As parents we are constantly changing. Our evolution usually depends on time and resources, and our time and resources usually depend on our children. Before having kids, many of us tried new things all of the time. My husband and I flew to Chicago and drove to the Rocky Mountains on a whim. I had friends who went to Costa Rica, joined the Peace Corps, and helped children in Honduras. Beyond travel, I have known Zipliners, mountain climbers, ½ marathon runners, etc. I’ve always been impressed with my friends who seem to throw caution to the wind and do things that feed their need for adrenaline.
There is a song by Darius Rucker called, “For the First Time.” I saw him in concert when my student, Jocelyn, was opening up for him. She’s amazing, by the way, and you should check out her page right here. Maybe it was the beautiful summer night, the magic of live music, or that particular moment in time, but that song was a refreshing reminder that although I’m a thirty something living in the Midwest, I absolutely need to shake things up and try something for the first time. Lots of somethings to be exact. Research proves this to be true. Trying new things can slow down time and enhance our lives.
‘When you go and experience something novel, it seems to have lasted longer,’ he says, ‘because you’re more focused on collecting the unfamiliar information into a memory. It’s why time seems to fly by so much faster as an adult… When you’re a kid, everything is novel and you’re laying down new memories about it… But when you’re older, you’ve sort of seen all the patterns before.'”
Adults are always looking for ways to slow time down. Trying something new is just the way to do that.
I’m a sucker for a daily routine, so when I was trying to take the Darius challenge, I needed to start small. Some new experiences were just for me and some were for us as a family. I think this epiphany came at the right moment because I don’t want my life to be a perpetual groundhog day. I want my kids to try new things as well, and therefore, I am charged to lead by example.
- I finally made the choice to join a local yoga studio. Experts recommend shaking up a workout routine, and this was just the change of pace I needed.
- I have been on the sports train with my boys and found myself in a comfort zone that went along with practices and games; however, my daughter rejected every sport we had her try, so signing up for ballet was definitely stepping outside of my personal bubble. She loved it, and I’m not sure what took me so long.
- My kids and I learned how to make slime and start a sewing book. I am not a crafty mama, so this was huge for us. We had a blast and realized we may have some skill in this area.
- I tried to go “all in” with my sugar free diet, and it turns out it actually works when you commit. I do not want to suffer from ailments my age can provide. Cutting the sugar out has been so beneficial.
- Teaching and writing stretches me a little thin on free time, but this year our family was rewarded by a first time ever airplane trip to Florida.
I know this list seems a little vanilla, but for a person who loves routine, these small changes and challenges have been a blast. I am the type of person who needs to start small, and these five new experiences have absolutely been so much fun.
Not only is it important for us emotionally to tackle new challenges, but it’s also good for our brains in terms of embracing each moment. So go on that trip you’ve been saving for, join a new workout experience, or take your kids to a brand new event. You’ll slow down time, wake up your brain, and thank yourself.