It’s all too easy to fall into a routine. Routines can be good. They give us cadence and predictability. And in a world where unpredictability swirls around us like a hurricane, routines comfort us.
But there’s a problem with staying in them. Life is meant to be experienced. And that experience is meant to mold us, shape our world view and help us grow. If we stay still for too long, we stunt our growth and limit what life can bring to us. The routine itself becomes a rut that zaps the very life out of us.
For better or worse, I fell into a rut so deep that every day felt like a battle. But with retrospect being the great teacher that it is, I discovered that the challenges I thought I was facing weren’t real challenges. They were frustrations. They were inconveniences. They weren’t the kind of experiences that could help me grow.
So when I got a second chance at doing life, I promised myself that I wouldn’t waste it. I took it upon myself to do the things that I always wanted to try, but perhaps was too afraid to do.
I ventured deeper into the water (literally and figuratively).
I took stand-up paddle boarding classes and pushed myself to advance.
I traveled out of the country alone. Twice (so far).
I swam with creatures more adept in the ocean.
I took a jet ski out into the deep blue sea.
I surfed far from the shore.
There was an unparalleled joy that nearly overwhelmed me (and sometimes did) after each of these experiences. The exhilaration was real, and the effects, long lasting. I discovered that I could push myself beyond what I thought possible and emerge better for it. With each experience, I could feel myself growing more confident, more wise and more capable of designing a life that I will love.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. And I, for one, don’t want to be the same person a year from now that I am today.
That’s a promise that I made to myself, and I can’t wait to see what challenges I take on in the year ahead.