...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Some of you asked about the quote I have displayed in my workspace. The short answer: I just typed it up in polyvore and printed it out. The long answer: keep reading.

scary fun

I didn’t make any resolutions for 2014. Instead, I coined myself a new motto for the year.

Scary is the new fun.

I don’t mean scary as in Freddy Krueger scary or fighting cancer scary or losing a loved one scary or playing with birds scary. (I have an irrational but very real fear of birds. Acknowledgement is the first step.) Nothing dangerous or life-threatening. I’m talking about scary as in out-of-your-comfort-zone scary.

Far too often I choose not to do something simply because I haven’t done it before. Because I’m afraid I’ll be really bad at it. Because I’m afraid others won’t like it. (Or worse, won’t like me.) Because I’m afraid I won’t like it. Because it kinda sounds like a lot of work. Because doing what I’m familiar with and used to is easier.

But lately I feel like that fear is holding me back from potentially experiencing something I will like. Or possibly even love. So what if it takes me doing 100 things to find one thing that is rewarding and fulfilling? So what. I can put 100 things on my “dislike” list then. NBD.

I don’t know what it is about turning 35 but ever since I did (in November) I wanna stop being a wimp. I feel like I’m finally comfortable with all things me (my style, my body, my passions, my parenting, my sense of humor, my beliefs, etc.) and I owe it to myself to get out there and just be me. Fear aside. Can any 35+ peeps relate?

So what exactly is scary to me? (Besides birds.)

Going to Alt for the first time was scary. But I survived and made new friends. Posting more pictures of myself on this here blog is scary. But I’m doing it. Because, personally, I like seeing the faces behind blogs. Monetizing a blog is scary. I need to make money but I want to stay true to myself and my readers and I don’t want to come across as a sell-out. Coding is scary. I do a lot of copying and pasting and pretending. Showing all the parts of my house that still need TLC is scary. We have lived here for a while now. Shouldn’t we be about done? Responding or not responding to negative comments is scary. Ahhh, what to do?! Sharing non-home-related posts about, oh I don’t know, MY FEARS, my hair, my clothes, my experiences as a mom, my beauty routine is scary. None of that really falls under tweaking a house but maybe someone would find it inspiring? Asking homeowners in real life if I can feature their home for a tour on H*T is scary. What if they think I’m a crazy lady and flat out say no?

And then there are the fears outside of blogging. Meeting new people is scary. I write good, talk bad. Traveling to a new place is scary. But I always end up seeing or learning something new. Being a parent is scary. But my kids seem to be okay. Wearing a bikini is scary. But I refuse to wear a mom suit. Finding the beginnings of a Stacy London gray streak in my hair is scary. But I really don’t want to start dyeing my hair. Realizing I haven’t showered for 3+ days is scary. But it has happened. Not using my college degree is scary. Selling a house is scary. Buying a house is scary. Renovating said house is even scarier. Admitting my shortcomings is scary. Thinking about the future is scary. Trying out new ideas is scary. Standing up for myself is scary. Standing up for others is scary. I won’t even mention public speaking. Grocery shopping with three kids is terrifying. Just ask the guy behind me at checkout who overheard my five-year-old loudly whisper, “Look, Mom! That guy is buying junk! He is making bad choices!”

I think you get it. We all do. We all have something we aren’t doing because we’re afraid it might not work out the way we want it to. We’re afraid of failure, humility, judgment. For one person, it might be exercising or making a lifestyle change. For another, it might be painting a room. For yet another, it might be learning a new trade. It could be anything.

But what if we look at those things in a different way? What if we think of them as fun? I mean, we are getting to experience something new. Isn’t that what life is all about? Experiences? What if we don’t worry about the outcome and instead focus on the fact that we are doing something we’ve never done before? We are living.

SCARY is the new FUN.

