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I Dare Me: How I Rebooted and Recharged My Life by Doing Something New Every Day Hardcover – November 5, 2013
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"I love the bold and brave spirit of this book — along with its wit, warmth, honesty, and endearing sense of fearless self-deprecation. In these pages, the author has packed not only a year of courage, but more than enough for a lifetime. I think (and hope) that her journey will inspire many others like it!" –Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things
"I loved Lu Ann Cahn's I Dare Me! This is a book that can change your life—if you let it! Her Year of Firsts inspired me, as does the story of her life! A must-read for every woman I know!"
–Lisa Scottoline, New York Times bestselling author
“Lu Ann Cahn has written a delightful and helpful guide to all the ways large and small to unstick your life. Even if you don’t want to eat a grasshopper.”
–Delia Ephron, author of Sister Mother Husband Dog
“Everyone needs a best friend like Lu Ann Cahn - the bold, spontaneous, zany-in-a-good-way friend - who dares you to do what you would never otherwise consider but makes it look so fun you just have to give it a go. You might curse her name while up on that mechanical bull, but you'll end up thanking her for shaking up your life. Packed with laughter, shrieking, and the thrill of the new, I Dare Me is an irresistible guide to making every day an adventure.”
–Patty Chang Anker, author of Some Nerve: Lessons Learned While Becoming Brave
“First first? Buy this book. Then take in Cahn's spirit and try out her plan. It can only do you good.”
–Judith Sills, Ph.D., author of The Comfort Trap or, What If You’re Riding a Dead Horse
“I Dare Me is hilariously inspiring. This book will motivate you step out of your comfort zone and take more life-changing chances to increase your life fulfillment and happiness quotient! You will fall in love with Lu Ann's charm and story-telling style, that is not just entertaining but empowering to say the least!”
–Jen Groover, author of What If & Why Not?
“Lu Ann Cahn has taken the concept of ‘falling into a rut’ and conquered it in the most humorous and accessible way. From plunging into the ocean on New Year’s Day to eating desserts all day long, she made her year of ‘firsts’ into a guide for anyone who needs to recharge, reboot and find the joy in the quotidian.”
–Ellen Lubin-Sherman, author of The Essentials of Fabulous
“A fun and accessible read for those looking to add excitement to their lives.”
About the Author
Eight-time Emmy award-winner Lu Ann Cahn is a reporter for Philadelphia’s NBC10 News. Cahn often speaks on behalf of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America and Living Beyond Breast Cancer. You can join the I Dare Me Club on Facebook , share your own I Dare Me experiences, or watch the One Year of First Videos at Lu Ann's website.
Top customer reviews
At just 200 or so pages, it's an easy read. The set-up is brief. Emmy award winning reporter Lu Ann Cahn describes the "rut" she was in personally and professionally as the weak economy and growth of new media were changing the rules around her. In a brief introduction, she describes the nudge she received from her daughter to try something new -- not once, or once a week, but every day for a year. Not knowing quite what she was in for, she agreed and literally took the plunge, starting on January 1, 2010 with a "polar bear swim" in the Atlantic Ocean.
From there, the book takes off, packed with one story after another of how doing something new opened her eyes and changed her outlook and attitude about every aspect of her life.
The consummate reporter, Cahn has done some research into why doing something new had such a profound impact on her. The book is NOT a laundry list of 365 activities (that's saved for the appendix in the back, or available on her blog). Rather, it's organized along psychological principles of how being open to new experiences can help you change your perspective, conquer your fears, uncover opportunities, meet new people, etc.
But it's by no means preachy. Packed with short stories and anecdotes, it's just a fun read. And yes, inspirational. I dare YOU to read it and not end up a little more open to new experiences yourself.
W 1 Write a veteran.* It was Raymond Odom at Arbor Rose Assisted Living in Farmerville who was in the newspaper. February is International Correspondence Writing Month (I should have searched for "incowrimo"), which means that I need to write 28 letters. Also wrote a letter to the nice Gateway manager who later called me to thank me.
T 2 Left someone random flowers.*
F 3 Got first real estate listing.
S 4 Went to Christian concert. It was loud and not what I expected at all.
S 5 Quilted.*
M 6 Made cake from scratch with fresh strawberries.
T 7 Played in the rain.*
W 8 Paid it forward at Starbucks. (Tenbucks).
T 9 Listened to a different radio station.* Liberal one. They cussed a lot.
F 10 Escaped from my car window to practice after seeing it on the TODAY Show.
S 11 Decorated a cake.* I learned later that a ketchup squeeze bottle can be a free tool and told my friend who taught me. A little knowledge is dangerous.
S 12 Drank a Red Bull.* Got criticized for it being unhealthy.
M 13 Put money in a meter, book I gave away and pocket of clothing donated.*
T 14 Rode city bus.*
W 15 Wrote POTUS.*
T 16 Did Twitter detox.*
F 17 Sent money for cleft palate and dogs for the blind.*
SS 18 19 Self-defense class and babysat my godson. Same day, but counting as separate.
