Why trying new things matters

Last fall I finally got around to reading The Nightengale. (So good! Highly recommend!) Set in France I quickly found myself drawn to all things French. I signed up for a French food cooking class. I bought books about Paris. I started bugging my husband about taking me to France. (“Think about all of the French wine we can drink!”) And I started taking French lessons online.

Have you ever heard someone with an Okie accent speak French? It isn’t the prettiest thing you’ve ever heard. I stick my headphones in during my lesson so I don’t have to listen to myself. Right now I’m not confident enough to actually say something out loud. If you asked, “Say something in French!” I would politely respond with a, “non, merci” and try not to blush.

I’m in a constant state of searching for something new. Not a new life. Not a new job. I’m very happy with both of those. I’m defined as a wife and a mother and… well, that’s about it. I am honored to hold those two titles, and I take my overlapping jobs seriously

However…

My life is often monotonous. Wake the kids, feed the kids, feed the dogs, make the lunches, start the laundry, all before 8AM. Every day is the same and every single one of those tasks holds value. Yes, these tasks matter, but they are mindless. I don’t have to put a lot of thought into them. And doing these mindless tasks day after day after day leaves my brain screaming for attention.

So I search. I search for new things to do, to learn about, to try. I read. I listen to podcasts. I take classes. I find new hobbies. I’m in a constant state of searching for something new. Some people fear trying new things. Others, like me, crave it. I need the benefits that trying new things brings to my life.

A Few of the New Things I’ve Tried:

  • Took a pottery class. (Made several salsa bowls.)
  • Learned to knit. (I’m good for a long scarf and not much else.)
  • Taught myself how to needlepoint. (My last project took me 10 years to complete. I wish I was kidding.)
  • Learned HTML. (Back in the day when creating your own blog was still a new thing.)
  • Self-published a book. (Because sometimes you have to make your own dreams come true.)
  • Taught myself embroidery. (Made some fun Christmas decorations.)
  • Learned how to make homemade croissants. (Might be the best and most dangerous thing I’ve learned how to do.)
  • Take cooking classes at Sur La Table whenever I can.
  • Learned how to Stand Up Paddle in the ocean. (One word: seasick.)
  • Re-learned how to snow ski. (Because if you only do it once every 10+ years you go through a re-learning process.)
  • Bought a sewing machine and taught myself how to hem some jeans. (Much harder than it looks.)
  • Currently learning French. (Oui.)

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Trying new things isn’t always successful. I might discover I don’t like something. I might find that no matter how hard I try I will never be good at it. But I never regret trying. It is never time wasted. So here are my reasons why I suggest you should step out try new things:

  1. It gives you something new to talk about at parties. Or anywhere really. I get tired of always talking about the same subjects and talking about today’s politics and whatever the latest sh*t show is on the news tends to bring everyone down. When you are learning about something new you are exposed to new ideas. Whenever I’m exposed to new things I can’t wait to share my new knowledge with someone, to talk about it, to share what I’ve learned
  2. It brings fresh energy into your life. Trying new things creates a spark. It gives us something to be excited about. Something to look forward to. New things bring optimism and positive energy into our lives. In our current world, filled with lots of negativity, it is important for us to find things that bring joy into our lives, things that we love to do. When you need something positive to focus on, trying something new is a great way to make that happen.
  3. It might expose you to different people or cultures. Immersing myself in all things French has exposed me to a whole new culture. It has gotten me out of my bubble and into a world that is much bigger than the simple suburb that I live in. And a few years ago when I took a pottery class, I met a bunch of new people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Exposing yourself to different cultures and different people helps you to have a better understanding of our world.
  4. It boosts your self-confidence. Every time I learn how to do something that I didn’t know how to do before, I feel good about myself. You get that “I did it!” fist-pumping feeling. Learning a new skill, no matter how big or how small, makes us proud of ourselves. Conquering something that we were afraid to try, let’s say like paddle boarding in the ocean over gigantic wads of aggressive kelp, is a huge boost to your ego. (I know that of which I speak.)
  5. It will help you learn to make mistakes. Rarely can you try something new and instantly be good at it. There are a few exceptions, but most of us aren’t genetically blessed with the talent of being good at everything. It is normal to make mistakes, probably lots of them, when you are trying something new. Personally, I have found the more mistakes I make, the more used to it I get. I don’t get upset when I fail. I realize that it is part of the process and the more I try, the more normal making mistakes feel.

So step out. Try something new. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain. And something new to talk about at parties.

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