Try it. You might like it.

image: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

88 Comments

20.February.2014

I love it! I did something similar this year and instead of doing resolutions I chose the word ‘connect’. I am terrible about putting myself out for a lot of the reasons you listed above. I felt like if I focused on connecting with people than the other things I want out of life would fall into place. It’s only been 6 (?) weeks but I already feel like I’ve made some progress and it feels great! Good luck with your 2014 mantra!

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as corny as it sounds, i’m reminded of the song (that was our high school class of ’99 song) that says, “do one thing everyday that scares you.” and i think it’s such an important component to personal growth. i’ve been on a fitness and weight loss journey…i joined a gym in september of 2012 and that was scary in the beginning. i’ve progressed and have lost weight and made changes in my lifestyle. but recently, i decided that instead of “going to the gym” and “lifting” or “eating clean”, i’m going to EMBRACE IT, which was scary when i first thought about it long enough. it’s a big part of my life (5 days a week!), and there are days when i feel like i can’t lift more or go one more minute or eat one more friggin vegetable, but it’s in those moments of discomfort that the magic happens. i realize I CAN do it….I WANT to do it….that’s where my real progress is made.

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replied on February 20th, 2014

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” Love that!

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20.February.2014

I’m doing the same thing this year! Being a for-fun photographer is not scary. But calling yourself a professional photographer IS scary (like instead of responding, “Oh, I’m a stay-at-home mom,” now I might say, “I’m a photographer.” That is weird. Asking people to pay you to be their photographer IS scary. Trying new types of photography is also scary: http://drewphotography.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/2/something-a-little-steamy-to-warm-you-up

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20.February.2014

I’m afraid of birds too! It’s the erratic movement, shifty little things.

Thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing your “scary” moments. Change is scary enough, but you’ve done so while letting us all watch, which is super scary! Thanks for keeping it real!

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replied on February 20th, 2014

The beaks! The smaller and pointier, the scarier!!

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replied on February 20th, 2014

Lol! Sorry, I shouldn’t laugh!

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20.February.2014

Hi Dana. I love your motto! It’s simple and catchy and can mean so much in everyday life. You are right it is hard to make yourself vulnerable and to let go of that fear. I share many of your same fears listed above. It’s always comforting to know others feel the same way and inspiring to see your progress towards change. Thanks for sharing!

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20.February.2014

Amen. This post will encourage a lot of people to look at some fears and accept the challenge. By the way, you’re about 5 years ahead of schedule, in my experience. The big four-oh was when my friends and I started to get serious about figuring out what we want to be and do in our lives and to care a lot less about what the world in general thought about any of that. It’s enormously liberating! Pretty sure you’re finding that out. :D

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20.February.2014

Best post ever. Your risk has totally paid off. Who the hell can relate to perfection? That’s not art. Keep staying true to yourself. And, you DESERVE to make money for that. Thanks for sharing your journey; you are an inspiration.

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20.February.2014

Dude. I’m proud of you and appreciate you sharing your journey. I’m making a career change, too, right now. Not using that damn degree (master’s included) is so hard. But rewarding. Keep on keepin’ on! We SO enjoy your corner of the web.

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20.February.2014

Love this. Rock on!! You are awesome and this post was totally refreshing. :)

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20.February.2014

You are not alone! Was it scary writing this post?

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replied on February 20th, 2014

Absolutely! Stared at the “publish” button for a long time before clicking it.

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20.February.2014

I’m coming up on 35 too in about a month and I can relate to almost all of what you posted! Especially the “writes well, talks bad!” My words get awfully jumbled in person but somehow come out pretty clearly in print. :) I always enjoy reading your blog and seeing your adventures and getting a peek into your home projects. I appreciate your honesty about your fears and wish you lots of amazing and fabulous things over the next year!

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20.February.2014

Here here!!!! As a mom of 3, I’d personally love to hear more of your parenting stories, like how you get ANYTHING done when they are all “under-foot” – I know I don’t have to elaborate on that (mine are 6 1/2, 3 1/2 and 7 mos – all girls). By the way, love seeing more of you in the blog posts; has anyone ever told you you remind them of Kristen Wiig?

