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The Exuberant Woman Challenge

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

       I came across a book at a garage sale entitled “The Succulent Wild Woman” by SARK.  I was completely intrigued by the colorful pages and the title and purchased the book.  Two days later, I had inhaled the book, hardly putting it down.  Reading this book led me to explore other books and to think about my life.  I believe that this is a new chapter in my life, and when I came across Mrs. Roosevelt’s quote, something stirred in me to challenge myself to live a richer, fuller, more exuberant life.  Thus, the first annual exuberant Woman Challenge was born.

       So, what is the exuberant Woman Challenge?  The challenge is a personal one for me - the purpose is to challenge myself.  The word exuberant means joyously unrestrained and enthusiastic, according to Merriam-Webster.  For me, it means living without fear, trying new things, accepting who I am, changing things I need to change and living a juicy life.

       Several weeks of research and careful planning have gone into preparing for this challenge.  What did I want to change?  What was I willing to try?  How would I be held accountable to the challenge?  And that, dear readers, is where you come in.  By writing about the challenge every week, you will hold me accountable.  Perhaps some of you will write to me with encouraging messages or suggestions of things to try.  In the recent past, I have been stopped on the street as someone comments on my stories.  I enjoy the comments, even the critical ones.  Maybe some of you will even be inspired to start your own challenges.

       I have made a preliminary list of things to work on, things to try, and things to accept.  I am overweight.  I accept that, but it is also something I want to change.  I have recently (this week) began being more active and trying to eat better.  Past experience has taught me that I need a goal to strive toward in order to stick with something.  My current goal is to train for the first annual Princess Warrior Walk, a 5k, which will happen on September 28.  The event is in memory of Jane Fiemeyer, who lost her battle with Leukemia last September at the age of 8.

       Though I only met Jane once at a benefit for her, I was so awed by this brave girl.  The campaign for Jane to meet One Direction, and the aftermath of her tragic death showed me just how many lives Jane touched.  I want to honor Jane by completing my first ever 5k, running.  I have begun walking my dogs and riding my bike, eating healthier and building my strength and endurance.

       Adventure has always been a part of my life.  I have a personality in which I love to learn and seek out new challenges and adventures.  That part of me has been dormant for the last few years and I decided it was time for me to embrace that part of me.  My ideas so far are to take a solo-cation (sounds heavenly to me, no one else to consult and do whatever I want), getting lost in my car, eating dinner out alone, buying myself flowers regularly, singing karaoke sober, taking a self-defense class (if I can find one), eat cake for breakfast, and stop apologizing so much.  I also want the courage to say no more often and to set boundaries that protect me from running myself ragged.  This might be the biggest challenge, because it makes me incredibly happy to help and give to others.  Learning to say no is hard.

       I want to complete one thing on my list and write about the adventure each week through the rest of 2013.  I am completely open to suggestions.  My one caveat is that I am not ready to eat strange foods yet, or do something dangerous as I am the sole provider for my children.  Please, send me your suggestions and I will make every effort to include them in my challenge.  Let the first annual Exuberant Woman Challenge commence.