When was the last time you tried something new?
The last time you mixed things up and changed your routine?
The last time you did something new without any attachment to the outcome to just give it a go?
Isn’t having life experiences what life is all about?
As I’ve got older I’ve noticed that so many people tend to shy away from mixing things up.
Experimenting and taking risks.
Having life experiences just to see what it’s like, especially if it’s outside the status quo.
We get stuck in our routines and our patterns.
The same old, same old.
A lot of times it might come from fear of failure.
What if that new experience isn’t enjoyable?
What if moving house, city or country doesn’t work out?
What if that meal I choose tastes disgusting?
What if I look stupid?
It could be something as simple as trying something new at a restaurant you like, but instead you go for the same old dish because you know it will taste good.
And trying something new might end up with you having a shit meal.
But what if that meal ended up being the best meal you ever tasted?
Learn Something New
Sometimes we don’t try new things for fear of embarrassment or looking stupid.
But what if if that new hobby or activity you gave a go became your passion?
I can’t tell you how many people I know have wanted to try a yoga class but don’t because they didn’t want to look stupid or to be ‘bad’ at it.
To look like they don’t know what they’re doing because they’re putting their hands, feet and limbs in all the wrong places as they struggle to bend into a crazy yoga pose.
But who cares?
Only you most likely.
You’re always going to look clueless when you try something new for the first time, perhaps even feel a little uncomfortable, uncertain or unsure because you’ve never done it before.
And if you enjoy it enough you’ll learn how to do it so you become less clueless. So you know what you’re doing.
I feel like we used to do this all the time as kids, but it seems to me that we do it less and less as we get older, whether that’s because of some bad experience from our past or insecurity we’ve developed.
Maybe it’s the way we were brought up or the environment we grew up in which pushed us away from play, creativity and spontaneity.
I don’t know what it might be that’s holding you back from experimenting and having new life experiences, but for me it was certainly a mix of many things.
But as I’ve gotten more comfortable in my skin and tapped into my inner child over the last decade I’ve brought more play, more creativity and more spontaneity into my life.
Along with a fuck it attitude and most importantly curiosity.
New Experiences: The Small Things
I’ve found a café I love getting my morning coffee from and for weeks I’d order the same thing.
A long black (the Aussie version of an Americano), and after a while of going there my coffee would be in the process of being made before I’d even ordered.
But then I mixed things up.
And one day I went in and changed it up to a decaf coffee.
Then a few weeks later it switched to a flat white.
Now mixing up your morning coffee is not really that exciting or a big change.
But how many other aspects of your life are on auto-pilot where you’re going from one moment to the next without much thought because you’re just doing what you always do.
When we stay in the same lane all the time doing the same things, day after day we start to switch off.
We essentially end up going through our lives half asleep.
It’s like we’re on the factory line of life.
So new life experiences don’t have to big things.
They can be small things like changing up your coffee or your route to the gym.
And sometimes those small changes can have a massive impact on your life.
New Experiences Change Our Perception of Time
Having new life experiences can benefit you in so many different ways.
I remember reading an article years ago that talked about how we can make time seem longer or shorter depending on how we interact with it.
And the idea was that when we have new experiences, time feels like it stretches.
Have you ever noticed those days where you go off and do a variety of different things you’d never done before and it feels like the day went on forever?
I had a day like that recently where I got home and thought ‘Fuck me that was a long day.’
And it was only midday!
I felt like I got to experience two days in one.
Now compare that to a day where you stay at home all day not doing very much.
How do you feel on those days?
I’ve done this countless time and for me those days feel like they fly by because I haven’t done anything new. I’m just staring at the same four walls I see all the time.
It goes fast because I’ve switched off.
New Experiences Just for the Fun of It
A few years ago I went to Thailand and lived on a Kung Fu retreat for two weeks.
And my mate said to me, ‘Why would you want to do that?’.
My response was. ‘Why not’?
I’d never done anything like that before and it seemed liked it would be a cool experience to try.
Maybe I’d become a Kung Fu master?
But for two weeks.
6 days a week.
For up to 9 hours day I did Kung Fu.
Did I love it? Nope.
But it was an awesome experience to try for a few weeks.
Some of it I really enjoyed, but there were plenty of times when I didn’t.
And even though I wouldn’t do it again or carry on my kung-fu journey, I gave it a go and it’s now a memory I enjoy reminiscing about.
The Joy of Experiencing a New Home
For me and my wife our biggest joy is moving.
WE LOVE MOVING!
Well, maybe it’s not our biggest joy, but fuck do we like moving!
When we lived in Sydney we moved house 9 times in less than 10 years, living in six different suburbs in that time.
Now maybe that’s a little extreme and everyone we know seems to think we’re crazy moving so much, but moving house really isn’t that big of a deal.
It just requires a few weeks of house hunting and a few weeks of packing and unpacking.
And the effort and willingness to do it meant we got to experience life in the city we loved living in from a different perspective each time.
And in the last two years we upped our moving game, moving from Sydney back to London, then back to Sydney.
Then we sold our flat and moved thousands of kilometres away to start a new life.
We lived in 8 different homes and moved country twice in that time.
Now I wouldn’t advise doing that. That really is fucking extreme.
I’m fucking knackered just writing about it.
But we did what felt right for us and we kept moving forward to figure out the next stage of our life.
We moved back to London to be near family and friends but it didn’t work out due to employment issues, so we cut our losses and moved back to Sydney.
Then we decided that Sydney and our careers weren’t for us any more.
So we ripped up our old life and started again.
We made bold decisions and took some risks.
And not every step of that journey worked out the way we’d hoped it would, but in the end things worked out. It just took a few years of moving!
Making Big Changes in Your Life
Maybe you want to make some big changes in your life.
Maybe it’s changing your job or changing where you live.
The big decisions.
So I’ll ask you like I ask myself.
Do you really want to spend your life doing the same journey to work for 30 years?
Do you really want to go to the same places to eat and drink all the time?
Or do the same routine 5 days a week for years on end?
I’ve spent years going to pretty much the same cafés and restaurants.
Doing the same practices in my morning routine.
But every now and again I mix it up.
Because if there’s one thing I love most about a routine.
It’s ripping it up and starting a new one.
And I do this with pretty much everything in my life.
From the big to the small, because life is this wonderful experience we get to enjoy for a finite period of time.
And if we’re lucky we get to hang out here for 70, 80 or 90+ years.
But we can’t count on that.
So why would you want to play it safe living in your comfort zone?
Do the same routine all the time?
Do the same things?
Play, Experiment and Try Things Out
So whether it’s trying a different coffee or different meal.
Going to a yoga class for the first time or a Kung Fu retreat.
Or moving house so many times that you run out of fingers to keep count.
Try seeing your life as this incredible experience you get to enjoy.
And mix up your routines.
Try new hobbies.
New places to live.
Maybe even try a new job, a new career or a new life.
Because life experiences are what make life worth living.
And while I’m a little bit more conscious of my health (and sanity) than Hunter S. Thompson, I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment below:
‘Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”Hunter S. Thompson