A Final Tribute To A Year of Pushing Boundaries

Hello Everyone,

Here is the promised video for Pushing Boundaries. It doesn’t include everything that was completed or tried, and I know there were some photos that I missed, but I tried to include as many of the highlights as I could.

I want to thank the following people in particular: Hubby, Dan & Sheila, and Trish. (And Hershey for photobombing many of my pictures.)

Also many thanks to all those who provided encouragement while reading the blog, and for following along.

The video has been uploaded on YouTube.

All the best,

Penelope

The End

“The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is Fear Itself” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Endings are hard.

There’s always a part of me that never wants a story to end after all the hours spent sitting up late at night turning pages, as I follow a beloved character through their adventure. (Or sometimes, adventures.)  Because you know when you turn that last page, that’s it, it’s over. There’s no more to the story. If there’s anything left unresolved it stays that way and it’s up to you, the reader, to try to figure out why the author left that last question unanswered.

But maybe it’s better that when there is a scheduled time for a conclusion – that it happens. It’s always better to be left wanting more, than dragging out a plotline too much with weary readers who want nothing more than for the story to be over.

I thought about it. I though about continuing this blog past October 20th. I need to confess to you that my reasons have less to do with you, and more to do with me.

I am a creature of habit. I try not to strain myself too much. But this blog – for all my complaining about the challenges, how tiring they were, how many times I failed them; in the last few weeks I realized, I would miss them. Honestly, my biggest fear was this: there were so many challenges I never achieved, would I ever make the effort to attempt the ones that were incomplete? Would I return to my old patterns and behaviours and be the person who said, hmmm, that sounds like fun, but I can’t do it. 

In the last couple of days, I’ve taken time to reflect on this blog: what it meant to me, and what it continues to mean to me. It was my experiment you see. To push myself outside of my comfort zone and start saying yes to things I wanted to do.

And wow, I did them. Here are some things (there are a lot, so this is just a snapshot) that I did this year:

  1. Dressed up as a pug for Halloween
  2. Made fruit cake from a recipe
  3. Made lemon meringue pie
  4. Participated in the Polar Plunge
  5. Ran the Hypothermic 10 KM run
  6. Climbed the CN Tower stairs (All 1,776 of them!)
  7. Played paintball. (I think my bruise FINALLY healed!)
  8. Played laser tag
  9. Completed the CN Tower Edgewalk

Things that I wanted to do, but didn’t get done (they are in no particular order):

  1. Play on the extreme trampoline.
  2. Indoor Skydiving
  3. Learn to dance (tap, Irish dance, swing…anything!)
  4. Learn to play my guitar
  5. Go for a big hike in a park in Gatineau (I can’t remember the name of it, a friend of mine told us about it last year)
  6. Take a step class (one of those free ones offered at the gym)
  7. Go to Bonnechere Caves
  8. Take a cooking class
  9. Put my lego set together

I learned many things from this blog. The biggest one was this: I tend to overthink things, and most challenges I stressed over, there was nothing to fear. (And now the quote at the beginning of this post probably makes more sense.)

The truth is: I had a lot of fun.

But maybe that’s the biggest lesson to take from this blog. There is commuting to work, and work, and household chores, and groceries that need to be purchased to make breakfast, lunch and dinners. But peppered in with these responsibilities is life. It’s sharing a drink with family and friends, playing paintball or laser tag, and running Hypothermic races. It’s the moments that we take the time to participate in, and savour, that makes the other chores and responsibilities worth it.

Pushing Boundaries is not complete for me, and I hope it never will be. Because I hope there’s always a new recipe to try, a new sport to play, and an instrument to learn. If I must confess, I’ve already started to look into the Winterman race here in Ottawa, and there is that Lego ship I need to build.

After all, my life is a work-in-progress. There are more adventures to come – if I choose to pursue them.

***

Total challenges completed: 102 (With the CN Tower Edgewalk it was 103, but -1 because I did not read 10 books.)

Last thing: I plan to post another video as a final tribute to Pushing Boundaries. The video should be completed by October 22nd.

Walking On the Edge of The World

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It was fun to talk about it, before the day of the event, because it was out there. It was like skydiving: one of those things you might get to some day.

And then someday, turned out to be yesterday.

