Jennifer Pilato takes a closer look at Luann Cahn’s year of doing something new every day…
Sometimes you’re just stuck in a rut. Sometimes, you wake up in the morning, get ready for work, do your daily job, come home, eat dinner, watch a little television, go to bed and start your routine all over the next morning. Upon reaching 53, Luann Cahn decided this was not for her anymore. She needed something to motivate her through the normalcy of her day.
Her daughter prompted her to write a blog. She decided she would try something new every day. Luann, a cancer survivor, decided that it would be a Year of Firsts. Her first challenge? Overcome a fear. When she was younger, she had a traumatic experience in the ocean. She nearly drowned before her father grabbed her and pulled her to the shore. For her first in a year of firsts? Participate in the Polar Bear Plunge. This is when, on the first day of a new year, people jump into the freezing cold water and literally “take the plunge”. Luann describes her feeling beforehand as terrified and told a fellow plunger to literally drag her in if necessary. However, afterwards all she could feel was the exhilaration, the warmth of the experience. Luann’s story continues from there.
It’s truly an inspirational, refreshing look at new experiences and a wonderful way to look at life from a different view. Luann meets a stranger at Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia and strikes up a conversation. They both share a similiar experience and though she says she has never seen this man again, she believes maybe he was the angel she needed that day and vice versa.
Throughout the book Luann speaks of other experiences, some large and some small. For instance, she goes to Carvel and tries all of the flavors on hand. She goes a day without cursing (or attempts to). She dances around her kitchen. One of the best challenges I found was when Luann decided to go a day without a mirror. She finds this hard. She puts on minimal make-up, she uses a friend as her “mirror” for the day asking if she looks alright. Luann states that she didn’t realize how often she looked at herself in the mirror until that day. It’s interesting to see how she goes through her day without being able to see how she looks and not caring either. Other challenges? Learning the alphabet backwards, dance at an Irish hooley, going to the movies by herself, a day without coffee (!!), run the Phillies bases, sing in front of a crowd, and sew a button correctly.
A wonderful aspect of this book is that Luann provides factual information about how some of these ideas can really trigger you into having a better day or feeling better about your life, such as conquering a fear, or how saying “Yes” to everything for a day might change your life, give you new experiences, new opportunities to grow as a person, to see yourself in a different light. Luann’s book (and blog which you can find online at Luanncahn.com) is relatable because she does every day things in a new way to help propel her thinking into a more positive light. She did not have to necessarily travel or make a complete reboot of herself to really enjoy her own life. She tried something new, one thing new, every day and it gave her a new outlook. Something as simple as trying new food was exciting for her.
The book is separated into different chapters such as “Overcoming Fears, Firsts You Probably Won’t Do Again, Firsts for Busy People, Firsts for the Kid in You.” It’s full of such wonderful things, some easy, some hard, some small, some big, that can truly inspire you, make you want to do this for yourself. Once I picked this book up, I honestly couldn’t put it down. Luann’s story is wonderful and giving and made me want to get out of bed and do something for myself, to start something new, to challenge myself, find an even happier tomorrow.
There are 365 challenges in this book and each one in its own way is inspirational. Some of the challenges are big and some are small, but each one really counts. Luann never gave up. She never made an excuse. She followed through and did one new thing every single day. One of them that I liked in particular was “smile all day”. Sometimes the smallest thing can make a true difference in how we go about our normal routines. Luann’s book, I Dare Me, really speaks to the audience. It says get up tomorrow, do something new for yourself–you might find it could change your life.
Jennifer Pilato is currently living in New Jersey with her husband. She works as a medical technician and is looking forward to another day, another experience tomorrow. She is hoping this will be the year of a lot of firsts for her as well as she works on her first novel and maybe a baby!