The author shares her views and advice on a wide variety of family, social and cultural topics.
It May Not Be Easy, But Change Never Is
So, You've Got Some Time Off - Why Not Try Something New?
I have often been told that I do not do a good job sitting still, and every time someone says that about me, I can't disagree. I grind hard; I teach full time, I train and work at a karate school where I recently earned my third-degree black belt, and I coach high school sports in the fall and spring/summer. I also just recently became certified as a personal trainer.
That said, I am not great at trying new things. However, I feel that as I've approached 50 years of age, my desire to try new things has really become almost a FOMO mindset. I don't want to look back and say I missed out because I was afraid, especially not when I don't exactly try high-risk activities. Some could argue that doing martial arts is risky in and of itself, and that's quite true, I suppose, given you could be sustaining blows to the face and head area while sparring, and you could inadvertently hit someone harder than intended.
But, there comes a time when you question how much your own desire to play it safe actually holds you back from living.
I've recently become a Canfitpro certified trainer. I've started skating again - not like a professional or anything, but I did it last winter and while I felt a little like a colt learning to walk, I really enjoyed myself and had fun. This summer, I'd been debating about trying paddle boarding. It was something that looked like a lot of fun, but I was always very wary about trying it because I am not someone exactly known to have great balance, and paddle boarding struck me as something where balance would be really important, surprisingly. Yes, I'm being sarcastic, but I digress.
That first time trying to push my way to a standing position was nerve-wracking, to put it plainly. In retrospect, I have no good reason why I was so nervous; I swim fairly well, and I was wearing a life jacket while using a floating piece of sporting equipment. Plus, if I was going to fall, it would be into water. Why be nervous?
Ego is a dangerous thing, folks. Much as we might all say as we get older, we care less about what people might think, there's still that worry about looking ridiculous. I'm also not talking about looking ridiculous in front of your children. Let's be honest with that, right now: you exist, so your kids will regularly convey how horrified by you they are on a regular basis, even if you're just sitting there breathing.
There's just the simple matter of you taking a wild tumble, or just plain old looking awkward and more uncomfortable than you might be usually, and it being caught on video or your awkwardness being captured by countless pairs of eyes. It's a pride thing. Ego is a double-edged sword; it's good to feel good about things that you've done, but sometimes that can actually prevent you from moving ahead and growing as an individual.
So why not try new things?
It's called "breaking out of your comfort zone" for a reason. Your comfort zone is your safe space. It's the place where you are surrounded by the familiar, where you're not going to be faced with anything that really challenges or surprises you. It takes strength and conviction to push and break out of your comfort zone, and breaking through obstacles is supposed to be uncomfortable. Why do you think they're called "growing pains?"
Even though as an adult, I struggle with trying new things. I'm by no means a natural talent at most things involving any sort of movement, but I've recently made further efforts towards moving on past the fear and just doing it.
Remember what it's like being a kid? I knew a young boy once upon a time that was SO convinced that he was Spider-Man he actually took a glue stick and rubbed it all over his hands just so he could stick to the wall just like Spider-Man himself. Approach change with that level of confidence. The worst that can happen, beyond the occasional injury, is that you realize that maybe certain people would be better off doing the new activity than you.
And me with the paddle boarding? Sure enough, I've fallen in, but guess what?
I'm going again a few times before the summer's over.