When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Gasp! I know!
A friend posted this inquiry to Facebook a couple of weeks ago and it has been making a pinball machine out of my brain ever since. It just bounces around at will, finding new areas to disrupt and invite fresh ponderings.
Learning, you see, requires novelty. We have difficulty maintaining interest in anything long-term without finding some new aspect to inspect, investigate, or otherwise.
This is why when I met with the question asking me when was the last time I did something for the first time, I was abruptly stumped. I couldn’t come up with anything. Already I was failing.
Then I remembered the week before I participated in a Q&A with an author. I had never done anything like that before. Phew! I started to breathe a little easier. I was at least getting a C+ in this pseudo-class that I was unexpectedly participating in.
Then I did something that in hindsight is ridiculous, I made a list. Yes, that’s right. This whole thing is about novelty, which to some degree involves spontaneity and I am busting out a word document to make a list. Please have a good chuckle at my expense. I did and, you know what, when was the last time you had a good belly laugh?
Anyway, as nerdy as it sounds I started to make a list of small and some bigger things I haven’t done. I started with listening to a new podcast that tells you a bedtime story. As an aside, it works! I have yet to make it to the end of the story still awake. I have no idea what happens in the stories about the musk deer nor the ice skating adventure but I did sleep well those nights. It was a simple thing but it was fun and I realized I really like having someone read to me even if I fall asleep.
The other new thing I did was start listening to a different guided meditation. I tend to listen to the same one for an extended period because oddly each day I hear an element in an unfamiliar way, or find a whole unique perspective. I do think there is value in that repetition but mixing it up, as we have established, has its value.
I haven’t done something new every day since then but I do make special effort to do so a few days a week, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. What I have discovered is I look forward to it. What is also ironic is that doing something new consistently is oddly a habit you can establish. Basically, what I am saying is I am making a habit of NOT doing the same things over and over. It’s a brain twister to think about it like that but it’s also part of what helps us to thrive. As we embark on what looks to be a beautiful, almost Fall, weekend what can you add in or try that’s new, that offers you that first-time thrill?