When we decided to move into a vacation rental for FIVE whole months, I went into a mode of complete excitement to know I would be able to bring multiple high heels into the house, stock up on groceries, and fully unpack. At the same time, I went into complete panic mode: was our LifeVenture over? Am I going to get comfortable again and not want to move? Not want to try new things? Not want to pack up every month or so?
I hope not.
To keep that fear at bay, I’ve set out to challenge myself to do one thing a day that I’ve never done before for an entire month. It could be super small or super big, but it has to be something I’ve never ever done.
This challenge is way harder than I expected!
In the past 2 years I’ve noticed that I border between being extremely adventurous and being an extreme homebody who gets stuck in my patterns VERY easily. I’m a workaholic and I tend to default to just working more and more, instead of stopping, doing an activity outside of the ordinary, and being present.
And so, I signed myself up for this challenge to keep from falling back into my patterns, and to feel present and alive.
Day 1: Planning a date at a special spot
I’m not good at planning for dinner outings, dates, and adventures. If I’m by myself, I just do whatever I feel like at the moment, but when someone else is involved, I get paralyzed by making the very best choice. I mean, I wouldn’t want to miss out on something awesome because I planned the wrong thing. Geez, I hope this isn’t just me. I wish I would just make the damn plans sometimes.
So I did this time.
I planned a surprise date – something I’ve been talking about doing for a while. I carved out time in my day to pick up tons of delicious cheeses, meats and olives, and grabbed my trusty side kick who is ever so patient with my “planning” problems. We hiked up to the 360 bridge and had a snack feast. I love snacks!
Day 2: Exploring new towns and more
It was a Saturday, so it was much easier to find something exciting that I’ve never done. We venture all over Central Texas, but somehow managed to find a pocket on the map we hadn’t been to. It was a section of the Colorado River and offered kayaking. We paddled down some good sized rapids for Texas and enjoyed the complete quietness of nature.
We finished an hour earlier than expected – because we were super fast paddlers obviously – and decided to visit some towns in the area. To my excitement, we actually stumbled upon 3 little towns we’d NEVER been to plus a biker bar in the middle of nowhere.
We discovered a vineyard in Sisterdale and the adorable town of Comfort, which I had heard of but never visited. It reminded us of Fredericksburg, but much much smaller and less crowded. I will be back!
Day 3: Stopping and smelling the roses
It’s really important that I practice enjoying each moment because it’s something that doesn’t come easily for me. I want to move on to the next thing or plan for something tomorrow. I have been on a quest to really stop, smell the roses, and smile in the moment. I enjoyed some tea on my new mini patio and wrote. It seems small, but that was huge for me.
Day 4: Online yoga
I tried free yoga online. People have been telling me about free online yoga for years, but I never seem to make myself press ‘watch’. I don’t know why. I enjoy most of my yoga experiences and totally believe in it, so I honestly don’t understand why I never did this.
I visited Yoga with Adriene and began her free 30 day trial. I’m a HUGE fan of hers. She’s hilarious, uses words that aren’t real – but that I use myself all the time, makes you feel good about yourself, and her yoga is only :15-:30: totally doable.
Day 5: Rain bonanza
It was about 9pm and I hadn’t found a single new activity to experience. I had walked to Whole Foods for breakfast and sat alone, but I’m not 100% sure I’ve never done that. That felt like a fakester.
I was starting to stress myself out. I can’t find a single freakin’ thing today that I’ve never done?! I’m only 5 days in! What the hell!? My Man started throwing out ideas – and if you know him, you know when he throws out brainstorming ideas they are frequently things like, fly to the moon or take a trip to Egypt. Come on buddy. Hone it in.
Eventually, he actually nailed one.
I’ve ran in the rain, but I don’t believe I’ve ever ran in the rain and done a cartwheel down the street with people walking by … while it was dumping cats and dogs.
I did it and it was awesome. I mean like, awesome awesome. Wake-you-up-make-you-feel-alive-awesome. I just so happened to do a cartwheel under a canopy of my favorite flowers and my feet hit the top of the canopy and a bucket of water came pouring down on me. It felt good. I couldn’t stop smiling while I was running like a fool.
Day 6: New Eats
By noon I was having the same problem as day 5. Crap, I have nothing to do! So I drove until I found a restaurant I’d never been to for lunch. I’ve driven by it probably a thousand times, but for whatever reason, I never stopped in.
I went in, had a solo lunch and found a new Greek lunch place. It wasn’t amazing or groundbreaking, but it definitely wasn’t bad either! I had been looking for a Mediterranean place right around the office, and I’d literally been driving by it for about 2 years.
I double upped this day.
I have always heard about/seen the super dilapidated Dry Creek Cafe on Mt. Bonnell Rd. Every time I drive by remember I want to visit. I finally planned it and had some friends come. The place is in one of the ritziest neighborhoods of Austin, but truly is a hole in the wall. Literally, there are holes in the walls and floors.
