I remember back in high school when I had my core activities or interests, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and trying new things. The music-theatre kid, playing in band, singing in choir, acting in plays. Those were me. It was a form of identity I clung to amidst the raging storm of adolescence.
Fast forward a few years later, and I’m not regularly doing any of those activities. In fact, I’ve replaced those interests with others. I’m not making music every day, but I do practice yoga. I even dabble in art and drawing. Both examples are hobbies I don’t think I ever imagined myself doing on a daily basis.
So often, we identify ourselves based off what we do and produce. Your sense of self must have something that others can see and appreciate. “Here’s who I am—see! This proves it!”
Such a perspective is problematic. It limits you, leaving you frozen on certain labels and activities. Trying new things and venturing off into the unknown usually means you don’t entirely fit the persona you’ve created, the story you’ve told yourself in your mind. Not going to lie—it’s scary. Uncomfortable. Probably awkward.
Expanding your horizons and finding new interests is a vague goal. Maybe you didn’t even plan it, and this stage is upon you, and you’re left clueless and vulnerable. I get it—I’m there with you. If you want some sort of framework to go from, that’s what I’ll help with. Trying new things: a big concept, simplified into road map.
research. see what’s out there.
By now, you probably know enough about yourself to consider your strengths and weaknesses. This knowledge can be used when trying new things. Before you go into an activity completely blind, learn about it.
Knowledge is power, in every situation. Since I’m already a huge planner-organizer person, the very act of researching different ideas and hobbies is an interest in of itself. I even think regular, continual learning can be a hobby.
We can stigmatize what constitutes “trying new things.” You should be bold! Out of the box! Answer: that’s wrong. Read more books. Do watercolor painting. Listen to podcasts. Whatever tickles your fancy. Trying new things should be a journey for you and you alone. Own your life and your time; do what you love and find more things to love.
That’s the beautiful part about living in this universe: we have the freedom to choose where we designate energy. We have the choice to cultivate endless outlets of creativity and joy. The only obstacle in your path is you.
be OPEN to trying new things.
Like I said earlier, the hobbies I’ve picked up in the last year aren’t ones I expected. Trying new things, as much as you might want it to be, isn’t systematic. You often feel pleasantly surprised by the gratification from activities you’d already labeled as “not for you.”
Mustering all the effort you can, some activities just don’t speak to you. It sounds like you’d love doing that, but every time you try, it feels forced. I’ve tried so hard to meditate every day, but it’s still very difficult to stick to. If something doesn’t turn out as you expected, move on. Don’t dwell on the “failure” of being ill-equipped for a certain activity. There’s plenty of other options out there.
Have you ever tried something, had a bad experience or first impression, and then vowed to never dare try it again? Yup, me too. Think of anything athletic, and I’m bound to be hit in the head with a ball or literally fall flat on my face (seriously, it must be a curse). If you’re at all curious, why not give it a whirl? Who knows, maybe you’ve evolved to now try that thing. It’s like hating a food as a child, but trying again years later, you love it. Our palates can change.
Repeat after me: Your identity is not based off what you do. You are a human being, not a list of labels and titles. Believe otherwise, and you probably aren’t trying new things in the first place. The possibilities within your grasp are unfathomable. I say, listen to Nike and tell yourself to Just Do It.
accept if you fail.
You’re not going to be amazing at every new thing you may try. We all have to begin somewhere. The important part is sticking with what inspires you without self-judgment.
When I started doing yoga, I had to follow YouTube videos and struggled to keep up. When I took a stab at drawing and lettering, I don’t exaggerate saying I spent four hours on one project…only to realize I spelled a word wrong. Allow yourself grace. Experts list some crazy number of hours it takes of practice before mastery; you need every moment of those hours to simply try those new things.
For many instances of trying new things, you decide to quit when you realize your skill-level is mediocre. You love to sing, but your voice doesn’t come close to your friend’s talent. After reading the poetry you just wrote, it sounds like a cliché Tumblr post—delete. Heck, you’re toiling away on a blog, doing everything the “success stories” tell you to do, only to see that nobody’s even reading it.
Not going to lie, it’s beyond discouraging to have these high aspirations, only to face the music that you probably won’t stand out among the crowd of everyone else doing that thing. That’s okay. Again, I ask, why are you trying new things at all? Is it to find new sources of joy in your life, or to impress others for fifteen seconds of fame?
So, my dear ones, please spend your lives trying new things. Dive head-first into what excites your spirit. Take a few risks. Float like a hummingbird to new flowers, or several flowers at once. Unfold your security blanket, and allow whatever may be to pass by and potentially kindle your next great feat.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie