My six-year-old recently learned the “Truth or Dare” game from her schoolmates, so we’ve been playing a G-rated version together at home. Sample Truth: Have you ever peed in your underwear? Sample Dare: I dare you to hop on one foot around the couch. It’s fun and it’s cute and such a far, innocent cry from my college T&D games that usually involved sex and drinking.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of a dare. When you become a mother, it sometimes feels like the biggest dare—Have a baby!—is behind you and now it’s about being as safe as humanly possible: carseats; baby harnesses; all-organic everything; hell no, I’m never getting on a motorcycle again. Survival, yours and your child’s, is rightfully a huge concern but I’ll admit to feeling a certain suffocation from this prime, biological directive. I never get to be wilfully stupid again? I never get to do something just for the rush, just for myself?
Probably not. I don’t have the kind of personality that allows me to conveniently misplace my responsibilities. Despite the carefree attitude I may project, I’m more comfortable with order than chaos, especially because I have kids. But I sometimes miss those days when I didn’t have to consider the half-life of my hangover before I ordered a third drink. (Is there anything worse than a furious hangover when you’ve got babies up in your grill before 6 am? Right, when you’ve got a furious hangover and babies and you’re over 40.)
I think what needs to change is my version of a dare. Dares don’t have to be about throwing my wellbeing out the window. I don’t have to kiss another hot stranger in a bar or go cliff diving in Jamaica. But I can expand my own limits of thought and possibility.
I’ve decided April is the month I start daring myself to do things I’ve been afraid to or never thought to or was simply too lazy or inconsiderate to do.
People say this about raising children, “The days are long but the years are short.” Truth. But it’s true even when you don’t have kids. These lives of ours are achingly brief. How much of mine have I wasted being bored and unhappy, doing only what I was supposed to do, and getting mired in the minutiae of the long days?
This month, we’re bringing you stories and ideas that dare you to think and do slightly different than normal. From a kick-your-ass cocktail that will get you on the bar, Coyote Ugly-style, to finally getting a handle on conflict, these big and small things may change up your life, perhaps for a night, perhaps forever, perhaps not. The point is simply to try, especially if it resonates with you.
I suppose what I’m daring myself to do is live how I really want. I dare you to do the same.