Have I mentioned how afraid I am of heights? It’s not like I’m afraid in the sense of oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-be-late-for-work feeling. It’s more along the lines of: my-tummy-is-swirling, I-can’t-move-my-feet, I-think-I-may-throw-up, no-now-that-I think-about-it-I-would-prefer-just-to-faint. A full black-out moment where I can’t remember anything that happened.

Yeah, that would have been my preference. 

Because it’s not like it hasn’t happened before. I mean, where I’ve fainted for no good reason. Have you heard my Million Dollar Baby story? No? Well, pull up a chair. Let me entertain you.

We went to see the movie Million Dollar Baby in the theater, whoo, what has it been now, more than a decade? I think so. Well, anyhoo does anyone remember that scene in the movie where Hilary Swank’s character gets punched in the nose, but she wants to finish the fight, and she asks Clint Eastwood who is her coach to fix her so she can stay in the ring to knock her opponent out? Clint Eastwood proceeds to shove some things up her nose (because it was broken) and said something along the lines of, “you have 2 minutes before you spray the whole front row.”

As I sat there in the theater my mind went over and over those words. I touched my nose, and thought, Awww….that must really hurt? Then I shifted in my seat a bit. My heart began to race as I started sweating. My mouth became parched. Before I knew it, I was slumping over against my fiance (now husband) and I vaguely remember him gently slapping my cheeks trying to wake me up….

Yeah, I fainted. FOR NO GOOD REASON. Before I knew it I was being carried out by 4 men where two had my arms, and two had my legs, and I was being plopped on the floor in the hallway as a nurse held my hand and asked me if I knew my name? and if I knew where I was? 

Not a particularly proud moment for me. But after that day, and one other incident where I fainted at work (but thank goodness, no one noticed as I slumped down at my desk) I’m more cautious now, and try to keep what’s going on in my brain in check.

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I love this guy. He always makes me laugh and works harder at it when I am genuinely terrified.

Nonetheless, on Saturday we drove to Toronto to participate in the Edgewalk. Oddly enough, in conversation with hubby a few months back, I was pretty insistent that I wanted to do the CN Tower Edgewalk before the close of my blog.  But after he committed to it, I started to back-peddle and said, well, if we don’t get to it, that’s ok too. 

Except, something had happened. Something, I hadn’t counted on. Somewhere between the time I was excited, and then began to get faint about dangling from ropes over a tower, my hubby got excited about it. Unable to back out of it and disappoint the man I love, I steadied my nerves and committed to  a weekend to make it so.

The day we picked was going to be Sunday, October 15th. On Saturday as we drove down to Toronto, I pulled out my phone and checked the weather as I knew that if there was lightning, or high winds, there was a chance they would not proceed with the walkabout on Sunday. I saw Environment Canada was calling for 70 KM winds and thunderstorms. As I told hubby he began to twitch. I could see the disappointment spread across his face. I tried to reassure him and said we could always do it next year, we could do indoor skydiving instead (there’s a place in Toronto that does it) or we could just have a relaxing weekend.  Or, we try for another weekend.

Hubby began to shake his head and he didn’t seem happy about any of my other suggestions. I pulled my phone out and checked the Edgewalk website to see if there were still spots available for the Saturday times, and to my delight there were lots of places available for various times. (We had left Ottawa around 10:40 AM that morning and would arrive in Toronto around 3:00 PM.)  I proposed a new plan to hubby: the last group would go out at 7:30 PM and if we arrived in time, we would see if the people at the CN Tower were ok for us to go with one of the other groups. There was lots of availability between 5 PM and the final time of 7:30 PM.

We arrived in Toronto a little after 3:30 PM, quickly checked into our hotel, and promptly went over to the CN Tower. On our way there my nerves started getting the best of me as I began to trip over my feet, and stumbled several times as my knees began to lock up.  I was already beginning to get nervous. After I got into my orange jumper, we drove four hours, would my knees even allow me to walk out the door?

My god, I was still on solid ground and I could feel my body begin to shake. 

When we arrived at the CN Tower we asked about changing our time because of the high winds that were forecast for Sunday. The Service Representative disappeared to the back and returned a few minutes later giving us a thumbs up signal. She said we could join the next group at 4:30 PM. (That was 5 minutes waiting time.)