M 20 Looked at Craig's List. Someone was actually trying to sell her house on there. No one prequalified.
T 21 Why stop with POTUS? Sent the Pope an Easter card.
W 22 Practiced Mano Sinistra.* In the words of NC State great Charles Shackelford: "I can go to my left or right, I am amphibious." Someone posted that this can help prevent Alzheimer's.
T 23 Made beauty scorecard of nature.* Noted beauty and inspiring things. Smiles. Sun. Laughter.
F 24 Got massage.* It hurt.
S 25 Wore expensive necklace on a regular day and used the china.*
S 26 Walked with a cane for a day and used no mirror after I fixed my hair.*
M 27 Hygge. Hygge is a Danish term defined as a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being. It is pronounced hoo-guh and is associated with relaxation, indulgence and gratitude. These type of people lift their hats to each other and look at a stranger with an expression that indicates they wish they knew him well. The Year of Living Danishly means taking pleasure in the presence of gentle, soothing things, like coffee and cashmere socks. It's candles, nubby woolens, shearling slippers, woven textiles, pastries, sheepskin rugs, lattes with foam hearts and a warm fireplace. It's a flannel blanket with tea, mulled wine. A songbook to affirm ideas of simplicity, cheerfulness, reciprocity, community and belonging. Kith and kin.
T 28 Made my own logo.*
W 29 Walked my dog backwards around the block.* Received some scolding that I could have gotten hurt.
T 30 Looked at the clouds from the ground.*
F 31 Escape Room!*
S 32 Ate full meal with chopsticks, suggested from a man on the bus. "You are admired for your adventurous ways" was my fortune. Bus guy also suggested going to the library, playing bingo, doing karaoke, feeding the homeless.
S 33 Had a Backwards Day.* Stayed in PJs all day, then took shower at night and ate the corresponding meals backward.
M 34 Wrote Near Death Experience of my aunt. I never knew someone who had one personally.
T 35 Did creative photography rather than pictures of people.*
W 36 Wore white shoes before Easter. This got a lot of comments.
T 37 I made note of sensory encounters. My friend Kay came home from months of rehab in NOLA. A miracle. I noted flags flying, the smell of bacon, catfish and roses, hearing something on the radio that made me howl and touching my bathed dog. Enjoyed feeling the breeze. This leaves taste. Just glad I have an appetite and food. Nothing special eaten today. Can I count Strawn's pie from last night? Also observed National Caramel Popcorn Day.
F 38 Went to George's for the first time since my father died in 2005. It was our place.
S 39 Viewed our birdhouse that had a nest for the first time.
S 40 Made a cross out of my palm.
M 41 David had a good one. Don't do anything after work. Don't go anywhere. Etc.
T 42 Drift Away Float Center!*
W 43 Counting oxygen bar today done yesterday.
T 44 Had a Purple Cow.
F 45 Lots of firsts not on purpose today. First Subway drive-through. First time without phone that didn't work for hours.
S 46 Covered clock while sleeping.
Did not get to do:
Yell timber. Husband wouldn't let me. But later did after a bad day at work.
Someone asked: Have you ever worn a hair covering in church as ladies did years ago? If not, it could be a first. I have.
Escape from my trunk or binding as seen on TODAY Show. Convertible trunks are too small, even for me.
Have a game afternoon on a Sunday. "My childhood may be over, but that doesn't mean playtime is." Ron Olson
National Pillow Fight Day and other observances. Note: Use National Day Calendar site.
Watch TED Talk on chemistry or tai chi. "We need to start work with the idea that we're going to learn every day. I learn, even at my position, every single day." Chanda Kochhcar
There is a hug drought. Juan Mann did a free hug campaign. I will not play at tug o’ war.
I’d rather play at hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.
Learn Four score and seven years ago, memorize phone numbers, etc. Use Gale at www.bossierlibrary.org under research tab for six-week classes or Launch Pad.
Go on an AC call.
Smile all day.
Make button bracelet, crosses, other things on Pinterest.
Observe National POW Day.
Watch Housewives of NYC on Bravo. Or one of them.
Don't whine. No negativity. No gossip. No complaining. No criticizing.
After reading I Dare Me where the author did something new every day for a year, I tried something new for 40 days for Lent (and longer) along with my regular Lenten sacrifice. I'll be able to say BEEN THERE DONE THAT, GOT THE T-SHIRT, WASHED THE CAR WITH IT. And instead of I NEVER…IT'S HAVE YOU EVER?
In another excellent book, On Fire, the author said our enthusiasm saps out sometimes and boredom seeps in. What people are really saying is they have too many things to choose from and they're lazy.
What have I not been awake for in my life, asked Jennifer Grey during a show I was watching.
I remember seeing monuments in Washington, D.C. for the first time and jumping out of the cab seat. I pointed at every landmark. I felt excited. Awake. Alive. Awesome. Firsts are always memorable. But we later go through the motions, barely noticing what is in front of us. We're sleepwalking and the great adventure of life can mellow. So, my idea is to no longer be an observer, but participate. My father always said you can march in the parade or watch it.
