Posted by: syncopated1 | April 13, 2011

Chapter 15: Well, this could be fun!

We decided to have a group shot...then Steve tried to knock us all over.

My mother has been saying this for years, and it has taken me every single one of those years for me to finally agree with her, but I am contrary by nature. When I say contrary by nature I don’t mean that I enjoy playing Devil’s Advocate, I mean that when someone tells me I should check something out, or that I have to see such and such a movie my immediate reaction is to respond with, “Eh, fuck that.” And then scramble in my mind with a reason or two to back that up. I’m learning to help it, but it’s a hard trait to deny. Thus I made the New Year’s resolution of being more open to trying new things.

Since then I have willfully gone about realizing this resolution in my life and I have had wonderful results! In the last three and a half months I have tried all sorts of new foods (I found experimenting with food to be an incredible jumping off point for trying new things; I even discovered that I like celery! Something I’ve strongly disliked for most of my life), I have diversified my musical taste with help from friends, I got a new hair cut to tremendous results, and I even let myself be convinced to go down hill skiing with the guys from work.

I truly began this adventure of new things, like I said, with food back in early December. I got tired of subsisting on pasta and chicken and vegetables and began to teach myself how to cook (I’ve also hated cooking for most of my life). I asked friends and family for their favorite recipes and just started working at it. I love to cook now, I love looking in my cupboard, evaluating what I have for food and saying, “I wonder what happens when I do this?”

In February the guys I work with, Steve and Chris, and I planned a trip down to Camden to go down hill skiing. With us went Steve’s girlfriend, Katrina, and Chris’s wife,  Jean. We got down there, suited up, rode the chair lift to the top of the mountain while my anxiety increased with each added foot of elevation. I listened to Steve and Chris give me the basics interlaced with the “realities” of just how wrong it could go if I didn’t do it. Then they pointed my skis toward the bottom of the hill and away we went! Cresting the first part of the hill was terrifying as I was certain only of my natural propensity toward accidents.

Four hours later and many, many wipeouts including a lost ski, hugging a pilon of the chairlift, and a brief jaunt into the woods I had had the time of my life! I had so much fun doing something that two months earlier I would have said no way to, that Chris, Steve and I went again in March!  On our second outing I, perhaps foolishly, continued celebrating my resolution and let Steve convince me that it was a good idea to try jumps. Little success there, but great fun!

Needless to say, I still struggle with my contrary nature, but when I think the quality and diversity of my life before I actively worked on changing and opening my mind to new things I am amazed by the incredible improvement in such a short span of time. A lot of people will throw up the obvious objection that as nice an idea as this is, “I don’t have any extra money to be trying new things like this!” Well I’m here to say that skiing was only one example. Here’s another more budget friendly example:

I have a buddy living in Toronto, a few months back he and I were brainstorming ways for him to get out and meet new people in a relaxed, yet economical way. So I very enthusiastically suggested he go contra dancing, which cost almost nothing for a wonderful evening of fun, exercise and friendly people. As I described what contra dancing is all about I could tell that he wasn’t terribly thrilled by the idea. And I’m not sure if it was my enthusiasm or his own determination, but whatever it was he went! And he loved it (I’m sure it helped that Crowfoot was playing, but still).

Long story(s) short I firmly believe that if you flatly refuse to try new things then you also flatly refuse to allow new ways to be unexpectedly happy! I’ve had immense success with trying new things, and I’m sure that sometime this year I will try something that I decide I don’t like. But still, thus far I have only found my life enriched by adding new things to it!


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