When we’re children trying new things and having new experiences is a main part of our growth and education and learning about life. We also learn a lot about ourselves; our likes and dislikes, we make friends, spend hours playing and discovering, and we develop into individuals. Then you finish school, get a job and… find a routine?
There is nothing wrong with routine of course, however, it tends to hold us back from doing that once everyday thing of exploration and discovery. We know exactly how every day will go, what we’re going to pack for lunch and who we’re going to meet, because it’s all in the diary. As adults we also start to become more set it our ways, we (think) we know exactly what we like and what we don’t and that is that. But, what if we’re wrong?
It can also be harder as ‘responsible adults’ to break free from the (sometimes) restricting routine and try new things or collect new experiences due to work, family, duties and other external pressures and stresses, but we must try, because I believe that we should never stop learning and discovering, because that’s what life’s all about.
When we were teenagers we were encouraged and even praised for running away to South East Asia with only a backpack, flip-flops and stranger we just met, but if we did it as a ‘grown-up’ it would be perceived as irresponsible or perhaps judged as a midlife-crisis.
Well, I say we are never too young to explore, travel or experience new things because once you have the taste for it you won’t want to turn back.
Trying new things can come in all shapes and sizes, from trying the new restaurant in town to trying a new sport or activity. If it’s new to you, it’s perfect. But often the thing that gets in the way, besides ‘responsibility’, is in fact, ourselves.
Once we get past the reasons, the routines and the how’s, we have every excuse in the book for NOT doing something; work, children, new house, money cleaning, dog, car… And yet all it takes to try that something new is for you to make it happen. Often it is the fear of the new that is truly stopping us, so let’s look at the journey of ‘trying something new’ and how we can get on board and ready to go asap!
Before trying something new there’s the anticipation and excitement. But for some, this is less of the latter and way more terror and fear. If it’s been a while since you steered away from the routine it can be hard to let go of the comfort zone, and that is OK. The comfort zone is a great place. You feel in control, comfortable and know exactly what's going on. The thought of trying new things, even tasting a new food can induce great conflict and stress. The fear of not knowing or not liking can hold us back. Fear is ok, it’s understandable, in fact, it’s only natural, if it’s not stopping you from doing things you’re always wanted to do.
One important trait you do need a little of, and you have more than you think, a drop of courage. You only need a little to do a lot, just enough to overcome the fear and step onto that paddleboard for the first time, set off on that hike or jump into that lake and you’re there. In the action, living the new and starting a journey of discovery. (There are no age limits there.)
Amid your new thing, whether you’re exploring a new town or trying yoga for the first time, you will have moments when the fear will try to sneak back in, but you must use that courage that got you there to hold it back and try to let go.
It’s ok not to be in control 100% of the time, a paranoia which seems to come with adulthood, because when you are not in control you are susceptible and open to discovery. You are to an extent, forced to adapt to your surroundings, speak to new people or learn a new skill, but in this place, just outside of your comfort zone, you can learn how great it is, NOT being in control.
When we are the ones who dictate our everyday life, the action of trying new things can be that one part of our life that is not planed or organised, which can be quite freeing. Just go for it. Let someone else show you the way for a change.
The thing to remember too, is that you will never be alone on your journey of discovery, because there are always others who have done it and who are on their 3rd, 8th or 100th turn! Ask the waiter for advice on dishes if you’re not sure, confirm with the instructor how to do it or ask Google where the best places to visit are…And most importantly, enjoy it, and know that if you don’t enjoy it, you never have to do it again, but you’ll have the satisfaction and contentment that you tried.
Often the best part of doing something new is the after. When you’ve tried something for the first time and succeeded or enjoyed it or learned something new, you can feel proud, relieved and content. The relief and realisation that you overcame the fear that initially may have been holding you back, the happiness that you enjoyed it, and hopefully the hunger to do more.
I bought a bicycle! I had been talking about it for so long I thought it was about time I get on with it. I’m not a confident cyclist, yet, and my bike is nothing fancy, but it does the job and I love it. New hobby added to the list. Then, my fiance just last weekend wanted to build a planter box out of an old pallet, so he did it, before I knew it we had tomatoes growing in the garden! And lastly, I had never visited the Lake District, so where am I right now? Sitting in a café in a quaint town in the heart of the Lake District. It took us 6 hours to drive but we got here, and just yesterday we summitted Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England. These trips don’t need to cost a lot to do either, we found a beautiful and reasonable National Trust campsite with great facilities including a shop that stocks Prosecco and fresh burgers (what more could you want) and there you have it, ‘new’ things done in just a weekend.
The more we discover, the more we learn about ourselves. Even as adults we don’t know everything, what we’re capable of or how much we still have to grow.
Not only can trying new things build confidence and inspire us to try even more which is vital for positivity and our mental wellbeing but it also encourages self-awareness and self-improvement. Having the hunger to discover motivates us to live life to the full and keep growing no matter of age or experience, we all have something new to learn, and it’s just a single step away from that place we all know and love, the comfort zone.
Go on, make it happen - step out and see what you find!
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