Day 7: The Little Details
Have you ever noticed the school on the top of West Lynn in Clarksville? Mathews Elementary? I’ve walked and drove by it for years. Never paid any attention because I was more focused on making sure kids weren’t crossing the street. A total valid reason to not notice it.
I took the extra few minutes on my neighborhood walk to visit the school up close. It’s a historical school and is really quite beautiful.
This prompted me to notice a street that borders the school, which I had never been on. It wasn’t life-changing, but I believe that sometimes it’s lots of little awareness experiences that are life-changing.
Day 8: Winflow for Happy Hour
I love Winflo and it’s right by my house now. My mom had never been and I’d never been for Happy Hour – before it’s filled with people. This is kind of a “cheat first-time”, but it’s all I got.
Day 9: New Drink
I’ll be honest. I was running out of things to try this day. So at dinner I ordered a drink I would never order. Who knows, maybe I’ll find a new favorite drink. Not so much, but it was worth a try.
It was Mother’s Day and my mom loves to golf. I am a mini golf pro, but I’ve never been on a golf course – other than when I was a cart girl working. But I never went to play golf with someone.
So that was a first. I didn’t play except on the green, but I had a lot of fun!
I also have never rolled down the hill on a golf course or done cartwheels and handstands while no one was looking.
Day 11: Feeling Alive
I went to a bar on 2nd street that I’d never gone to before. It was great company and good drinks. I could have “check, checked” that off my list for the day.
But the part I want to write about was not that.
I was tired and ready to be home. As I drove from 2nd street to my neighborhood, I noticed the light in the sky was nothing short of unbelievable. I knew it would fade fast. The best place in town to see the sunset is Mt. Bonnell, but the sunset would surely be gone by then. I should just skip it and go home. Eh, the couch sounds comfortable.
Then the reminder kicked in. No, this month is about getting out of patterns and saying no to thoughts like, “the couch sounds good.” Even if I miss the sunset, at least I tried.
Day 12: Bad Attitude Turned Good … From Running?
I had planned to go to a new yoga class with the “online super star” Adrienne from the online videos. Thanks to my bad planning (and horrendous Austin road closures and traffic), I missed the class. I was already having a bad day, and this spun me into being angry and frustrated. Dammit Austin traffic, I want to go back to Telluride where 4 cars is a rush hour! Why do we have to be here this summer!? Instead of holding onto the bad mood, I ran around Town Lake in a place I haven’t been in forever and have never run before. It should be noted: I didn’t run until recently when I was “trying something new.” Honestly, I’ve never even understood why people like running. Now I kind of even like it. What is happening to me!?
Day 13: Trader Joe’s
The new Trader Joe’s opened recently at the Seaholm development. Not only was this a “first” experience, it may be a “never again” experience. Not the part about going to Trader Joe’s (I’m actually addicted already when I found dark chocolate peanut butter cups), but having every front parking spot open. I parked 10 feet from the door. Take that Whole Foods.
Day 14: It’s a Fiesta! Not really
I tried a new Mexican restaurant with some friends. The only thing good was the company, but I’d driven by the restaurant for a while wondering if it was tasty. Now I know.
Day 15: Bestie Dinner
After watching Pitch Perfect 2 with my bestie – greatest movie series ever – we went and caught up at The Goodnight bowling alley and restaurant. Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of the place and most likely won’t go back, but I’d never been. Check, check.
I heart beef jerky in a serious way. A friend told me about homemade jerky at Easy Tiger. Tested and approved: 100%. It’s seriously the best beef jerky I’ve ever had.
Day 17: MegaBus
The MegaBus is a low cost, double decker bus that travels to and from major cities. Austin has one. I needed to travel to Houston for a Reset Retreat partner meeting for 24 hours. I had so much to do and riding in a car for 2 + hours each way was going to cut into productivity.
So I booked a seat for under 20 bucks, sat way up high with a good view, and got SO much work done. They have internet! On the way home, it was only 9 bucks.
Day 18: Brainstorm Goodness
This was a day of travel (again on the MegaBus back to Austin) and work (a huge all-day brainstorm session), so I didn’t have a chance to focus on something new. However, I spent hours with my partners in the same room – who normally are displaced all over the country or world – and white boarded our strategy. Not that I had a question before, but boy was I excited to have these gals in my corner by the time we finished.
It wasn’t something I sought out to experience for the first time, but that’s all she wrote this day.
Day 19: Oops
I honestly have no memory of what I did this day. (Sigh)
Day 20: Skipping the Line
Global Entry: I’m a fan. I signed up for Global Entry a few months ago, which is a prescreening approval process allowing travelers to go through the speedy security line. This is great because having to take off my shoes and put them where thousands of people stand each day is something that really grosses me out. I used global entry for the 1st time and got to keep on my shoes. Yes, please. May I have another.
Day 21: Coloring!
I colored in an adult coloring book. I used to love coloring as a kid. I don’t ever do it anymore. Now that adult coloring books are becoming a thing, I think I might claim this hobby again.
