EASY AS A, B, C . . . from BB
Noelle Hancock, age nearly-29, had been working as an entertainment blogger when she received a phone call that she and the rest of the staff had been laid off without notice. Published in a multitude of places, including Us Weekly, Rolling Stone, GQ, the NY Post, and Cosmo, to name a few, she desperately needed to do . . . something. So this usually confident, ambitious woman, now paralyzed by anxiety, looked for help. She found it: from her boyfriend, Matt; Dr. Bob, an understanding, but tough, therapist; and Eleanor Roosevelt.
My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir is the result of Noelle’s search for self . . . and a job. She created a computer document entitled “My One-Year Plan,” where she could list her goals for the immediate future. Weeks later, with the document still empty, trying to drown her sorrows at a nearby coffee shop, Noelle saw the establishment’s usual quote of the day hanging on the wall. “‘Do one thing every day that scares you.’ Eleanor Roosevelt”
The quote resonated with her, she told Dr. Bob, because she “used to do things,” but found she didn’t try new things any more: “The older I get, the less I challenge myself.” Thus her dream became to follow Eleanor’s example—in spades. She’d do one scary thing every day until her 30th birthday. Easy, since she was now afraid of almost everything.
Her self-challenges ranged from small to big, in no particular order: confront an old boy friend, go shark diving, try tap dancing, compete against other journalists with a six-minute stand-up comedy routine. Some of her exploits were hilarious; some sad; a few trivial; somewhat fewer, gigantic. But she made it through the year.
This Yale grad from Texas occasionally sounds like she’s trying to be the street-tough New York Woman, other times a California girl. The language is occasionally a little New-Yorker-tough, so I don’t recommend it for those who are easily put off by a little rough language; but it was more than worthwhile for me for one story in particular.
She was talking to Dr. Bob about being particularly afraid of the upcoming journalists’ competition. He said, “When we feel anxiety . . . we postpone . . . doing taxes, working on a project we’re not sure we can handle . . . having a painful conversation.”
I began wondering whether I was doing the same thing. Though I’d vowed to do my taxes early, I just couldn’t seem to get started. Moreover, my writing wasn’t going well. Writing? What writing?
Then Dr. Bob told her, “You’ll never feel ready. You have to do things now— even if you don’t feel ready.” The real kicker came in her summation of his advice:
“Procrastination is the lazy cousin of fear.”
It was worth reading the whole book just to see that line. I told Herb about it, and he admitted he was feeling the same way with the book he’s working on. Writers take note:
Procrastination IS the lazy cousin of fear.
Get over yourself, and move on!
My Year with Eleanor: A Memoire by Noelle Hancock is available as an eBook from The King’s English Bookshop, or to order; Amazon has it in Kindle and paperback; hardbacks available with other sellers.
See you day-after-tomorrow for “Monday’s Moans”