52 New Things – Been There. Done That.

I’m proudly reporting that I’ve reached my 2015 goal of adding 52 new experiences to my life … and in fact, have gone well beyond this target.

When I last wrote an update of my progress in May, I was tantalizingly close to my goal, but now I’m sitting at 65 completed new experiences and I’m declaring this project successful.

My 52 New Things project was not intended to be a high octane list of death-defying activities.  I was simply trying to shake up my life which I felt had become a bit too complacent.  I wanted to see how difficult it could be to add variety and new experiences into my life.  It turned out not to be difficult at all.

Without question, there have been highlights.

  1. I’ve met 3 wonderful blogging friends this year.

In February, I met Torrie from APromptReply in Niagara Falls, New York where we spent the afternoon exploring the winter wonderland around the Falls.

In July, I went bicycle riding with Lynn from Life After 50 after which she hosted me for lunch at her lovely home.

In August, I got a private tour of Oslo, Norway by Max from Cardinal Guzman.

In each of these cases, I stepped outside of my normally introverted bubble to initiate these meetings … to delightful results.  Introverted people of the world, take note.  It was a reminder that sometimes the easiest way to meet a new friend is simply to ask.

2. This summer’s travels have taken me to 4 new countries – Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland – each have been on my wish list for a long time.

The aggressiveness of this year’s vacation was certainly influenced by my 52 New Things project.  How much could we cram into a 2 week period?  Apparently, a lot.

I collect label pins – usually flags – from our travels over the past 17 years and they are kept on a large world map mounted on the wall in Gilles’ home office.

Adding 4 more pins to this map was a thrill.

map2

Added to the agenda of this trip was taking a cruise ship from Copenhagen to Oslo.  I didn’t think I would ever talk Gilles into taking a cruise, so this overnight trip was the closest I will ever come … another notch on my list of 52 New Things.

Oslo boat

Approaching Oslo by boat.

3. Being a volunteer driver with the medical team during the 600 km Friends For Life Bike Rally from Toronto to Montreal in support of the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation.

This was the type of activity I would normally avoid at all costs … a week-long commitment, away from home, dealing with strangers, camping in tents, in the heat of summer.

In my eyes, nothing about this experience sounded attractive … except it was a worthy cause that was important to my son and “adopted” sons.

As it turns out, this experience touched me deeply.  My respect for the organizers, volunteers, and riders in this event overflowed … nor can I forget the moving stories and challenges of all the individuals participating in various roles who were HIV Positive.

The moral of this story is that if the challenge is scary and audacious, take the leap anyway … it is likely going to affect you in ways you couldn’t imagine beforehand.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My son, Jordan (right) and his partner, Dempsey – Red Dress Day for HIV/AIDS Awareness

Over the past 8 months, I’ve tried 18 new foods and unusual (for me) recipes, explored 18 new parts of my city and surrounding area that I’ve never visited before, and completed numerous other experiences.

Mudslides

Mudslide Ice Pops …. popsicles for adults only!!

Trying new things has become a habit – and happily, a good one – like the weekly yoga class I’ve been attending since the beginning of the year, and the strength training I’ve managed to stick with in spite of my ambivalent feelings towards gyms.

I will certainly be continuing this project to see where it takes me during the last 4 months of the year.  There are still outstanding things on my list that I don’t want to miss!

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in 52 New Things, Adventure, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

87 Responses to 52 New Things – Been There. Done That.

  1. Pingback: 2015 – 52 New Things Come To An End | My Life Lived Full

  2. nimi naren says:

    Amazing. I am inspired to make my own list now

    Like

  3. badfish says:

    Yeah, I was always amazed at the things you’ve tried. 52!!! That is the new answer to the universal question. It used to be 42. YOU GO GIRL!!! Life is full of good stuff, and you’re not halfway through the good stuff is what I’m thinking…

    Like

  4. Phil Taylor says:

    Well thank you for your adventurous side because it makes for good blog reading!

