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50 small fears this woman plans to conquer

Mary Elder is ticking off a list of 50 fears. Eating a bug is on that list.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott
Mary Elder is ticking off a list of 50 fears. Eating a bug is on that list.

When Mary Elder was set to turn 50 she started thinking, what if she had another 50? What would she do with those years?

"I thought, 'I could save the rainforest!' And then my next thought was, 'Except I really don't like snakes,'" she said. 

Elder realized it was time to stop living so safe. She decided to write down her fears -- 50 little things that had been holding her back from living a full life. 

Nothing crazy, like sky diving or traveling to outer space. These were normal, mundane, every-day fears, like ride a Ferris wheel. 

"All these little fears make it so I don't even contemplate what might be," Elder said. 

“People are freaked out by oysters, and I certainly was.”

Elder’s fear was that she wouldn’t like the texture and she would end up gagging on the oyster – in public.

“I could imagine patrons and staff swirling in horror because I was gagging on an oyster. It was a real embarrassment factor.”

But she decided to do it anyway. And when the oyster came out she asked the waitress how to eat it.

“She said, 'Just chew twice and swallow.' And I chewed twice and swallowed and I could not believe the experience.

"I think oysters are like little poems. They’re just so hard to describe even: They have this beautiful, lyrical meld of just the taste of fog and lemon and sort of just a day at the beach.

"I just thought it was incredible. And I had been without it. I had just totally foreclosed on that, like, oh that might be something that I wouldn’t like.”

Year started with KUOW: 1985 – 1986, 1991 – 2004, 2012
Year started with KUOW: 2015