The staff went over the do’s and don’ts with the three of us. (Yes, that’s right. It was me, hubby and just one other super star woman. SHE WAS FEARLESS PEOPLE!) We were not allowed to bring anything extra: no cameras, no phones, and you weren’t allowed to wear any jewellery. We all pulled on orange jumpers, and they checked, and re-checked our harnesses at least 3 times.

Before we knew it we were in the elevator going up. Me and hubby mentioned we changed our time because of the 70 KM winds forecast for the next day, and our guide told us that the only time they don’t go out in winds is if it’s 70 KM all the way around the building. If it’s only on one side, they still go. Good to know. But I was still happy not have blustery winds pushing me around on top of my debilitating fear of heights.

When we got to the top they had one thick cord that ran in front of us that we got to hold on to. Behind us there was another cord that worked like a seat belt and would lock up if it needed to. Fearless woman was in front of us, I was in the middle, and hubby was behind me. We were instructed to walk out and then we would need to push forward up a small hill.  Fearless woman did it with ease, and than it was my turn.

My mind went something like: push rope, pushing rope, pushing rope, ooops….going backwards, ok, pushing rope…

AHHHHH!!! That’s a long ways down! 

Once everyone was outside our guide pointed out some of the buildings below us and explained how at one time the Fairmont Hotel was the tallest building in Toronto. (In my head, all I thought was: don’t need to know, don’t need to know, don’t need to know….) Then, she explained we would be doing a couple of tricks a few times.

My mind swirled and I blurted out, “a couple of times?”

Our guide sweetly smiled at me.

There was the toes over Toronto. In my case it was closer to half a toe. Then she instructed us how to lean forward against our rope, and we could stand on our tippy-toes if we wanted. (Nope, not for Ms. Faint girl.)

Then there was leaning back maneuver.  (I did my best.)

Did I do everything as bravely as I thought I would?

Nope. 

Was I braver than I thought I would be?

Well, I seriously thought I would freeze up at the front door and that never happened.

So, I say, yes.  

Would I do it again?

In the last 5 minutes of our adventure I let go of my rope, smiled, and thought, this isn’t so bad. But sadly, our time was up.

My answer is – YES. I would definitely do it again.

And – I did not FAINT.

 

Top 10 List Of Thoughts About Participating In The CN Tower Edgewalk

You need to prepare for an event such as the Edgewalk.  For me that meant researching reviews on what it was like to participate in a height-challenging event such as the one that I already committed to completing prior to the close of this blog on October 20th.

From the reviews, I know some details of what to expect before and during this challenge that has helped to calm my nerves. (Sort of.) From the information gleaned from the internet and in conjunction with the perky positive part of my brain (there’s the other side too, but I’ve already explained to Mrs. Negativity that she’s not allowed to voice her opinions in this blog post) I’ve come up with a Top 10 List.

TOP 10 LIST OF THOUGHTS ABOUT PARTICIPATING IN THE CN TOWER EDGEWALK:  

10. Don’t faint.

9. They check your strings many, many times. (Ok, ropes. Tethers? Harness? Whatever.)

8. It’s a maximum of 20 minutes out there. I can do anything for 20 minutes.

7. You don’t need to do all the tricks. (Such as that nonsense about leaning forward over the CN Tower.)

6. This is a once in a lifetime experience.

5. You’ll never have to do this again.

4. EVER.

3. be brave. 

2. Be Brave

1. BE BRAVE. 

We’re In The Final Days of This Blog, Let’s Try To Do Something Epic…

  • Hershey’s room is reserved for kenneling.
  • Tickets have been purchased.
  • Hotel room is reserved.
  • Date and time have been selected.
  • Upcoming: This will happen in the next few weeks and definitely, before October 20th, 2017.

CN TOWER EDGEWALK

(As long as mother nature cooperates, and I don’t get the flu, this should happen. Sometimes you can prepare all you want, but other things get in the way.)

Also, have I mentioned: I AM TERRIFIED OF HEIGHTS?

I thought about drawing a picture of me at the CN Tower, and I tried, but it looked terrible. So, I’m not posting it.

Sorry.

***

Ok, here it is.

This blog is called Pushing Boundaries after all. So, I have no skill at drawing. I guess I’ll never be Van Gogh.

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