    Like

  5. WOOT!! You. Are. Amazing! Sensational!
    I feel inspired. Send me that Mudslide recipe and I’ll start with that. If I eat enough of them, I won’t feel like doing anything else and the whole endeavour will be over in a jiffy.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Hi MOSY – I’ve missed you!! I was just about at the point of sending you an email to see what you were up to 🙂

      Will send you the Mudslide recipe – they are potent little things! With your summer waiting in the wings for its grand entrance, I’m guessing that adult popsicles will be a welcome addition to the menu 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hiya! Yeah, sorry about that. A combination of the madness into which my life seems to regularly descend and a bad case of End-of-Term-itis. So tired….

        Thank you for the recipe. I’m guessing that adult popsicles will be a warranted self-prescription by the end of the school year….

        Like

  6. LB says:

    Woop Woop!!!
    I’m so glad that on the day that I found time to visit I was able to read this update. I remember the May report!
    I’m so glad you got to meet blogging friends AND got to travel, eat, and volunteer your way through the year. Proud of you, Joanne, for challenging yourself, for stepping outside your comfort zone, and for meeting and exceeding your goal!
    Just awesome!

    Like

  7. I was impressed back in May and I’m really impressed now! I think it’s great that you also plan on just continuing along the path of new challenges and not just resting on your laurels…must try those popsicles…

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    • joannesisco says:

      Thank you for the encouragement! There are definitely days when I think resting on my laurels sounds like a great idea. Thankfully the feeling passes 😉

      Like

      • Interesting how our priorities change as we age! It seems that even if I have a harder time getting going, I enjoy accomplishments, even modest ones, greatly.

        Like

        • joannesisco says:

          I’ve always been a Type A kind of person with more energy than brains sometimes. I have found since I retired, that urge to plan, set goals, and accomplish stuff hasn’t dampened – although as you say, the energy level doesn’t necessarily keep up.
          I keep contemplating a 2nd career, but I have no idea where or how to channel it. In the meantime, my blog fuels my imagination 🙂

          Like

  8. Alex Hurst says:

    Lots of fun stuff! I love the picture of your son and his partner. The tutus and T-rexes were a great idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 65 completed new experiences, that’s amazing. It’s cool that you volunteered for a good cause.

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  10. Simply amazing. You rock!

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    • joannesisco says:

      Thank you, my friend.

      Today I feel like a rock … a big immovable boulder.

      Like

      • The heat? It’s the heat, isn’t it.
        At the risk of embarrassing myself as thoroughly as possible, allow me to quote a batty old aunt of mine: I wish I were a little rock a sittin’ on a hill
        A doin’ nothin’ all day long, but just a sittin’ still.
        I wouldn’t eat. I wouldn’t sleep. I wouldn’t even wash.
        I’d sit and sit a thousand years, and rest, myself, by Gosh!

        Like

  11. Lynn says:

    Joanne, it was such a pleasure to meet you in person this summer & to spend some time together. How wonderful to be included in your 52 new things! It takes courage to step outside our comfort zones, something I would say you have done a stellar job at! In doing so, you have experienced some pretty amazing things! Congratulations my friend!

    Like

  12. Joe says:

    Congratulations on your accomplishments Joanne 🙂 I can tell you one thing you have so much more energy than I do, LOL. Do you think it could be the Vegemite ?

    Like

  13. And it’s not even the end of the year yet, not even close. That’s really awesome. Love your world map with the lapel pins.

    Like

  14. bikerchick57 says:

    Congrats on all of these accomplishments, Joanne. Here’s to a few more in 2015. How about bungee jumping or cliff diving? :-p

    Like

  15. I would imagine that completing your goal of 52 new things in one year must make you just a bit giddy with the effort and results. Your go gettum attitude has been inspiring and captivating. I’ve enjoyed reading about each one I’ve been lucky enough to tune it for.
    There’s a bucketload of things to admire about your, Joanne–and only a fraction of them point toward the accomplishment of your bucketlist.
    Keep on truckin’, lady. You are my beacon.
    🙂

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Those are very kind words {blushing a wee bit} I hope I’m truckin’ for a very long time yet 😉

      What it proves to me is that we probably do so much more than we give ourselves credit for. We run around dealing with life on a daily basis and forget to keep track of all the special moments … usually very small at the time. In the end, it’s those moments that we tend to treasure 🙂

