Sunday, August 14, 2011

Try New Things

A must for any writer, and really for anyone who wants to expand their outlook, is to “try new things” – a phrase that parents love to use and kids hate to hear. Sorry, kids, but the parents are right on this one.

I admit that it’s not easy to do all the time, especially when by nature you are a vanilla ice cream and cheese pizza, no toppings, kind of person like I am. But getting out of your comfort zone and trying something that scares you a little is not going to kill you, will likely give you something to write about, and will possibly turn into something you actually enjoy.
A perfect “case in point” happened this weekend when I went kayaking with my friend Sarah down the Weeki Wachee River.  My friend is one of those try anything, go anywhere kind of girls. I tend to be more cautious and responsible. In high school, she was the one who broke down the hotel room door – after I had locked her out.
On one of the river bends, someone had nailed wooden boards to the side of a tall tree. Ten and twelve year olds were climbing up like monkeys and fearlessly jumping into the deep blue pool below.
My friend decided that if kids can do it, so can we. She climbed up high, slightly hesitated and then let go. Then, it was my turn. I think I made it up three of four steps and decided that was far enough. I counted to three and jumped.
My landing was awful. Instead of keeping my feet together, I must have been flailing, because my legs were red for ten minutes afterward. But the fleeting moment of falling before crashing into the cool water below was something I haven’t experienced since I was ten or twelve. So I climbed up the steps again, this time with much less hesitation.
We as adults tend to lose that sense of fearlessness and abandon. Twelve year olds don’t worry that they might break a leg if they miss the water – they just jump. Adults often won’t even take the first step, because all they see is a possible trip to the hospital instead of thinking about the enjoyment and adventure of the experience itself.
I’m not saying you should throw caution out the window. What I am saying is that you will likely discover that what you fear won’t happen and that instead, you will find yourself doing something you truly enjoy.
So take the leap. Try something that scares you a little. You might find yourself going back for round two.

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