Trying new experiences

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEarlier this week a friend and I were discussing things that we agree to do that we don’t want to do. We do that for many reasons.

Sometimes, (most times) it’s because a friend wants to do something and doesn’t want to do it alone.

Sometimes you think it will lead you somewhere else that you want to be or maybe give you work gigs. (They rarely do either.)

Sometimes you have no freaking idea why you agreed to do it so let’s blame that one on the margaritas.

The irony of this conversation was that I was accompanying her on a blueberry picking trip. Truly, I don’t need to pick blueberries. The beloved husband does not like them and I can be satisfied with a pint or two from the store or farmers’ market.

I agreed to pick blueberries because I enjoy her. It’s quite a drive and it’s nice to have company.

That got me thinking of all the things I have agreed to do that I normally wouldn’t do. Some turned out well and some….well…they give me stories to tell.

I am exercising at the gym because I was coerced into trying it ten years ago. I really didn’t want to do it (I hate exercise) but I agreed to a three-month trial for a friend. The rest is history. (This one was good!)

When I lived in New Jersey, one of my friends badgered (yes, badgered) me into joining a bridge club. I am not the bridge type. I am the animal rummy type. Maybe even Go Fish. Yes I did it and loved it. I got very competitive too. (This one was good!)

When I lived in Delaware, my neighbor asked me to join a garden club. Hey, I love gardening. Maybe I’d learn something and meet people with similar interests. I brought the average age down to 70 (I was about 40 at the time.) and it turns out that this club did the maintenance for several historical sites. Translation – they needed me as slave labor to pull weeds. The only thing I learned was to be sure to wash off afterward so the poison ivy wouldn’t be too bad. (Not so good!)

I once chaperoned a bunch of kids on a church camping trip. That was so wrong on so many levels. My friends can’t picture me doing either of those activities let alone both on one trip. In a way, I enjoyed the weekend but never did it again. I realized just how much I hate camping…all those bugs and stuff. It is doesn’t say Hilton, I’m not going. (or at least Motel 6!)

Over the years I have become more selective on what I will agree to – shopping, eating, fun or drinking – YES, YES, YES!

Anything that’s work — mostly no or if I really care about the person — maybe. Anything with bugs, cold, or that’s really dirty – absolutely not!

That won’t stop me from agreeing to do something bizarre and afterward asking myself, “Why did you do that?” Hey, if you don’t try things, you don’t know.

29 thoughts on “Trying new experiences

  1. It’s fun to think of the things we got talked into–for good or ill. My late husband talked me into going with him to some Chinese boxing movies. I complained about how graphic and violent they were. (What did I expect from a martial arts movie?) But after a few Bruce Lee movies, I developed a taste for them–(not on a regular basis). Now I’m thinking that I haven’t seen a good martial arts movie for a long time.

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    • No matter how I say that I won’t let it happen again, I got talked into going to a baseball game this coming week. I hate baseball the but the people going are fun. Hot dogs and beer, here I come! (Maybe I’ll take my Kindle!)

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  2. Like you, Kate, I went blueberry picking with our family just to be out with them. I had more fun than I’ll admit to and really enjoyed the berries afterward.

    But I often hesitate to take on new experiences. When I go out to eat, I usually eat the same thing at the same restaurant every time we go there. Try something new? Oooh, I’m not sure. Recently, I was asked to join a Book Club. I wasn’t sure about this. Fortunately, they picked a book I’d already read and enjoyed. So the discussion was quite lively and interesting. Now, we’re on to the next book. 😉

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  3. I think it’s a great to try things with others. I have invited friends to go with me on some of my little field trips and I can divide my friends into two camps. Some will come along to anything. They just enjoy experiencing whatever I’m dragging them along to. We have a good time, no matter what. The others say a polite “No thank you” if it’s not their cup of tea. Either is fine, but I personally hardly ever say not to a new experience–at least for the first attempt! Camping isn’t my thing either, but I want the outdoors. Sometimes I have to give in. 🙂

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  4. I couldn’t agree with you more on this subject. I am so happy to have reached the age of selective choices, it’s a lovely place. I love to try new things that are fun .. cold, bugs or anything that does not include amenities is off my list as well.

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  5. I think blueberry picking was a very nice and thoughtful surprise your husband had, Kate. Two points for him!
    Like Nancy, I’ve gotten much better at saying “No thanks.” It took years, but it’s so liberating.
    Enjoy your berries!

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  6. Hi Kate. Yes, this is very much my experience. That is, over the years I’ve learned what works and what does not work. Where I “stumble” is when I allow myself to feel guilty about saying “no.” For example, a friend has 5 dogs. These are very high-needs rescue dogs, the kind no one else is willing or able to adopt. One is literally wheelchair bound – his little hind end is lashed to a wheeled contraption. One is blind, another is prone to stroke, another needs insulin shots. So, when she asks for people to help out when she has to be away overnight… I know I don’t want to volunteer. I am not up to the job. The “knowing my boundaries” is the easy part. But feeling OK about defending those boundaries? I’ve got some work to do on that.

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    • Yes I know about the guilt of saying no. That’s what makes me say yes sometimes. How else would I end up on a camping trip with 60 kids?

      I have a diabetic cat (2 shots a day) and a one-eyed cat along with two others and I pay for a sitter if I need to go away. I have someone who is a vet tech so I never worry.

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  7. “Blame it the margaritas.” Perfect. Always a mixed bag, but recently screening the hype about offers a little more carefully…too many “weedings” showing up. …anything close to poison ivy or offering mosquito access is likely to get skipped.
    Enjoyed the post

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  8. So “the surprise” (from Aging Ears) was picking blueberries! Better than volunteering to muck out stalls at the local stables . . . or chaperone another church camping trip. 😎

    Sometimes “friends” put us in situations we’d rather avoid because it’s convenient for them. I’ve gotten better about saying “No Thanks” when that something doesn’t hold any appeal.

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    • Yes, it was blueberry picking (thank goodness!) I can say that too if it’s a definite. Sometimes the allure of a few hours with someone you like can overcome something that’s not on your bucket list but here are limits. You can bet that garden club experience won’t happen again. If I want to help out, it will be because I want to. Not because I feel roped into it.
      I seem to remember you did a post on helping your neighborhood group right after you moved in. Sometimes even if it’s not the right thing for you, you may end up with new friends.

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      • Most experiences I’ve had . . . I’m glad I had. Either because I enjoyed them or because I learned to avoid them. 😎

        Once, when I was sick, and a blizzard raged outside (before we moved to FL), I friend wanted me to go to the pet store to watch her kids while she picked out gerbil cages, bottles, etc. She planned to go back with her husband to pick out the gerbils (so I would NOT have been included in the FUN part of that adventure). I said “no thanks” to that “opportunity.” She was pissed. I viewed that as her problem.

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  9. In the old days, doing something new (good or bad) was irresistible. Then there was a lull in my explore-the-world spirit. Now, it’s back. Like, having lunch at a new restaurant is my idea of a brave new world. Camping? Still not so good. LOL! Your posts are such fun because they allow me to live a vicariously adventurous life.

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