By: Suzanne Reisler Litwin
As we get older and wiser we tend to find our personal comfort zones. We find the people we feel most comfortable with. We find the clothing which fits us the best. We find the foods which work best for our bodies. We become more comfortable people within our own skin.
Some would say we grow to be comfortably complacent. Perhaps we become more simplified as people? Or are we more lazy, boring people who just like what we like and we don’t like much more. This sounds like a really boring scenario for a person, which we are not!
At each of my birthdays, I make a deal with myself. The deal is, “What am I going to do this year which I have never done before?” I think about what it can be for quite a while. Sometimes I can’t decide on what it will be and then sometimes, it just happens.
Curling! I went curling in 2014. I have never done this before. I’ve seen this activity on TV and never thought much about it. It seems slow and boring and not too exciting. The opportunity came when I was invited to attend The Suburban Newspaper’s Christmas party at a curling club.
I embraced this new opportunity with enthusiasm. I was going to curl for the first time in my life. Whether I was to enjoy it or not didn’t matter. It was a chance to try something new. In the end, I was pleasantly surprised! Curling is a lot of fun and extremely technical. It is a game of precision at its finest. It is also an elegantly played sport. I am definitely going to do it again. I think I’m addicted to throwing the stones. I really, really enjoyed curling. I especially enjoyed curling with my colleagues.
It’s not always what you do that makes the difference, but with whom you do it with which makes it special.
In 2015, I ran a night race with a head lamp on to guide me. I had never done this kind of race before. Tripping over rocks didn’t excite me enough to do it again. I think I over ran the beam of my head lamp. I’m glad I did it and now it’s a “done it once.”
Now that it is 2016, I have my birthday promise to keep. What will I do this year that I have never done before? What will I learn or do to expand myself as a person? What new challenge will I experience?
The one rule I always keep is, whatever I choose to do, I will not put myself in danger. That’s where I draw the line in my quest for new adventures or experiences.
Maybe I will learn mandarin this year? Maybe I will teach a new course at Concordia U? Maybe I will learn how to play Bocce? Maybe the opportunity will simply come to me, like curling did? However it happens, whenever it happens, I will embrace the opportunity to try something new this year.
While I was riding my bike last summer, I noticed people line dancing in many outdoor recreation halls. I got off my bike and tried to follow the dance steps. It definitely takes more than 5 or 10 minutes to learn the steps. I also noticed that each week the music changes from country to salsa to swing, etc. I want to learn the dance routines. I want to participate. I think this will be my challenge this year. I’ve also noticed how happy the dancers are and how social the environment is. I like all of that.
Maybe I will learn to follow these “footsteps” and take a friend along with me to share the joys of experiencing new things together.
Jump out of your box and try something new, for anything new will expand the new you!
Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an author/writer/columnist/educator. She contributes every Monday morning to the West Island Blog’s Keeping it Real Column.
She is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban newspaper. She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. She lives in Montreal, Canada with her 3 children, Allyn, Taylor, and Duke and her husband Laurie. Suzanne contributes regularly to West Island Blog under her column Keeping it Real. Please visit her website www.suzannereislerlitwin.com to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.