      Like

  16. Paula says:

    I am so inspired by this! And you! Especially pushing past introversion and meeting new people, blogger friends, how great. You’ve proven that our lives can and do change when we get up and change them! Thank you.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks 🙂 I’ve said it so often in my life … we are limited only by our imaginations. Fortunately, I have a pretty active imagination …. at least when it’s not busy dreaming up things to worry about 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Sammy D. says:

    Congratulations!! You are an inspiration, Joanne, not only for achieving your goal, but for doing so in such positive, interesting ways. You also are proof positive that we introverts live well-rounded, rewarding lives. Thanks for this post 💖

    Now get me one of those mudslide pops!!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      oooo – I think you’ll really like the Mudslide Pop. They have attitude 🙂

      Thank you for your kind words. I have a number of mantras to suit the occasion and one of my favourites is “go big, or go home”. We’re limited by things like time and money – and as I’ve gotten older I’ve also added *energy* to that list – but we can always live as *big* as we can … in whatever way is meaningful to us. Or in your analogy – deeply or widely. It’s all good 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. What a fun and inspired post. As I approach my 55th birthday, (October 2nd) and my oldest son’s move to the dorm’s for his freshman year (September 21st) this seems like the perfect time to try something like this. I’m so glad you liked the Dear Opl post, as I wouldn’t have discovered you otherwise.

    What a terrific approach to a year: new experiences, new foods, new destinations, it all sounds like fun. There is so much to do and see in our world. And you are right: stretching beyond our comfort zone often yields wonderful results.

    I live in the States, but always wanted to travel to Europe. The year I turned 30 I attended an employee workshop and we were instructed to list 100 things we wanted to do. Travel was at the top. So…I did it. It was one of the most enriching experiences of my life. I bought a Eurorail pass, stayed in youth hostels and ate on the cheap for two glorious months. I traveled alone (huge for me) but of course met many others on the road.

    Now I’m off to see what else you get up to. Alys

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thank you Alys!! If you do decide to pick up your own challenge, I will be so interested to see where it takes you.

      It’s remarkable how much change and fun we can bring into our lives in such simple ways … like the many different things in the vegetable section we’ve never tried, or parts of our city we’ve never explored. I’ve had a few strike-outs along the way … but in the grand scheme of things, they were fun to experience too 🙂

      Good luck with your son’s move to university. I remember those years well – a different kind of stress 😉

      Like

  19. What a wonderful accomplishment! And, a good reminder to always be open to new and different experiences.

    I’m pretty sure if my list had started with those popsicles, I would have stopped there too (but must try anyway).

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Thanks for the wonderful laugh 🙂
      That’s the problem when alcohol is involved … either all motivation is lost, or shenanigans erupted. Fortunately in our household, more often than not – it’s shenanigans 😉

      Like

  20. You go, girl. My how you have blossomed. I thought you’d stop at 52 new things, but then you added more and still will til the end of this year! The cruise to Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland sounded fabulous. Can’t wait to hear what other new experiences you’ll have this year.
    🙂

    Like

  21. Heyjude says:

    Well done you! You constantly amaze me with your energy and enthusiasm and I have to wonder what else you will achieve by the end of the year. I love the map and the pins, what a great idea. So Mudslides consist of Kahlua, Vodka and Baileys eh? Might have to give them a try…

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      The Mudslides are a frozen yogurt kind of popsicle and are rather lethal. I found a whole bunch of different recipes online and haven’t had a chance yet to experiment with any other flavours. A different way to savour a warm afternoon 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Mrs. P says:

    Another inspiring post. I am definitely interested in this challenge, though I know I have done lots of new things this year, I have not intentionally done it for a challenge.

    I love the pins on the map. How fun. I collect key chains but they don’t fit on the map so easily.

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      The flag pins became a small and easy token to collect whenever we travelled somewhere. They gathered in a drawer for many years before I bought a huge map about 4 years ago and had it mounted on cork. The big question was where we would actually hang such a large, unusual ‘trophy’, and Gilles’ office was selected. It is a wonderful visual … and a reminder of how much more of the world there is still to explore!!!

