I can say confidently that my awareness and appreciation of the new things I happen to do has become second nature now. I’d like to think that even if I stop doing this project tomorrow, my little internal ‘NEW!’ lightbulb will continue to ping away long into the future, and I will be more tempted to say ‘OK!’ to invitations I previously would’ve thought twice about. And I will still bellow ‘New Thing!’ at my friends annoyingly.
But which new things will become part of my life in the long term?
New Things that didn’t stop at ‘thing’
- Exhibitions. I’ve always thought I don’t know enough about art and that it wasn’t really my thing so have not been particularly bothered about going to art exhibitions and galleries. If I do go to such places, I feel I have to spend ages looking at every single item, and reading every little description or information board, so it takes a long time and becomes a bit of a trial. But I’ve enjoyed wandering round the tiny local displays I’ve been to, and feel as if this has turned into something I’m happy to do on a whim without feeling out of place. I’ve realised it helps if I have some personal context, perhaps a local link to the artist or a theme that means something to me. The artwork I’ve bought in the past has generally been by people I know, of subjects that interest me or of places I’ve visited – an example of each below. Not sure I’m bothered about famous artists.
- Events. I was pretty good at going to talks, fetes and so on already but I have broadened my horizons for the sake of trying new things, with no regrets.
- Talking to strangers. I’ve always been rubbish at this! I assume no-one wants to listen to me or even notices me. And I’m not very patient with people who don’t listen so I’m reluctant to start up a conversation from which I might not be able to escape. But if I spend time doing things I enjoy, I’ve got more chance of meeting people with whom I can have good chats. I’ve definitely talked to more strangers than usual lately, as a by-product of some of the new things I’ve tried.
- Shows. Comedy, theatre, random stuff – just say yes!
- Choir. I love the choir. You know that already. Bit nervous about our concert though. Please buy a ticket – I promise it will be a new thing for you! 19 November.
- Making other people do new things. See previous point.
- Getting my hair cut regularly. I will always hate going to the hairdresser unless they take the mirrors away but I think I can force myself to go now.
- Blogging. Here I still am! All because some friends suggested it and I was stuck for a new thing one day.
Things I intend to keep up – when I (remember to) get round to it
- Mindfulness. There’s definitely some life-changing-ness there.
- Book groups. Still having trouble finishing books so this would help.
- Drawing. I’d like to go to some kind of beginner’s day school next. Drawing or any new arty thing. Company welcome.
- Flower arranging. I have a clue now. And if I have my own garden wherever I end up, I will grow arrangeable flowers.
- Cross-stitch. Very absorbing and satisfying. But what do you do with them all when you’ve finished? I don’t want to drown in bits of material.
- Stewarding. I think so!
The power of hobbies
Other than the choir, I wouldn’t say I’ve committed to starting any new hobbies yet. (Is blogging a hobby?) But I’ve worked out that hobbies are not simply single new things. They generate many new things, for ever. Start one new hobby and it could lead to:
- Development of new skills – what doors would these open?
- Facing fears – if you enjoy doing something, you’re less willing to miss out on a related activity because of something you normally avoid as it scares you, such as driving or big groups of people. Will facing these fears help you tackle other things?
- Meeting new people – what things will they teach you, invite you to or allow you to help them with?
- Relaxation and distraction – what unrelated problems will this help the chilled-out you to solve?
- Gathering new materials – what new shops will you visit, in what new places?
- Attending events – what new buildings will you enter, what new cities will you see and what new experiences will you add to your list?
Hobbies are meant to be good for your soul and wellbeing. This steady stream of new things could be one of the reasons.
Is it liberating or annoying to realise something you’ve been meaning to do for ages turns out to be something you don’t want to do ever again?
- Selling stuff online. I CANNOT BE ARSED. If anyone wants to take things off my hands for a minimal price and sell them on for a bigger price, that is fine by me. Take it all.
- Public speaking and presentations. Argh. The bare minimum please.
One thing I can’t seem to stop doing now is going to Cambridge University Botanic Garden, with my ‘new thing’ membership, so here’s a picture of it. It can be easy to think that paying for membership will mean you just end up using that membership all the time without any effort. It doesn’t work like that until you’ve turned it into a habit, which this now seems to be! And even though it becomes a habit, it may still continue to bring you new things – as you will see from the number of times it pops up in this month’s list.
I don’t have a guest blogger for August yet, by the way. Could it be you?