Becoming Adventure Girl

As I was re-reading my Bright Shiny Things post about trying new things and the shift from scared of failure to “why not?”, I wondered to myself, “how did that happen?”  Am I the only one who talks to myself … and answers?  I think that is why I got a cat when I was single, so I could talk to myself and not seem completely insane.

Cary GrantThanks to A Fish Called Wanda, I learned in my late teens that Cary Grant had not always been Cary Grant, either in name or in personality.

“I pretended to be somebody I wanted to be and I finally became that person. Or he became me. Or we met at some point.”

The moral of the story was lost on me at that point, when I thought you were who you were and didn’t believe the whole rags to riches story, yet some part of my brain kept mulling it over.

After my divorce, I was adrift. Having spent the previous six years of my life viewing myself as an Officer’s wife left me completely without a sense of self (not that the sense of self was strong before that!).  I started out by taking baby steps.  I wrote out a list …

[Authors note: I love writing lists!  Once I wrote a list of all the lists that I needed to write!]

of all the things the voice in my said that I couldn’t do or didn’t like.  I then would take one activity at a time and try it.  I did it by myself so it wasn’t a threatening environment: I didn’t care what complete strangers thought of me.  I told myself I had to try things more than once, and then I could decide that I didn’t like it, regardless of whether I was good at it or not. You know what, that voice in my head was WRONG for most things!  I could do a lot of things, and I rather enjoyed them:

  • Dancing
  • Traveling alone
  • Cooking
  • Meeting new people

As I was working diligently through my list(!), I was keeping in contact with a former professor and great friend.  He created a new persona for me during all these pursuits: Adventure Girl.  My goal became to continuously do “un-Tammy” things”. Still being myself, I planned my spontaneity – yup, on one day month in my calendar I wrote, “be spontaneous.” That morning I would find out what was happening in the city that day and go.  When I found myself feeling uncomfortable in a situation (wanting to become a wall flower), I gave myself a job to do: Find out 3 peoples’ names; learn 2 new things; ask the host(ess) if help is needed and do whatever is asked.  Once the task was over, I was free to leave. Most of the time, however, completing the task gave me the confidence and comfort level to stay.

When I was at the University of Surrey for grad school, I wrote that professor friend saying that adventure girl had died.  I wrote that WHILE I WAS LIVING IN ENGLAND!  It had become a part of me and no longer a part I played.  I was able to change a part of me in a way that I valued.  Fake it ‘til you make it can work!

So what changes have you been able to incorporate into who you are … or … What is your favorite Cary Grant film? (Mine is Operation Petticoat)

16 thoughts on “Becoming Adventure Girl”

  1. I love the idea of planned spontaneity! Its a great way of incorporating the need for structure and planning with the need for fun and adventure. Great idea 🙂


  2. Tammy, this is a wonderful post, and I simply adore the “un-Tammy” philosophy! What a great way to reach beyond your grasp, grow and learn. As they say, “A mind once stretched never goes back to its original dimensions.”

    And a life oft stretched becomes enriched, enriching and ever-more rewarding.

    Congrats to you on the baby steps…”a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

    I’m honoured that you stopped by my blog today and commented, and I look forward to learning more about you too! Great post:) I’ll be tweeting it and letting my friends know that they should check the “un-Tammy Tammy” out! Cheers! Kaarina


    1. Thanks, Kaarina! “They” are right a lot of the time! This has been quite a journey and I’m loving it more often than not… who could ask for more?


  3. I love the quote by Cary Grant, it really sums up just what I’m trying to do this year. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog, I really appreciate your input. And now that I’ve seen your blog, I can’t wait to read more. I love the idea of being spontaneous, I’m trying that one myself. You’re inspiring to me and I am encouraged to know that I can “become” the person I want to be. Thanks!


    1. Thank you so much for your comments and support! Your blog was definitely comment-worthy! Looks like we are both In Search Of …. but our paths do not include Leonard Nimoy as a host! As you mentioned, it’s about the journey not the destination. I’ll be checking back in to your blog soon. Keep up the good work.


  4. Tammy, I like the Cary Grant quote too. In fact I sent a version of it (then I guess it wasn’t officially a quote) who was telling me that she knew writing and riding would somehow be keys to her future. Now she’s riding horses – actually riding in Spain this week – and has written two books and working currently on a screen play. Love the idea though – we fake it till we make it and somewhere along the way the line blurs.


    1. How wonderful that your friend was able to follow her passion! I’d love to be back in Spain right now!!!!

      I aspire to continue to meet those boundaries (between who I am and who I want to be) a bit blurrier ever single day.


  5. I have always adored Carey Grant. “Indiscreet” with Ingrid Bergman is a definite favorite. Your willingness to take those baby steps and then develop a stride is of great value and you sharing it may well be exactly the nudge that someone else needs to do the same.


    1. Charlie,

      Thank you SOOO much for your kind words. Inertia can be both an enemy and a friend. It takes great strength to start working towards what we want, but once we start, momentum helps. With so many options, figuring out in which direction to take that first step can be a daunting task. What I’m hoping to convey (and learn myself if I’m honest!) is that the where isn’t as important as just doing it. Changing direction is easier in movement. It’s like turning a car wheel … hard when parked, much easier when cruising down the street.



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