I have received the message loud and clear – I should not have deleted the 2015 posts about my 52 New Things project. In hindsight, deleting those posts might not have been my best idea.
Although I’ve kept hard-copies of my old posts, I decided I would rather revisit the project in a new post rather than recreating individual posts from the past.
At the beginning of 2015, I needed to shake-up my world a bit. I felt like I was settling into a rut of sameness and I wanted a challenge that would keep me on the edge of my comfort zone. After all, that is the whole point of this blog.
My project wasn’t intended to be a high octane list of death-defying activities. I’ve been there, and done that. I was simply trying to add variety and new experiences into my life.
I glibly called it 52 New Things, thinking of it as a weekly challenge, but when I used the hashtag #52newthings for the first time, I discovered it was actually a “thing”. People were already doing it all over the world and I had accidentally tripped into an existing phenomenon.
My list grew gradually from things I wanted to try, things I read about, heard about … a dozen and one different sources offering possibilities. It was a combination of simple things like trying new foods, fun things like trying a flotation tank, to much bigger objectives like travel, and exploring my home city of Toronto.
At the end of 2015, I had completed 85 new things broken down into the following general categories:
Travel = 19
Visiting Around Toronto = 14
New Foods = 12
Unusual Recipes = 11
New Experiences = 9
Personal Development = 9
New Projects = 4
Meeting Bloggers = 3
Miscellaneous = 4
It was a year of many highlights including travelling to Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Iceland. However if I had to pick just one thing about that first year of new stuff, the undisputed high water mark would be joining the 600 km Friends For Life Bike Rally from Toronto to Montreal in support of the Toronto People With Aids Foundation.
I was asked to be a volunteer driver with the medical team and normally I would have avoided this kind of activity at all costs – a week-long commitment, dealing with strangers, in an unfamiliar setting, camping in tents, in the heat of summer. I wasn’t even sure I would be able to drive 8 hours a day for 5 consecutive days.
Nothing about this experience sounded attractive.
… but this was a worthy cause important to my son and ‘adopted’ sons, and I had committed to a year of trying new things.
It was time to walk my talk.
I was humbled by the energy of both the riders and the volunteers – their stories, their kindness, their support of one another. I surprised myself at my ability to adapt, fit it, and not only survive, but thrive. We laughed, we cried, there was drama, sadness, and moments of silliness.
In the end, this experience touched me deeply and provided the ultimate learning for this year-long experiment. If something feels scary and audacious, take the leap … it is likely going to affect you in ways you can’t predict.
The 52 New Things project was such a positive experience, I have continued it each year since then – although now I just refer to it as my New Things List. At the beginning of each year, I purge out everything I completed in the prior year and delete anything that no longer interests me.
The truth however is that my list keeps growing anyway. There are just SO MANY things I want to do, see, experience.
Maybe this inspires you to try your own year of doing new things too.