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replied on February 20th, 2014

Never! But I LOVE Kristen Wiig so that’s a total compliment!!

Maybe “a day in the life of” post is in order. Or more posts about kids + home.

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replied on February 20th, 2014

I’d personally love to see a “new house” version of the post you did way back about where you hide all the kids’ toys. I’m completely stumped on how to house my daughter’s things since her birthday and Christmas made a waterfall of giant new toys.

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replied on February 20th, 2014

Right…it’s going on the to-be-blogged list.

replied on February 20th, 2014

A day-in-the-life post a la YHL would be awesome!

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20.February.2014

This is a great post and great motto…I saw it when you showcased your awesome workspace and thought to myself what a great inspirational phrase to remind ourselves that we shouldn’t let our fear get in the way of trying new things. I’m guilty of fear stop me dead in my tracks. This is my first comment on a blog ever, commenting on someone blog post and having other people read it is scary to me…but not anymore :) Thanks to you!!

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20.February.2014

Totally love this – and with perfect timing. This week at work has been terrible. I’ve been screwing up like crazy and have gotten yelled at by my boss. But what do I learn from failure? To be better. Otherwise what am I going to do? I can’t crawl under a rock and not experience life.

I have an infographic of Gandhi quotes in my office cubicle and I’ve been staring at it this entire week. A few of my favorites:
“You are in control.”
“Without action, you aren’t going anywhere.”
“Continue to grow and evolve.”

This week has been a test, but it’s also the catalyst I’ve needed to make changes in my life.

Didn’t mean to go off on a tangent here. Just meant to say: Doing something scary can sometimes suck. But even if you fail, it will help you learn more about yourself and become a better human.

Good luck! :)

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20.February.2014

Wow – loved the honesty of this post! Fantastic motto for the new year.

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20.February.2014

Loved this one Dana! I am a big fan of your blog – partly because I love your style and partly because you are honest and interesting to read. I don’t scroll through and look at your pictures – I read every word of your posts. I can’t always say the same for other blogs I visit ;). So whatever you’re doing – scary or not – is paying off. Keep it up!

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20.February.2014

My favorite post this far. Thanks for sharing. I have been trying to put myself out there more lately as well. For example, I attended my first ever painting class. I have zero experience and not an artistic bone in my body. But I went. Tried a new experience and had a really great time! Will be attending my 2nd class next week.

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20.February.2014

You are so great. This post could not have come at a better time for me – and I think that’s what personal posts do for people. You write as things come to you and you will always touch someone in a way you may not realize.

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20.February.2014

I love this post. I admire your courage, and your honesty. Thank you. :)The fear of the unknown, so familiar. I’d say more, but I’m at work! HA! Have a great day.

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20.February.2014

Thanks for being so real. I’ve been trying to overcome some scary issues myself, and sure appreciate your honesty for sharing so much that is scary {and that I can totally relate to!}. My bugaboos are sharing my home that’s definitely not all spiffed up, doing new things, and doing new things to our house. The upside is that the more I get out of my comfort zone, the more I feel like I can take a deep breath and celebrate what I did {even if it was just clearing off the kitchen peninsula, ha!}. Reading that someone else things stuff is scary too really is such a relief. Thanks for sharing and for your courage!

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20.February.2014

Very inspiring, thank you for putting things into perspective for me and so many other people today :)

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20.February.2014

amen. words i need to practice more.

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20.February.2014

I have been reading your blog for sometime, I really enjoy your writing and your style. I think at the end of the day, personally, that some of the scary things turn out to be great experiences. Sharing your life, experiences and beauty routines on the internet can be a little terrifying generally but your readers would love it.

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20.February.2014

I needed this today. I got let go from my job of 7 years just a couple weeks ago, and it’s a job I went to school for and was very successful in. I’m now trying to get a job at a flooring store. I feel like this is where I’m supposed to be and that I need to do something different. And it’s SCARY! Scary as hell! But everything will be OK in the end.

