When is the last time you tried something new? A new food, maybe a new hobby, perhaps you got wild and parted your hair on the other side (gasp!).
And I don’t mean reading or pinning about something new (sheepishly raises hand), but actually doing something new.
why we should do it
This has been one thing that has helped me shake out of funks and start exploring who I am and how I am made. Also, science says it is good for your brain (new synapses, new growth, etc. science).
In the monotony of motherhood and homemaking, I’ve looked for ways to bring some excitement into my life (who else is blaring Salt n Peppa while frying the ground beef for spaghetti? Let’s get crazy and through in a dash of fennel to the pan). In my experience, trying something new is a stimulant.
Even if I’m not successful in my attempts I can’t help but feel more vibrant and creative in the process. If you stop and think about how you want to feel in your daily life, I bet there is a version of ‘vibrant and creative’ in that list.
We never change, grow, learn, if we don’t do something different.
If I didn’t try something new I wouldn’t have grown in my mothering, I wouldn’t have salvaged my marriage, I wouldn’t have made some awesome momfriends who are my family, I wouldn’t have changed my career to be more in line with what I most love, I wouldn’t be taking care of my health. I wouldn’t have tried olives or feta or waffless. Trying new things helps us get in touch with our authentic selves – who we are, what we are about, how we operate, how we love and create.
If I didn’t try new things would still be in a place where I think I ought to remain. Trying something new is me telling my brain to turn off the auto-pilot decisions.
If I didn’t try new things I wouldn’t believe I could have a vision bigger than my limitations. Trying something new is telling my heart to open up to the unseen.
why we don’t try new things
But trying new things wasn’t always part of my life. I feel like I did it a lot in my youth, then sorta lost touch with it all. I have been spending the past 7ish years trying to reclaim this.
It is important to see where you are putting up hurdles in your life. From my own experience, I’ve held myself back from growth and learning in many ways.
Here are some of the many (many) ways……
I’m a creature of habit (like a sloth with an iPhone) I need a routine to get anything done in my life. But sometimes I cling too tightly to it and can become unadaptable (maybe even a martyr about it). There were seasons where I wouldn’t allow a change in routine. I was deep in the ruts of routine because I thought they were the only things that made me capable of handling the day instead of a support structure for my day.
I didn’t want to look foolish. The first time I put on running shoes to train for a 5km (spoiler: we all got the stomach flu and never did it) I felt like a fraud and hated running around town where my peers could see me.
So many times I’ve been uncomfortable with putting myself out there. I used to even avoid wearing nail polish so not to draw attention to myself. When Raj first approached me about doing the moms30for30 I dreaded the month of awkward selfies and my clothing choices shared with the web. As I rolled with the process of being uncomfortable, I allowed myself the opportunity to learn so much about myself and my relationship to clothes.
Sometimes it was a matter of how I identified with things. I’m not athletic, I’m not really into laser tag, I hate tomatoes, I’m not crafty. These identities can be an instant reaction – when an invite is extended we might not even entertain it because we let these phrases of manufactured identity dictate our decisions.
Sometimes we just have no room to bring in something new. This can usually be because we won’t let go of the things we have filled our life with. I had to really examine where I was spending my time/energy/money and ask what is serving me? or what is just a distraction? I needed to make space by clearing out the activities that are just clutter.
In some cases, it just felt overwhelming to add in something new to my life. Life with babies and toddlers was daunting and restless for me. It is messy and hard to add in new things and set routines at the same time. I don’t know what the right balance is, but I do think it is worth the effort to try new things in little ways. (Like wearing lipstick with your maternity sweats)
Over on my other instagram @shawnascafe I shared with you WHY I am sharing my lettering online and why creating things is important in our lives. ⠀ ⠀ Here, I am sharing a then and now of the same quote. The pink is my lettering in January (framed by my daughter’s artistic additions) and the black is from this past week. ⠀ ⠀ I want this account to be about sharing the process. To help me see what I have learned. To help keep me accountable to practicing (self discipline is my blind spot). And really, I believe we need to share our imperfect, our process, our learning, a lot more than the refined and perfected end result. ⠀ #doitfortheprocess #creatingstuff
Here is a biggie for me, and maybe for you too – I’ve told myself ‘SOMEONE ELSE IS DOING THAT, BETTER’. If I heard my kids say this I would launch such a mom-ologue they would eventually cave to get me to stop. The notion that our efforts won’t be the most instaworthy or pinnable can tell you that your heart needs to remember who it belongs to. Our heart does not belong to social media and its approval. We need to invest in things just for ourselves, things that will remain unseen by others.
I’ve often hesitated because I didn’t feel ‘ready’ or ‘good enough’. Instead, I thought I should learn more, read more, talk about it more. I’ve learned that I will never feel ready, I will never feel confident. Confidence comes after the work.
I’ve chatted with girlfriends about this and sometimes hear that they aren’t sure what to even do, ‘I have the pen and the paper – now what?’ They have been so out of touch with their own brainstorms and ideas that they don’t even know where to start.
how to start
Trying new things is uncomfortable and weird because growing and learning and exploring are uncomfortable and weird. So I say, rock it like a 35-year-old with a fanny pack, sweats and lipstick at the spray park (yes, the 30s are where it is at. Also yes, I’m in the market for a good fanny pack).
A good start is to sit with yourself and write some stuff down. Make a couple lists: what did you love to do as a child? what do you think would be cool to try? what do I have supplies/ingredients/equipment for in my house right now? What do you keep pining/reading/talking about but never DO?
You know how much I love lists because they make us draw out more from ourselves. We can list a couple things, but try to list 10 things to really find out what is buried under the dust in your heart. I’m betting you already have some answers inside the backs of your brain (and your Pinterest collection).
Then write it on your calendar to give yourself and deadline avoid taking the time to entertain hesitations.
When you get over yourself and do stuff for the simple act of doing and growing and learning then you will see that it is allllll about the process and the end result is not some Pinnable image, but confidence, understanding, passion and fun.
to give yourself a lot of grace (especially if you have small kids)
to make space for it (don’t try new things for the sake of being busy, make space in your life for it so you don’t get burnt out)
and to do it just for you (be present for the process and worry less about the results)
some new things to try this week
I’ll say it again, just rock it. It will be uncomfortable and weird, but the only way through is through it!
So embrace weird and uncomfortable and TRY SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY THIS WEEK! They can be tiny little things, or big bold things, anything is something.
Here are some ideas:
- Take a different route to work
- Wear something you hide in the back of your closet
- Wear something fancy around the house
- Do something sweet and unpredictable for someone you love (make your spouse lunch, take your friend flowers)
- Eat something different for breakfast
- Draw a doodle
- Brush your teeth with your opposite hand
- Build something out of lego with your kids
- Go on a walk and take photographs
- Try going to bed without your phone
- Make a picnic
- Ask someone new over for coffee
- Dig into your craft stash and make something for your kids
- Make everyone eat dinner with a random item from the cutlery drawer
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