Next month I'll be performing stand-up for the first time.
I tell stories. Many of them are funny, but they don't have to be funny. If an audience doesn't laugh at something that was meant to be funny in one of my stories, I'm still telling a story, which is my real job. I can't get away with a failed bit of humor.
Stand up, on the other hand, requires humor. You're expected to be funny.
A friend asked me to try stand up with him a few months ago. I said no, but then changed my answer to yes after reminding myself that I don't say no.
I also think that doing new and scary things is extremely important in life.
Someone on Facebook recently asked when his friends knew that they were old. It was an annoying answer, I know, but I responded by saying that I still feel young. There are a few reasons behind this feeling, I think, but an important one is my aggressive attempt to try new things whenever possible.
This year it's stand up. I'm also writing for new magazines, writing my first nonfiction book, and writing my first middle grade novel. I'm also launching a new podcast, changing my golf swing, and trying my hand at some picture books and a less-than-conventional novel.
Last month, I conducted my first marriage ceremony that included storytelling. I told a lengthy story about the couple after interviewing them and finding something that I could turn into a captivating, enlightening story about their lives together.
It wasn't an easy thing to do, and I was nervous. Probably the most nervous I have felt speaking to an audience in a while. In the end, it went very well. The story got lots of laughs and lots of tears. I thought it was a crazy request on the bride and groom's part, but it went over beautifully. Two other couples from that wedding have already inquired about me conducting their ceremony.
New, intimidating, and frightening things. I look for these things. I seek them out. Then I force myself to take the plunge.
You should, too.
It's hard to feel old when life never gets old.