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20.February.2014

Cheers to you Dana, I truly appreciate the honesty you bring to your blog and your unapologetic approach to real life. It is easy to forget with all the staged photos that star in design and DIY blogs that sometimes projects just don’t magically get projects done all at once and while you may have a totally finished side of the room you can turn around and be just at the beginning of a design project.

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20.February.2014

loving the red lipstick!

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20.February.2014

You’re my favorite girl!! I always look forward to reading your blog, you are inspiration to many us!! You’re style is so fresh and effortless . You are a breath fresh air!! I hsve no doubt that you will be amazing at whatever is do.

On another note… I’m off to target! Is there anything that is a must have from there?

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replied on February 20th, 2014

I purposefully avoided the home section last time I was there!

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replied on February 20th, 2014

Smart too! Just realized all my typos :) oh well

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20.February.2014

I have been following your blog for awhile and while seeing cool home improvements is fun(love your style) your post today spoke to me! I feel the same way as a 33 year old woman trying to get out of her comfort zone and try new things! Your blog has become one of my favorite morning reads!

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20.February.2014

Thank you so much for posting this. There are many blogs I’ve recently stopped reading because the people writing them seem too…perfect. And not relatable at all. And your comment about not using your college degree. Holy cow it’s like you’re reading my mind. I’ve been considering quitting my 9-5 job to pursue something totally different for me but will allow me to be home with my kids. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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20.February.2014

Love this! So perfect. As you listed the things that are scary, I had so many “oh, I’m glad she finds that scary too” moments. Thanks for sharing!

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20.February.2014

Thanks for the inspiration, definitely needed to read something like today!

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Hahah! Gotta love kids. The brutally innocent naïveté and honesty is somethin isn’t it! I gotta say I really loved this post, Dana. Random fact, both my daughter and one of my closest friends has an irrational fear of birds, too. For my daughter it’s anything with wings, really. And yes this includes butterflies. I have no idea! Anyway, yes this year my motto is “here’s to new adventures” and that’s how I’m approaching all the scary things. You’ve been such a huge inspiration and honestly although you may be scared outta your mind, it only translates here as guts and beauty. I mean I’m downsizing from my perfectly good newer built home with plenty of square footage in part because of your journey. Blogging is a really scary thing. It’s like we rip the bandage off and expose our selves to the world in hopes for the best on a daily basis, but it’s also empowering to share our stories and lives. Here’s to continually embracing the scary and welcoming the new adventures. :)

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20.February.2014

I can totally relate to this post! I’ll turn 35 next month and I am finally comfortable with who I am as a person. I’m not always comfortable in new situations, but in my own skin, I’m good. Maybe our mothers, aunts and grandmothers were right when they said “a woman comes in to her own in her 30s.” Trying new things, that’s a good challenge….

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20.February.2014

Oh wow…I’ve been wanting to start a blog but my lack of knowledge in all things tech-y (and not wanting to ask for help) has kept me from taking the plunge. I’m totally going to go for it…wish me luck!
Thanks Dana!
Leah: )

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20.February.2014

Dana you are so inspiring!

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20.February.2014

You rock! I just turned 29 and I definitely want to start trying more things outside my comfort zone.

If you ever get stuck with a coding problem, I’d be happy to take a look. Web designer and hand coder since 2001. I enjoy helping others, however I find it scary to ask others for help ;)

PS – Your blog is my absolute favorite – I love your style, personality and keeping it real!

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replied on February 20th, 2014

I might just take you up on that some day! I think asking for help is scary, too. Help with coding, help with my kids, help with my house…it’s all scary.

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replied on February 20th, 2014

Please don’t hesitate to ask! It would make my day to be able to give a little back to my favorite blog!

