Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Try Something New. Then Try It Again

We went to an art show in a hair salon, because,
well, why not. And discovered this little guy.
Photo by Steven Gullett, art by Kelsey Dyer.
My friend Kylee's Facebook bio reads, in part: "I try everything twice, just to make sure I really hated it the first time."

Smart lady.

Life holds a whole lot of options. Thousands, millions. It makes your head hurt if you think about it too long. We burn a ton of energy trying to parse them out, separate the signal from the noise. We try something once, declare it "not for us" and go on about our day.

But as we get older,we become set in what we know we do and don't like. Or rather, what we think we know. We let our capacity for novelty slip away, we take fewer and fewer risks, and our sense of wonder and joy begins to atrophy.

Some things in life, you know right away that once was more than enough - like getting cancer, or taking a group vacation, or watching an internet video featuring twice as many girls as cups.

Novelty is good for us. Trying new things causes our brain to build new neural connections. Couples who try new experiences together report greater long-term satisfaction with their relationships.

But too often, we  carry around ideas about who we are and what makes us happy based on a single experience that happened decades ago. When, if you're like most people, you were a completely different person. One who didn't like broccoli, but also one who thought acid washed jeans were awesome. You were wrong about the latter; maybe it's time to revisit the former.

Today, try one new thing. Or, try one old thing you thought you didn't like. Could be black and white movies. Could be cranberry juice. Could be performing stand-up comedy or doing yoga.

Maybe you still don't like it. Once a year, the Songwriter confirms all over again that mushrooms are an invention of Satan himself. But maybe you'll discover something new about yourself or your friends or the the world, and either way, that's good enough for today.


  1. "I try everything twice, just to make sure I really hated it the first time."
    This is pretty much verbatim( take out the I's) my one and only sex talk my mother forced on me lol

  2. It's been pretty well established, as a matter of course, that I will always make the same mistake twice. I used to think it was a bad thing, now I'm seeing it as my way of making sure that the mistake was worth making in the first place!