Lesson 8: Try Something New. This lesson might be where we hit a crossroads between our elders and our youngsters. In a world bombarded with knowledge and information, it’s challenging to avoid trying new things, yet sometimes our fear muscle gets the best of us and we stop trying new things. Or do we reach a point in life where we forget what it’s like to try something new and the sense of joy and wonder that comes with that experience? Can we take the direction of our own children coupled with the wisdom of our grandparents to navigate new experiences?
In my own personal experience we’ve recently hit a point where my 7 year old daughter has admitted she’s scared to try new foods. As someone who’s life has revolved around good cooking, good food, and the enjoyment of sharing a meal, this fear of my girl’s is difficult to understand. So I know we have to make it less scary for her. How do we make trying new things less scary? How do we develop a mindset of wonder and curiosity? What did our grandparents try as they were older?
As told in my earlier posts, Bop worked with his hands, he tried to fix things he knew he could. When Bop was in his 80’s, he began working with technology. He saw technology as a way to keep his mind going. He said, “Your mind is better than a computer.” Bop took computers apart and put them together. He had no fear of breaking them. He would say, “To fix something, don’t worry what happens when you take it apart, it’s broken already, you can’t break it any worse.” Not only did Bop learn how to fix computers late in life, but he also tried social media. He used it for good. Bop loved to keep in touch with people and Facebook was a way for him to see what everyone was up to! When Bop tried something new, he wasn’t afraid of failure, or at least he never showed any signs of fear. Perhaps it was the times he grew up in that gave him the resilience to keep that sense of wonder.
On the other hand, Gram wasn’t as interested in trying technology, however she loved to try to new recipes. These were signs of her times. She grew up when women cooked and took care of the home. Recipes had directions, they were a safe risk. The worst that could happen is nobody liked it. I can recall just about every weekend when my older sister and I went to our grandparents’ house Gram would greet us by saying, “I found this recipe for… I thought we can try it for dinner.” I got her recipe box after she passed. It took me 3 years to finally sit down and go through it. There were all kinds of newspaper and magazine clippings for things that I wouldn’t eat today. Again, these recipes were a sign of the times. Cream of something soup was in just about all of them!
Trying new things is more about what we can learn, and the experience and memories that are created rather than the “thing” itself. As children we have a sense of wonder, curiosity, and awe. Then we get into the thick of life where we think we have to know it all and do it all. We fear screwing things up. What if we just try something new? The best that can happen is we love it, whether it’s a new piece of technology, a new app, a new hobby, or even a new recipe. The worst that can happen is we discover what we don’t like.
Nothing is as permanent as we think. Trying new things doesn’t have to be anything grandioso. Listen to a new song. Try a new recipe. Introduce yourself to someone new. Take a class on something you don’t already know. Approach the day with wonder and curiosity. Get out of your own head. Wonder. Try. Something New.