It won't kill you

Two florets of broccoli

"It won't kill you." That was the recurring phrase my mostly absent, skilless parents used whenever my brother or I expressed fear or apprehension about tasting, trying, or exploring anything new in our lives — from eating broccoli to learning to drive, asking a teacher for something we needed, or punching a bully out to make him leave us alone.

The problem was, many of the things they promised "wouldn't kill us" actually could have easily killed us — like my father telling me to stick a metal fork in an electrical outlet, or to "bite" down on a lightbulb (small) in my mouth, to picking up poisonous snakes, or letting him shoot cans off of our heads with a .22 rifle. Yeah, they were pretty much both candidates for the worst parents of the century award. However, they did instill in me the practice of asking myself, "What's the worst that could happen?" Fortunately, I learned that while there are a lot of things that can/might/will kill you, there are millions more that won't. It won't kill you to:

  • Eat a meal alone in a restaurant and enjoy your own company

  • Try a new food you've never tasted before. You can spit it out if you don't like it.

  • To read a book no one has recommended and that is not on a best seller list

  • To judge and buy (or not) a book by its cover

  • Entertain a thought, belief, or idea different from that of your friends, colleagues, or clients

  • Say "no" to things you don't want to do — like go out, hang out, drink, drug, go to boring social events where you don't know anyone

  • Try a new food you haven't tasted before (allergies not withstanding of course)

  • Learn a new sport or skill and enjoy it even if you suck at it

  • Write a book

  • Make a friend

  • Learn to use a power tool. I recommend drills, chop saws, and jig saws.

  • Build something — a bookcase, a birdhouse, a club

  • Start a blog

  • Go back to school

  • Ask that guy or gal you have a crush on out for coffee or dinner

  • Say "No," to your boss and set some new boundaries in your life

  • Take a class at a community college

  • Ride a horse

  • Pet a farm animal

  • Play a board game in a public place - like a bar or restaurant (many now offer patrons such things)

  • Learn to fix something on your car — like your brakes, a starter, a solenoid, a radiator or replace your wiper blades, headlights, or the thing that raises your windows up and down (I've done all those things and more).

There's a lot in this world that you don't know you'll enjoy, or fall in love with until you try it. For me, the latest was Chai Tea Lattes. The name turned me off for decades. So I never tried one until a friend insisted I do. I fell in love with them and now have 1-2 a day, every day. I even put Chai Tea in my coffee. Trying it didn't kill me, it enhanced my life.

If you've wanted to write a book, start it. It won't kill you. It'll stretch you, scare you, and make you think and feel differently, but it won't kill you. I promise.

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