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Being brave is much harder than it looks

It’s funny how when you go back home and see old friends you immediately revert back to who you once were, in my case the class clown or baby sister.

At home and with friends I’ve always loved the limelight. It’s fair to say I’ve never been exactly shy, but underneath all the noise and bravado I realised a couple of years ago that somewhere along the way I had stopped being brave and challenging myself. And why bother? I was happy with my family, happy with my relationship, happy with my work. Why rock the boat and start pushing myself outside my comfort zone?

It took a few huge life events to make me realise you really do only get one stab at this living malarkey. Unless you’re willing to push yourself and be open to making mistakes and learn from them, and give yourself clear goals to strive for, suddenly it can be too late before you know it.

With renewed vigour, I started to find ways to challenge myself, revisiting things I once loved and had moved away from as life got in the way. Most importantly I also sought guidance from those around me rather than assuming I always knew best. In the space of a year I reminded myself what it felt like to be brave and take a few risks. Not all were successful, but it felt great to have at least tried, to have wrenched myself off the sofa and remind myself what it felt like to be the bravest version of myself.

I can honestly look back over the last year and identify the points where I pushed myself further, made tough decisions, and in some cases, turned my back on what was most familiar to me. At least this way I know the next time I visit home there’ll still be a little bit of class clown and a touch of baby sister, but a bolder, braver version of both.

BY Zoë Cox

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