Day 22: Cancer Free News
While we were in Telluride earlier this year, we received the terrible news that my Man’s dad had leukemia. On this day, we got the amazing news that he was cancer free.
No, it wasn’t something I set out to do differently, but whatever I did differently that day didn’t matter at all.
Day 23: Doggone Lovin’
I let a dog sleep on my bed. I have never, ever done this. I do not like dogs in general. Or I should say, I do not like dogs close to me in general. I think they are wonderful creatures .. but mostly from afar. Maverick is another story.
He’s basically a cat who loves to snuggle, so naturally I love him.
Day 24: Shetland pony?
I pet a shetland pony. Oh, who am I kidding, I’ve done that before. Pass? Ok, wait! I have one: danced on a “bridge to nowhere” at the lake house. You’d have to be there.
Day 25: Car Saved by Flood Water
Does witnessing my car being saved from a brick wall breaking and creating a surge of water count as something I’ve never done? Or how about running through flood water to attempt at saving flooding cars. Or seeing your high school football stadium under 6 feet of raging water? Or watching Lamar become a river?
These aren’t things I set out to do, but it will be something I will forever remember.
Day 26: No Idea
I got nothing. After a day of floods and traveling, I think I was most likely so focused on playing catch up, I didn’t venture off into something new.
Day 27: Live Music + Yoga
2 blocks from my home is Blue Honey Yoga. I figured, what the heck, I’m on a yoga kick this month. Let’s try a new one! This was a much harder yoga class than most I’ve taken, but I was unexpectedly able to a do a crows pose. If only I had a picture of that to show.
Something more amazing happened. During the cool down, we were laying on our mats with our eyes closed. Like most yoga instructors do, light music was turned on during this part. It was magnificent classical guitar music. I kept thinking, this place has the best sound system! It’s like the music is live.
It turns out it was live! Our yogi was playing classical guitar for our yoga class. How cool is that?
Day 28: Free Vodka? Yes, Please
We toured the Deep Eddy Distillery. I was hoping to get some top secret information, but it was still very cool. Plus, it was a special event. Free Deep Eddy? Um. Yes.
Day 29: Homeless Man Taught Me Biggest Lesson
I do not like giving money to people begging. It goes against so much that I believe in about working hard, owning up to your path and making a change, etc.. That all being said, I am completely aware that a very high percentage of people who are homeless are also mentally ill. And some people literally got dealt a hand they can’t win at. I almost tear up every damn time I hit a traffic light and someone is asking for money. Every damn time. I always wish I had snacks in my car, yet I never make it a priority to do so.
Today I found a man sitting outside Starbucks who was clearly homeless. He wasn’t begging. Just smiled at me. I asked if he was hungry. I went and bought him lunch.
Inside Starbucks, an employee awkwardly said, “I’m so sorry to have to ask you this…” Immediately I thought I did something wrong. I wasn’t supposed to give food to the person. Then he finished with, “that man isn’t asking you for money is? He’s not bothering you, right?”
It hit me like a brick wall: I had previously not done this because I was afraid of being judged, of saying something wrong, of having an unpleasant engagement. Mind blown.
Day 30: Singing on Twitter – Sh** Got Real
When I say I’m a singer, I feel like a fraud. I frequently change it to, “I used to be a singer.” I have written songs, gone to a professional studio to create with my producer, had a CD release party, I’m on iTunes, and I was the lead singer in a MoTown band, but I haven’t done anything in nearly 2 years. 2 years ago I realized that my lifelong goal of becoming a professional singer was actually not quite what I wanted. I’ve been on a quest to find what I do love about singing, because it’s still my religion. The pulse that keeps me ticking. The thing I was supposed to do…in some way. I’d still like to put music out there in the world.
I’m a recovering perfectionist. I was driving and thought, you know what I’ve never done that’s pretty darn scary? Post a raw video of me singing to social media. Eek. I turned a couple channels on the radio to find a song I knew and pressed record. Go bold or go home, right?
Whadda ya know? The song was “First time.” Here it is.
Day 31: For Someone Else Instead of Me
A friend was in town, so instead finding something I had never done before, I took her to do something she had never done before. Turns out, that’s pretty fun too.
I have been reflecting why I did this in the 1st place. It was to get a little outside my comfort zone, actually DO things I frequently think about but don’t do, and ultimately feel more alive in the process. So I began making a more thought-out list of these things, so there wasn’t a scramble, “I need to do something new today. The day is almost over!” It became exhausting at times and it wasn’t doing it’s job.
All in all, this month has really made me take notice that there are so many things – big and small – that I don’t do because I’m afraid if people will judge me. What a waste of mind share.
Want to join me in doing some out-of-the-box things this summer? Let me know! I’m going to need a buddy to do some of the things on my new list!
I think I’ll step it up a notch. I guess that means I’m finally going to get my ears pierced. Anyone want to be my date?