What did you do growing up? Words that describe my family include movies, travel, good food, reading, nature, and new experiences. I grew up in a rural town in the Midwest, but we were never there. Were were always off on an adventure. We were foodies before the word existed and before we could post our food porn on Instagram.
My father poured into my life. He strategically pointed me to movies and books that he wanted me to experience to open my mind to new ideas. He quizzed me from a young age. He tested my observation skills constantly trying to help me “see” more. Marcy, do you see? He was trying to give me a vision of the entire world and encouraged me to find my place in it. In his honor I have tried to continue dad’s teaching. I have taken my children to museum’s, on trips, flown them across the country, and encourage them to read books that will widen their view of the world.
Though my father established some helpful activities there are so many more that I can experience. A few years ago I decided it was way past time to broaden my horizon. I started attending lifelong learning classes at a local university. They have everything from writing to book reviews. The classes exposed me to a diverse group of people that taught me as much as the class did. My oldest daughter and I have gone to movies that are completely new to us at the local university cinema. We have attended plays, shows, events, and concerts. We have gone to more book stores and chosen books that were the opposite of what we normally read.
How can we know what is possible in our lives if we never experience more than what is right in front of us? What if I have hidden welding skills, have a proclivity to dance, have a yearning for foreign film, the ability to learn a new language, the hidden desire to write poetry, or the yearning to learn how to paint a car? How would I know if any of that was possible if I didn’t try something new?
What my dad was trying to teach me and what I think is beneficial for all of us is that there is more out there. There are experiences that we can have that are beyond our borders, there are people to meet, and there is so much more to learn. It’s not about doing what we were raised to do, what others do, or what we think others want us to do. It’s about discovering what makes us uniquely who we are and living that life.
There is an invisible boundary in our lives. It keeps us from seeing what is possible. We can break that boundary through the experiences we have and when we do we will begin to get new ideas for our life. We will discover things that we never knew existed.
At a memoir writing class I took I was introduced to a woman who climbed down and back up the Grand Canyon. She explained the training that she went through, her reasons for doing this, and her experience successfully completing her goal. Up until that moment I had no idea that this type of experience was even possible. In that same room were more men and women with more stories and what I learned could fill a chapter in my own memoir.
Mom and dad gave us a start in life, but we need to expand that. When we do we can teach our children and people in our lives to try new things and have new experiences. The more we experience the more we will want to experience. Action breeds action.
A few years ago I attended a Saturday morning workshop at a local university and caught the bug for continuous learning. The experience stimulated my mind, increased my ability to process ideas, inspired creativity, and helped me to discover things that I didn’t know I could enjoy. New experiences are invaluable to our growth, to our creativity, and to our lives. We weren’t meant to live the same old same old. We were meant to grow and create a great life.
New years day event hike with some new people
Attend a concert of a group you have never heard of.
Wear a color you have never worn.
Buy the sweater you would never wear.
Color your hair.
Start talking to strangers at a coffee shop.
Drive a different way.
Call instead of texting.
Eat new food.
Invite acquaintances to your house and cook a meal you have never had.
Stop drinking or start.
Start a collection.
Go to a flea market.
Walk into an exclusive boutique.
Attend a tractor pull.
Go to a gallery opening.
Do something new. Experience life and keep on doing it. Before you know it you will grow, develop, increase your creativity, and live your own life.
Now get out there.