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20.February.2014

Ditto to all the above. I just turned 36 and spent 35 being pregnant so I literally am in your shoes. Kids are 4, 3, and 3 months. I will add your quote to my new mantra which is being the best version of myself and literally self talking my way out of all my hang ups. I have the other issue which is write bad, talk good. I could never be a writer but I love to read and you are one of my favorite blogs out there. Keep it up :)

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20.February.2014

Wow! Before reading this I was struggling on a purchase to include in my Etsy shop, Decidedly Chic. I was going to buy fabric that I know would sell okay, meaning a safe purchase. But what I really wanted was to add something new and different. I went ahead and purchased a new fabric to create my pillow covers with, a pretty blue and white paisley design that looks like a Schumacher design. Hope it does well. Your post was timely and reassuring!

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20.February.2014

Yep, I just hit the big 3-5 two weeks ago and agree that it is a nice time in life to start trying new things and taking charge. My mantra just about every morning is “today I am going to kill it!” and I mean it in just about every way – being a mom, working for my clients, trying new things, and just getting stuff done. I don’t always kill it, but I’m certainly getting better!

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20.February.2014

This is great.

Sheryl Sandberg has a quote/campaign “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” I know her book invited a lot of controversy, but I really loved this phrase.

I think it is something about where we are in life– I am 5 years older than you, and about 5 years ago I realized I didn’t like the path my career and life were taking and changed course. It created a lot of difficulty and sacrifice in our family’s life, but has been so worth it! And I’m finding that I still have to push myself to do the scary things– and that doing so usually pays off.

Thanks for the quote and the inspiration! I may put it in my workspace (if I ever get around to re-doing it!)

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replied on February 20th, 2014

Oh I like that one. Will check out book.

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20.February.2014

I think the universe is trying to tell me something. This is the second blog post I’ve read today (out of the three I’ve checked so far!) urging me to tackle hard things and embrace potentially challenging and difficult changes in my life. (The other’s here, at A Beautiful Mess: http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2014/02/on-changing-dreams.html.) Thank you for sharing this. I know it must be a very scary thing, one that makes you feel very vulnerable, but you’ve really touched me today. I’ve been struggling with this very same thing for the last few years, and this year I’ve been trying to do something about it. This gives me a little kick in the pants to do even better!

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20.February.2014

Great saying! I can’t wait to see where this takes you. I also love that you’re adding more pictures of you and other content besides home stuff.

I’ve had a chair waiting to reupholster for years and I finally started taking it apart and purchased fabric. I’m scared as hell to work on this project, but it has been fun to learn more things and to jump into something different.

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20.February.2014

Lots of things are scary (I can relate to most you posted) but you are right you have to try or you will never find anything new. As mentioned above I would love a day in the life post!

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20.February.2014

Google “the gap by Ira Glass” and watch the quick video. It will completely transform the way you view the unknown of trying new things. Amazing perspective.

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replied on February 20th, 2014

Thank you for this! I love Ira Glass.

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20.February.2014

SOOO needed to read this right now. Proud of you for pursuing scary. Thanks for motivating me to do the same Dana!

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20.February.2014

I love all of the brave things you have been doing with your blog! All of your posts are original and full of inspiration! Keep up the bravery! Now on to conquering my scary…!

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20.February.2014

So just to encourage you, yours has become one of my very favorite blogs. I love the times you get personal, love the design stuff and love your style. I agree- as an about to turn 35 year old mama to 4, doing the ‘scary stuff’ starts to feel very very worth it. And pretty exciting!

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20.February.2014

I knew exactly what you meant by that quote when I saw it in your workspace reveal. That’s why I liked it! Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone is certainly scary at times but without it we won’t have the opportunity to grow and without growth we can become stagnant and unhappy. So scary Really IS the new fun!:-). I turn 35 in a couple of months and would have to concur that with age Im becoming more confident and omfortable with myself. Oh dear, now I can see why old ladies get to be so opinionated and outspoken. Note to self: don’t become one of those old ladies! :-)

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20.February.2014

This is a GREAT post! LOVED it! :)

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20.February.2014

I always look forward to your posts and I absolutely love this one! Your honesty and openness only make you more real and relatable. I am going to adopt this as my new motto! Thank you – your bravery is inspiring.

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