A few months ago, I spent a beautiful fall afternoon playing outside with my two-year-old niece, Caroline. After numerous rounds of “Ring Around the Rosie” left me dizzy and breathless on the ground, I decided to teach her a new game. I held out both arms and bolted across the yard in a zig-zag pattern – shouting “Look! I’m flying! I’m flying!” With the throaty laugh of a toddler, Caroline quickly followed suit. Her face lit up as we ran with our arms outstretched, relishing the crunch of the leaves under our feet. She was flying!
The best way to remember the joy of new experiences is through someone to whom almost everything is new. With the new year fast approaching, my resolution is to recapture the enthusiasm of a two-year-old. In 2013, I will try something new each week, for a total of (at least) fifty-two new experiences in one year.
This is not a novel idea. Type “52 new things” into Google and you will see that the internet is replete with similar blogs dedicated to documenting the first taste of an exotic dish, a dip in the Pacific Ocean, or amateur artwork painted with a wine glass in hand. Perhaps it is self-congratulatory to write about each new experience in a public forum; however, for the sake of accountability, I plan to do so. This blog has the added benefit of providing me with a creative outlet after a workweek spent reviewing documents and drafting legal memoranda!
Below is a list of 52 “new” things that will serve as my inspiration. I may add or remove items in order to adapt to the natural ebb and flow of the new year. I have tried to keep it simple; I may not climb a mountain or see the Eiffel Tower, but I hope to discover small joys and achieve some personal growth.To quote a beloved fictional character, Anne Shirley:
After all, I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.
– Anne of Avonlea (1909) by L.M. Montgomery
Now that the long-winded introduction is out of the way, the full list (in no particular order):
1. Ring in the New Year in New York City.
2. Complete a Tough Mudder in Vibram Fivefingers.
3. Attend a Hot Yoga Class.
4. Throw a Dinner Party.
5. Hike the Shenandoah Trail and/or Old Rag.
6. Go to the National Zoo.
7. Take a Cooking Class.
8. Volunteer at a Local Food Pantry or Soup Kitchen.
9. Go to an NFL Game.
10. Sleep Under the Stars.
11. Write a Short Story or Poem and Read it in Public.
12. Go to One of the Most Unusual Restaurants in the World (http://restoran.us/trivia/unusual.htm).
13. Ask an Octogenarian What it Was Like When They Were Growing Up.
14. Take an Art Class.
15. Go Horseback Riding.
16. Attend a Cultural Event on Embassy Row.
17. Learn How to Make Spaghetti Squash.
18. See a Play.
19. Participate in a Native Round Dance.
20. Tour Colonial Williamsburg.
21. Help Build a Habitat for Humanity House.
22. Make Something Useful Out of Wood.
23. Watch a Live SCOTUS Oral Argument.
24. Attend an Open Mike Night (Comedy or Music).
25. Fly a Kite.
26. Spend a Weekend With No Phone, Internet, or TV.
27. Take a Solo Day Trip to a New Place (and Have a Nice Meal).
28. Go to a New Outdoor Music Festival (e.g. Bonaroo, Coachella, etc.).
29. Learn to Salsa Dance.
30. Learn to Line Dance.
31. Go Kayaking on the Potomac.
32. Buy and Prepare Seafood Purchased at the Wharf (the Maine Avenue Fish Market in SW).
33. Take a DC Monument Walk at Dawn.
34. Attend a Non-Christian Religious Service.
35. Make My Own Jewelry.
36. Take a “Daddy-Daughter” Trip.
37. See an Indie, Foreign, or Black & White Film in a Theater.
38. Spend an Afternoon “Playing Photographer” Around DC.
39. Enter a Bake-Off.
40. Write a Letter to a Senator/Congressman.
41. Watch a Show at the Ryman Auditorium.
42. Go to the Circus.
43. Take Caroline Fishing.
44. Go on a Sister trip.
45. Eat a Raw Foods Diet for 7 Days.
46. Attend a Feastly Meal (http://www.eatfeastly.com).
47. Tour a Local Brewery.
48. Take a Self-Defense Class.
49. Watch a Live Lecture on History, Science/Nature, Literature, Music or Culture.
50. Finish (or Attempt to) a Sunday New York Times Crossword Puzzle.
51. Give Callie the Best Doggone Day Ever (Hike, Dog Park, Fetch, Treats, etc).
52. Join a Group for La Boum Brunch at L’Efant Cafe (http://laboumbrunch.com).
… That’s it! Feel free to suggest additional “new things” in the comments section. I may write about more than one new experience in any given week. Wish me luck!
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