something just "outside of the box", that helped her learn more about herself.  I loved the chapter about the silent retreat. I SO identified with it.  So many people, like ME, distract themselves from truly being in the moment with things like Instagram and Facebook, and even reading books. Unplugging from all of that and just being silent sounds so hard, and out of the ordinary these days.  Just the thought of trying it myself makes me feel nervous. But it also seems valuable.

There's another chapter when Noelle signs up to compete in a stand up comedy contest. She was so nervous, that she feels ill and considers backing out of it.  But then, she gets up onstage- and she KILLS it!  She said it's just about the happiest she had EVER been! She was proud of herself, and feeling on top of the world, UNTIL the judging results came in. This chapter was a great one about the ridiculous expectations we put on ourselves that can sometimes ruin a great moment.

Sometimes it's hard letting go of a book you really loved reading...
For me, this book was so fun to read.  It was funny, thought provoking, interesting, and I now have a new hero in Eleanor Roosevelt.  I can't wait to read more about her, and I am so glad she inspired this interesting, "year with Eleanor" for Noelle Hancock.

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