Angelina Jolie says, "If you don't get out of the box you've been raised in, you won't understand how much bigger the world is." I didn't know a poorer side of Shreveport existed until I had a college photojournalism assignment to shoot it. Firsts we remember are: bike ride, school, kiss, dance, driving, heartbreak, job and plane ride. We remember the first winner of Survivor or Celebrity Apprentice or the Bachelorette. Second place is first loser.
How many times have you tried to coax someone to go somewhere with you and they don't want to, do and have fun? You never know until you go.
The author went to a theater alone. I used to do this all the time until the Lafayette incident. And parades and an LSU game. Your own company IS good enough. You are enough. "Relax and enjoy," the author said. "Small things can bring freshness.” I’ve eaten and traveled alone. To North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia to complete my goal of the 50 states. Oregon, here I come this year.
Do things you are not a maven of…she said she is now not an opera virgin anymore. People say: I can't, I'm too old, I will look stupid. So what? I have learned not to care what people think of me anymore to a certain extent.
As she met people since she was a reporter, she got story tips on recycling programs, on-campus drinking, a restaurant with a bad report. Passing info on to people is cool. One friend said my list was gold.
Ben Franklin knew life was a classroom. He invented and created libraries, fire departments, insurance, books, musical instruments and newspapers.
Experiences are like bizarre exclamation points in your life. Those who put on lab coats become much more attentive and studious, the author said.
She survived a large intestine removal at 33, breast cancer at 35 and kidney cancer at 45. Her daughter thought of the first idea and it helped her get up every day.
I love books where people do something for a year--wear a nametag, be biblical, give up something, write a daily thank you, find a new friend, photograph a tree. I have such book ideas myself.
I am blessed to have such firsts as riding in a KC-10, spending the day riding around with a governor, learning how to suture, being a Macy’s parade balloon holder, reigning as Mardi Gras queen, being on the LSU football field during a game several times, finishing the bible, riding a sweet potato picker, speaking at a national conference, milking a cow and piglet, driving a train, completing the Polar Bear Dip, writing a book, ghost hunting, attending a national football championship with LSU in it, reading movie lines, clowning, meeting celebrities, driving a $120,000 car, making a mosaic, learning to make wreaths, painting the eye of the Tiger, being in an apple eating and crawfish eating contest, yoga, skiing both snow and water, running a 5K to prove to a boyfriend, cycling around Cypress Lake--same guy, staying up all night twice, watching a 1,000-year-old Indian canoe get excavated, standing on the stage of Ryman Auditorium, doing every job when I managed the Remington Suite Hotel--even housekeeping, and visiting another religious denomination.
I'm going to be a Yes Woman. "Say yes. And you'll figure it out afterwards," said Tina Fey. (Although I'm conflicted because learning to say no is important, too).
Please offer suggestions for next time. The author ate a scorpion (I'm counting someone else in the family for something similar). I won’t do that or bungee jump or ride in a hot air balloon, so don’t get too excited.
Quote that captured my attention. Sebastian from NCIS NOLA on his first day on the job, he got a little excited, couldn't sleep, so came in at 5 a.m. to get a head start on things and unpack his stuff. I'm so nervous, you know? Like, “first day at school and you don't know anyone” kind of nervous, but that's strange, right? 'Cause I, I know everyone here. Never easy taking a new job. Especially on an experienced team. He was told he was there for a reason, would do great and got his service weapon. Then the phone goes off. Four dead bodies... Including a sailor. "Yes! All right. Man, that's insensitive. I 'm sorry. Just first case as an agent, you know?"
Two more quotes stand out to me: Because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. Edward Hale. When life hands you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make orange juice because being different is good. Andrea Finical
During my Lenten days, I read a story of kids of a deceased man finding his pouch with rings and trinkets and three pieces of folded notebook paper: "Things I Would Like To Do in My Lifetime!" written at 29, the year his daughter was born, covering both sides of the page. Be interviewed on the radio. Make money in the stock market. Set up a charitable fund. Drive a Corvette. Teach a class about wine. Make a rubber band ball. Pan for gold. The kids realized they already did some of what he wanted to. Get my picture in a national magazine. The writer daughter did. There were 13 they did, but he only did five. Give my children the most love, the best education and best example I can give. Wasn't checked, but should have been.
Some of the author's examples can be found at www.Luanncahn.com:
Don’t swear for a day.
Spoke to a stranger.
Smoked a cigar.
Shoveled horse manure.
Ate dessert first.
No coffee, no gum.
I came, I saw, I drummed.
Hike up Runyon Canyon in the hills of L.A. Go up to the top to see a prayer box created by designer Jeannie Mai. The idea is you put a prayer or a thought into the box, then you take a prayer out of the box.
She said she would sing if someone bid enough on something.
Joined Damsels in Success group.
He had me at hello, she said, on one she really wanted to do.
May the firsts be with you is how she ends the book.