It’s October, and Halloween costumes and decorations have been in the stores for weeks. What better time to talk about scary things? And by that I mean, doing what scares you.

Over dinner last night, one of my friends confessed that she is afraid of doing adventurous things. Oh, she wants to; but she has a hard time taking that first step. And experts say we all need to do things that scare us, to learn and grow.

It got me thinking, what seemingly perilous activities have I done? Here are some I came up with:

  • Quitting a good job and launching my own business as an independent nearly 20 years ago. Heart-stopping? Oh, yeah. Also one of the best choices I’ve ever made.
  • For many years, I’ve attended IABC World Conferences on my own — from flight to room to sessions, all solo. That first time was pretty scary, but you’d have a hard time finding a more warm and welcoming bunch than IABCers. (Lately, I’ve had the pleasure of attending conferences with my friend Donna Papacosta, and I can also vouch for the pleasure of the “buddy system”!)
  • Just last year, I went ziplining for the first time. My husband, son #2 and his friend were all definitely going, but I wavered. For a few minutes, I considered going to the spa instead. Then I realized the men would all come back raving about how much fun they had, and I would be sorry. So I did it, and not only survived but had a terrific time.
  • I took up skiing. From lessons at the little bunny hill near me (vertical drop of 72 metres), I made it to all-star places like Tremblant (650 metres), Lake Louise (991), Panorama (1,220) and Whistler (1,609). From the top. The scariest is that moment standing at the edge of what looks like a cliff, taking a deep breath and pointing the skis down.
  • I’ve been hot-air ballooning quite a few times. The balloons are at the mercy of the wind, so one time we landed on the shoulder of a highway off-ramp. Eek!
  • A friend and I tried para-sailing while on vacation in Mexico. I discovered that you actually don’t go as high in the air as it seems from the beach, but it’s still pretty scary.
  • Same friend; Walt Disney World; Space Mountain. A wild rollercoaster ride in the dark. Say no more!
  • And of course, my latest adventure, going back to school.

What scary things have you done? Did they help you try more new things? What’s still on your list to do?

(Scary pumpkin from Andre Koehne, Wikimedia Commons.)