I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time this past weekend – which was equal parts exhilarating and unnerving. Lots of traffic, stunning views, fog rolling in OVER the cars (it’s super cool!), and people walking everywhere. Plus I was driving a rental car, which is always less comfortable than your own car.
It was a little nerve wrecking, but so worth the trip. Especially once I arrived in beautiful Mill Valley and enjoyed a lovely afternoon poolside with an old friend. I can’t believe I even considered for a moment NOT going. But I seriously did. It was a long drive, alone, in a city I barely know.
“You’re the LAST person I’d expect to be nervous about doing that,” said my ex-roommate, Amruta, who knows me pretty well.
“Seriously?” I asked. “I’m always nervous the first time I do anything!”
Like today, I was taking the Caltrain into San Francisco for the first time (which is like Metro North for New Yorkers), and I was a little nervous about getting on the right side of the tracks, figuring out the machine to buy my ticket, and getting on the train. I’ve done it hundreds of times in New York, but this was my first time here. Plus, once I got into San Francisco, I had to figure out where I was going and how to get there. Every aspect of the entire day was a “first time.”
My adrenaline was racing, and I could feel the fear of SO much being unknown. As the nice guy behind the coffee counter was rattling through the list of fancy drink names for me, I was kinda short with him.
“Just give me whatever is an iced decaf coffee. Please.”
I was clearly a little on edge.
I don’t think I’m any less nervous than Amruta, or anyone else, the first time I do anything. I just do it anyway – which is the key.
If I didn’t, I never would have left home, moved to Chicago alone, found a job, quit that job to pursue a singing career, moved to New York with my boyfriend and tried my luck as an advertising copywriter. Among a million other things.
Some time ago I learned to live by the motto “Feel the fear and do it any way.” Which has served me well. (That and being raised by super supportive parents who have always encouraged me to try new things.) Because everything in life is scary the first time. New jobs, relationships, cities, cars, apartments…
Luckily, there’s only one 1st time for all those things.
Then once you’ve done it, your world gets a little bigger, and a whole lot brighter. And each time you feel a little braver. For the next “first time.”