      I know what you mean about trying new things. We used to have a mantra at work – what got measured, got managed. We don’t appreciated how much ‘stuff’ we do, until we start to measure it. Then it tells a story 🙂
      This challenge has given my year some definition and I’ve had fun with it. I continually come up with new ideas 🙂

      Like

  23. I knew you’d finish early, but you even amazed me! What a great project for yourself, Joanne, and I love the things you’ve done (and I’m sure will continue to do!) Also, I’m with Marissa…..love those pins! Congrats on a challenge well-done!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks Torrie! When we set goals for ourselves, what we can accomplish is truly amazing. I had no idea there was so opportunity in this challenge We really are limited by our imaginations … and energy levels 😉
      There are still so many cool things on my list I hope I can get to before Christmas. Most of them don’t take a huge investment in dollars .. simply some time and planning. I hope I have many more adventures ahead of me 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  24. C.E.Robinson says:

    Joanne, I’ve certainly been an avid armchair traveler reading your posts. I love that you live on the edge of comfort! Look forward to more of that! Chryssa

    Like

  25. Norm 2.0 says:

    Congrats on surpassing your goals. I just love this idea and may have to try a list like this for myself one day.
    In the meantime how do I get one of those popsicles?

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      … if you are ever in Toronto …. 🙂

      Earlier this year when I was first starting on my 52 New Things project, I was surprised to discover this hashtag was already widely used on Twitter. Apparently it is a “thing” that people have been doing for some time and a guy from the UK published a book about his 52 New Things in February of this year.
      I read his book and … No – I’m not interested in getting a tattoo, and Yes, I am already well experienced with body waxing. Having said that, his version is one of the funniest stories I’ve read 🙂

      Who knows what interesting things you would add to your list? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  26. I love this post so much. I am so proud of you, you list of “new” things is inspirational. I looked at your map with stickers and would like to make the suggestion to put Turkey and especially Greece on the list. Both countries are beautiful and offer great vacations spots.

    Never heard of adult popsicles, but I would try one. Well done, well done my friend~!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thank you so much. It’s interesting you mention Turkey and Greece because we were talking about them a few weeks ago. Not sure when we can make that happen … 2016 is already taken 🙂

      I got the idea for adult popsicles from a winery in the Niagara Falls area that offers Ice Wine Popsicles in the summer. It sounded so refreshing, but we were on bicycles and alcohol would be a very bad combination.
      Mr Google provided me with a whole bunch of popsicle variations … but so far I’ve only tried the Mudslide. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Pingback: 52 New Things – Been There. Done That. | T.O.I House by Toi Stori

  28. NancyTex says:

    What a fantastic list, Joanne!
    p.s. Those mudslide popsicles look amazing!

    Like

  29. ToiHouse says:

    I love this!!! And I love your passion! Come visit my page sometime. I’d love to share your experiences in my travel section!

    Like

  30. I like your pins! A good year for you, I’m guessing. I remember a lot of these Joanne!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      Thanks Marissa. This giant map on the wall is a reminder to us of how huge the world is and how little of it we have actually seen.
      I occasionally lose pins before I even get home … which explains why some of them are simply push pins.

      It has been a good year so far and it’s kind of you to join me on my journey. It’s fun to have you along 🙂

      Like

      • It’s a pretty cool collection!
        Traveling is so expensive for a family. It’s been nice to live vicariously.

        Like

        • joannesisco says:

          Since Gilles and I live 700+ km away from either sets of families, our vacations when the boys were young always involved travelling to visit grandparents.
          Our first real family vacation didn’t occur until our boys were 11 and 9 years old. We thought it might be the only one we ever have, and planned a trip to Europe on Aeromiles points (do you have that?) and a shoestring budget. We never looked back after that first trip … we were so hooked.

          We’ve stayed in a lot of grungy hotels and eaten meals of baguette and cheese from a local grocery store, but we have many wonderful stories tell.
          I’m thrilled that although my sons are now in the late 20s (the oldest soon to be 30!!!!), they would still travel with us in a heartbeat. Travelling together can make or break a family … I’m so lucky to have the former!!

          Like

          • Oh yes, my sister and I did a bit of traveling on a shoe string budget when we were young. Never really thought about doing much with the fam. Thing is, it’s so hard to get on a plane. Usually we just drive to Vegas every year. Really, with plane tickets being so expensive, we are limited to destinations we can drive to.
            I’m glad your family bonded so much through traveling.

            Liked by 1 person

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