The List


My List of 50 Fears 

This is my list of 50 fears. When I made it—or I should say scrawled it on a legal pad in a fevered, 10 minutes of nauseating stream-of-consciousness—I was just a few days short of my 50th birthday. I had been reeling at the idea of turning 50, but then it occurred to me late one night that I might have as many as 50 more years ahead of me (yes, I’m an optimist) and that they could be full of adventure possibility, creativity and purpose. They could be awesome if it weren’t for one thing standing in my way: FEAR.

And so I resolved to face my fear… of heights, and failure, and weird food and unstable people and speed and embarrassment and on and on and on! I wasn’t deciding to be fearless, just unstoppable.

IMG_8579 50 Fears list

Without further ado, here’s my 50:

  1. Ride in a helicopter
  2. Go white water rafting
  3. Hold a big snake
  4. Jump into water from a height
  5. Fix something in the house by myself
  6. Talk to a homeless person – for a while
  7. Travel to a third world country in a rough way
  8. Watch an operation
  9. Ride a bike
  10. Ride on a motorcycle
  11. Ride on a roller- coaster
  12. Ferris Wheel
  13. Eat a bug
  14. Volunteer at the VA Hospital
  15. Climb a mountain (big)
  16. Ice skate
  17. Do a flash mob
  18. Sing karaoke
  19. Take figure drawing classes (again)
  20. Get a mammogram
  21. Get a colon test
  22. Give blood
  23. Downhill ski
  24. Ride in a small plane
  25. Smoke or eat pot
  26. Give a TED (type) talk
  27. Write/perform a stand-up monologue
  28. Take the trainer certification test
  29. Throw up
  30. Travel to the American South
  31. Have a drink at a dive bar
  32. Eat an Oyster
  33. Hike out of the Grand Canyon
  34. Take public transportation at night
  35. Visit (volunteer) at a prison
  36. Try on contact lenses
  37. Submit FN screenplay to Wayne [my entertainment attorney]
  38. Submit Free Range Fitness book proposal to Wayne or K.R.
  39. e-publish a book
  40. Submit poems to the New Yorker
  41. Learn to play catch
  42. Run a marathon (finish)
  43. Do a Kickstarter campaign
  44. Go rock climbing
  45. Get arrested for a good cause
  46. Big rock concert, go to one
  47. Write an advance directive
  48. TBD
  49. TBD
  50. TBD

As you can see, this is NOT A BUCKET LIST! I don’t want to do any of these things! In the midst of writing it, I jotted a note at the top of the page: Writing this list made me feel sick with stomach cramps, sore throat. Now, just reading it makes me feel that way! Really? I’m going to hold a big snake? Ugh! Also, the last three spots are open, because at the time, I thought I should be flexible. There’s no telling what fear I might realize I should face, right? But the truth is, it’s hard to add things. Because, um… it’s scary! So please, help me out and make suggestions for #48, #49 and #50!

Here we go!  Thanks so much for joining me in this adventure!

P.S. You can find me, Facing 50 Fears on Facebook

© Mary Elder, 2015. All Rights Reserved.



17 thoughts on “The List

  1. Dear Mary,

    Love the list. Just be careful if/when you ever decide to combine items. For instance, you may not want to smoke pot before holding the big snake. Afterwards, maybe. Not before.

    Your buddy,

    – Mike Durand


    1. Hah! Thanks for the advice, Mike! I imagine a few of these might be made easier by the smoke pot + twofer. Smoke pot + Eat a bug? Smoke pot + Sing karaoke?


  2. Good morning Mary, I would be terrified to eat an oyster, and would skip the mammogram. My biggest fear would be to love myself. If you need someone to give you a ride on a motorcycle.. I will be there.
    Nothing you cant do.
    -Don Primrose


    1. Aww, thanks, Don! I am going to be looking for a motorcycle ride eventually! Any tips for staying safe, much appreciated. Sounds like you have the first item on your fear list: love thyself! What else?
      Thanks for reading!


  3. Mary I love your list! It is so inspiring and great. I know you are going to do all of them and then…might I suggest putting “send out book proposal” to the list?


    1. Aww Lisa, you’re the best! There’s a bigger story to tell, that’s for sure. I’m looking forward to (aka dreading!) holding a big snake with my favorite life coach. Let’s do it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. OK! And when you do the karaoke night I volunteer to support! I did it for the first (and only) time last year and Kris and Brian taught me some tricks. They’re pros.


      2. Karaoke night! Let’s do it! I found a place on Queen Anne that’s Hawaiian-themed. Umbrella drinks make everybody sound better, right?


  4. This is fantastic, Mary! I must admit, it’s kind of fun to see how many of these I’ve done. Of course, that’s because those things are not scary to me! If I made such a list, I would see a few of these on there though. I look forward to following!


    1. Hey Suzanne! Yeah, some of these fears make me think, “Should this really be on the list?” And then I start to do them and I get wobbly, and I go “oh yeah…there’s a reason I’ve never done this!” Thanks so much for following!


  5. we have some nice rivers here in the Methow Valley.. I am planning to try doing the course on becoming a river guide.. that scares me – to be responsible for other crazies going down the river,, but I can happily say that just going down is a fun invigorating adventure I’d love to share with you.


    1. Phyllis, what a great invitation! I’m also thinking about the Cumberland in Kentucky, (thank you, Bart!) But why stop at one? (I can think of a few reasons…because I find rafting scary!) So glad you’re looking into guiding. You inspire me!


      1. Thanks Mary, I don’t think anytime soon I’ll be telling my deepest fears – like to keep them secure in a dark, black place 😀
        Good Luck with working thru yours!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s