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On a Personal Note: A “Brave” Reminder

“I might be a little scared.”

“That’s awesome.”

“No, it’s not,” I said.

“Yes, it is, because you can only be brave if you’re scared.”

– from The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Last week, I flew through The Impossible Knife of Memory (why did it take me so long to read it??) and after I finished, I couldn’t stop thinking about the above passage. So today of all days, when tons of kids will be starting a new year of classes, teachers will be learning a whole new set of kids, and when I will be starting a new job, it helps to hear that because scared is a good thing.

In fact, it’s a bit of advice I’ve heard over and over in the past few weeks. You’re nervous because you care. Or because you want to do a great job. These are all acceptable reasons for being a little shaky the first day? Okay, well. That’s good. Because I am. All of the above. Looking back at the first days of school, I was always the kind of person who stayed up all night, unable to sleep because all the anticipation. Some years, this carried onto Sunday nights too. I’m a natural born worrier; that’s definitely a part of it. On the other hand, I’m a major perfectionist so I’m sure that had a hand in it too.

As self-admitted bookworms, I don’t think I’m alone when I say I rely on books a lot during these times of change. Practically all the characters we meet are working through some version of newness, dealing with a bit of insecurity, wondering if they have what it takes, and if they will fit in. Silly as it might sound I find myself thinking “if they can do it, I can do it!”. Fully aware, my confidence boost is coming from fictional characters in fictional scenarios.

So I thought I would share a few of those titles today. Just in case you need a little cheerleading too.

Books and Bravery A List from Rather Be Reading Blog

Me Before You by Jo Jo Moyes | Things I Can’t Forget by Miranda Kenneally | Only Everything by Kieran Scott

Disneylanders by Kate Abbott | Nantucket Red by Leila Howland | There Will Come a Time by Carrie Arcos

Like No Other by Una LaMarche

Truth be told, it was difficult to narrow down this list because there are so many books that have given me support at one time or another. But I think these are a fantastic start. (Plus I read all of them in 2014 so there’s that.) Here’s hoping you have a wonderful start to your September, knowing support comes from all places in your life. Even your bookshelf.

October 20, 2014 - 7:54 pm

Liz - I really enjoy this post, and I hope your new job is off to a great start. I’m sure you’re doing great. I personally have only read ME BEFORE YOU of all of these, but now I know what to have in mind when I want something along these lines. To me, JUST ONE DAY and JUST ONE YEAR are kind of about bravery, too. I can’t wait to see more of your recommendations along this same line!

September 10, 2014 - 2:31 pm

Cassie @ Happy Book Lovers - Now I’ve got a list for when I jump into something new!

You are going to be awesome at your new job, and like you, I’m always nervous and always worrying, but once it happens, change is good. I think it keeps things interesting and fresh. And it’s awesome that books are inspirational! I mean, yes, as bookworms, we all know this, but I think sometimes we forget.

I’m saving this list for when I move, I’m officially planning to relocate to NYC soon! Exciting and terrifying! 🙂

September 7, 2014 - 12:43 pm

Mawa Mahima - Yes, first days are always dreadful…but thanks for the list Estelle! Good luck on your new job too 🙂
Luckily my first day back went pretty well, I mean when you’re pretty well versed at the art of the first day, then you tend to not get too worked up on the actual day. Needless to say, I was a nervous mess the night before (and I still don’t know why). It all turns out alright of course. 🙂

September 5, 2014 - 11:38 am

Alexa S. - Being brave is something that I have to choose to do constantly. I’ve come a long, long way from the days when I was an introvert, scared of my own shadow, and unwilling to take risks, especially if I felt like I would mess it up or everything would go wrong. I know you’re going to embrace your bravery and do an amazing job at your new job, complete with learning + mistakes along the way. YOU GOT THIS, E!

Also, your book suggestions are totally spot on. I can’t wait to read the latter two – There Will Come a Time + Like No Other – soon!

September 3, 2014 - 9:48 pm

Ginger @ GReads! - As someone who has just taken a giant leap into something new, I found this blog post to be very inspirational. So thank you for that. I agree that being nervous shows you care. At 33 years old, I STILL get those Sunday night jitters. But I also know in the end, everything will be okay. I’ve learned to take this leap with my eyes wide open. Ask as many questions as I can, to not be afraid of making a mistake, and soak up this experience as much as possible.

Estelle, I hope the new frontier has been wonderful so far. You’ve been on my mind! Here’s to new beginnings & the journey ahead, xo.

September 2, 2014 - 1:36 pm

Meg - Thinking of you on your first day at the new job! Totally agree that you’re nervous because you really do care and want everything to work out well, which is very normal. Like you, I once stayed up into the wee hours unable to shut my mind off before a first day of school, a big test, a new job . . . but I’m sure only great things are afoot. Love this list, too! Lots of new-to-me titles I’ll have to look up.

September 2, 2014 - 12:57 pm

Jen @Fefferbooks - I adore this list! I feel like really, no one else knows what the heck they’re doing, either. Some of us just fake it really well. 😉 We’re all a little scared, sometimes, and all a little clueless. But sometimes, we all really rock. Have a great first day! Be awesome!!

September 2, 2014 - 10:25 am

Brianna - Good luck at the new job! I love Laurie Halse Anderson, so I’ll have to look for this one. I like to believe I’m brave, but the reality is there’s a terrified person on the inside who is dealing with some tough stuff and doesn’t know what’s going to happen.

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