So often, our days are built around a routine. Our lives are composed of endless cycle of work, meals, family, household chores, and social obligations.
Think back to some of your best experiences in life. When were you the happiest, most excited, and completely engaged in what you were doing? I would bet those moments weren’t spent holed up in a tiny cubicle or meticulously picking lint off of freshly laundered clothes. I would venture to guess that a majority of those memorable experiences were spent doing something for the first time. Often being stretched to our limits and learning something new will make us feel at the top of our game, and even the simple act of trying something different can boost our enthusiasm, happiness, and well-being.
The ultimate experience of “flow” occurs when a challenging task overlaps with one’s skills (many of which may be yet undiscovered). When we’re comfortable with our life and routines, it’s often difficult to take the first step towards trying something new, despite the potential benefits. Even if the new experience isn’t great, we’re often proud of ourselves for at least stepping out of our comfort zone and opening ourselves up to new possibilities.
This spring, my mom bought a gardening book and several packs of seeds and proposed we plant a garden. Despite knowing little to nothing about the art, I help plant zucchini, green beans, spinach, sunflowers, green peppers, and snow peas. Though not everything survived the arid heat, carefully following instructions and caring for those tiny seeds has led to incredible results – 12-foot tall sunflowers, 2-foot long zucchini, handfuls of green beans, and a huge sense of accomplishment.
For the past few summers, my best friend and I have taken art classes for fun. In the past, we’ve done printmaking and acting (which I ended up dropping out of because I’m so shy). This summer we signed up for portrait sketching. I’ve never considered myself very creative or artistic, but I love engaging in art in crafts and dabbling in different creative endeavors for fun.
This week, I attended the first of eight sketching classes. For the first hour, the diverse group of students listened attentively as the instructor taught us the basics of sketching, shared tips about facial and body proportions, and addressed common mistakes that we should be aware of. For the next two hours, we applied what we had learned to sketching a skull. It really is amazing how much you can pick up in just a few hours.
Get up today and do something for the first time – no matter how big or how small. Eliminate the phrase, “I’m bored” from your vocabulary. Start saying “yes” to new experiences; spend your free time thinking about and planning ways to open your mind and expand your repertoire. There is so much to see, learn, and experience. Brainstorm ways to enhance every aspect of your life. Think about your dreams and transform them into your reality. Here are some areas to consider:
Trying something for the first time doesn’t necessarily have to be huge. I don’t expect you to go skydiving tomorrow, backpack across Europe, or become a vegan. Things like signing up for a class that sounds interesting, paying for someone else’s meal in a drive-through, trying a foreign food, or taking a spontaneous day trip to a new location are just as wonderful, and well-worth celebrating.
So, when was the last time you did something for the first time? If it’s been awhile, perhaps it’s time to start integrating more new experiences into your life. You’ll quickly notice how incorporating lots of exciting and engaging moments into your everyday life – no matter how small they may seem – will bring more joy, contentment, and fullness into your life.
What is going to be your next “first”?