Caroline is continuing to do many more new things than I will ever manage to do but she has inspired me to get my act together and do a new thing each day in July – I have a few things lined up already so it should be EASY. Feel free to join me, you have a bit of time to prepare!
Last year I did something new every day in May. This year, I did it slightly differently. I did Adriene’s 31 Days Yoga Revolution every day. On top of that, I tried to do at least one other new thing. Here’s how I got on.
- Yoga Revolution day 1. Did a 2-mile run on a new route – along the busway.
- Yoga Revolution day 2. I also had lunch in Darwin College, where my partner Chris gets to eat for FREE every day! The food was tasty and the surroundings are absolutely stunning. I saw moorhens, blackbirds, several bees, and the odd student.
- Yoga Revolution day 3. Also, I was spotted! I wrote a feature for the latest International Therapist magazine, a trade magazine for massage therapist. Someone at work recognised me from this rather niche publication!
- Yoga Revolution day 4. I’m really starting to get into the yoga-ing now and I like her presentation. Feeling very zen after my yoga-ing, I then put out my bins, wanting to be in contact with Mother Earth or something, so did it barefoot and connecting with the ground. I painfully stubbed my toe and now it’s purple. It precipitated a workplace ‘is my toe broken?’ conversation. On inspection, a workplace self-styled broken toe expert claimed it was only badly bruised. I also did two more new things: stood at the front of the choir to hear them sing a chord (it sounded amazing!) and righted a kicked-over wheelie bin. Some of the rubbish spilled on to the street, so I put it back in. They like coffee very much. Made me think you can tell a lot about a person by the contents of their wheelie bin.
- I did Yoga Revolution Day 5. This is the first day that I’ve woken up really wanting to do the yoga. It was all about ‘finding your rhythm’, which I enjoyed. This month is ‘Wellness Month’ at work which means lots of potential new thing activities. I went on a guided Mindfulness in Nature walk, which was amazing. I work on a nature reserve and often go for walks around the reserve at lunch time, but this was all about doing it more slowly, and being ‘in the moment’ without lots of thoughts in your brain. It finished with a guided meditation in a bluebell wood. Lovely! This kind of thing doesn’t come easily to me but I’m keen to learn more. In the afternoon I went to see the new goslings at work instead of a tea break. A gosling break.
- I did Yoga Revolution Day 6. Much more energetic this one, with an extended abs section that was quite hard. This afternoon my choir sung in the St Mary the Virgin Church in Fen Ditton to celebrate the church’s 800th anniversary. It was a church I’ve never been to before, and we sung a variety of songs including Sumer is Icumen In which is about as old as the church. I also played my flute in a World Premier – a piece composed especially for the concert. I played my flute in a pulpit, yet other new thing.
- I did Yoga Revolution Day 7. I also read a book on Marma Therapy – Ayurvedic Massage. This was a new thing for two reasons, first of all, I’ve never read it before, and secondly, it’s a book I was sent as a prize for ‘Best Communication’ in International Therapist magazine last month, as I wrote them an article about massaging homeless people at Crisis at Christmas. Marma Therapy is fascinating, it uses points around the body in a similar way to acupuncture but originates in India. Certainly something to explore further.
- I did Yoga Revolution Day 8, a very relaxing and ‘restorative’ session which was lucky as one of my other new things was sending an angry tweet to the Financial Times. It was regarding this article which suggests that a lot of people are proud of the fact they don’t have a basic grasp of maths. The writer seemed to have no concept whatsoever of dyscalculia (numerical dyslexia) and as I have this myself I got a bit ranty. So I calmed down by making two origami penguins.
- Today’s new things started early, when I took a photo of a rabbit before getting my lift to work. There’s a colony of wild rabbits near to my pickup point, but I’ve never caught one on camera before. I also went to my first work leaving do in a yurt. My workplace were given a yurt by a corporate supporter, with the view to it being an extra meeting room. It’s huge! Finally, I did day 9 of Yoga Revolution, a very energetic one with lots of ab things and leg lifts.
- I did Yoga Revolution day 10 and on the way to work saw a crow eating a dead squirrel. Never seen that before, but it turns out they will eat virtually anything!
- I did Yoga Revolution day 11 and had a go at Clubbercise at work. This was also a part of the RSPB’s Wellness Month, and again was in the yurt. Clubbercise is basically aerobics moves (grapevines and the like) to 90s clubbing music like Cafe del Mar, holding glowsticks. It was quite strange to be dancing around with glowsticks in the daytime, in a yurt, at work, but it was really fun. I suspect the loud music may have annoyed some people looking for quiet tranquillity.
- I did Yoga Revolution day 12 which had a lot of energetic sun salutations. I then made baked spicy tomato eggs for dinner. Needs a bit of tweaking!
- I did Yoga Revolution day 13 and met two friends for a cup of tea in a cafe in Histon called The Geographer. It used to be a travel agent, hence the name. It was nice and understated, not like places like Stir which I really don’t like at all. Then in the evening I went to see a comedy show called Guilty Feminist. All I knew about it beforehand was that it was a podcast recording and it was feminist comedy. It turned out the Guilty Feminist is quite a big thing. It was sold out (I think 3 audience members were male) and the people going to see it were *really* excited. I’ve never listened to any podcast, let alone this one. I watched the recording of two separate podcasts, and they seem to follow the same pattern. The ‘I’m a feminist but..’ bit, where they finish the sentence in an amusing way, then they talk about their ‘challenge’ for that episode, then a bit of stand up, then a discussion with a guest. The guests were Mae Martin and Sindhu Vee, and both sat next to me – not that I had any idea who they were beforehand. Sindhu Vee spoke about her struggles with anxiety and how it can cripple her and stop her from functioning. There was a fair bit of audience participation, and the audience was asked how often they suffer from this kind of anxiety. About 90% of the mostly female audience indicated they suffered at least once a week. I don’t think I’ve ever had anxiety like that. Ever. Sindhu said it was because ‘women are judged, judged all the time. Even down to the point of what we wear, what we say, what we do..’ It made me think a lot. Do I get anxious of my clothes because I think I’ll be judged because of them? No, I just get dressed. Maybe I’m lucky. [Yes, you are! I’m amazed I ever leave the house because of this issue! MW]
- I did Yoga Revolution day 14 and went to Maria (the New Things Queen)’s car boot sale in Trumpington. It involved a bit of wandering to find it. I spied a rather nice green dress on sale – one I’d coveted from afar because Maria used to wear it a lot. It was £3. I put the hanger back on the rack (a car boot faux pas) to count my change and another lady expressed an interest. Calamity! After a polite fight, she got her husband to toss a coin, and I was victorious! The green dress is mine. I must familiarise myself with car boot sale behaviour. On the way back into town I saw two new things: a queue of people waiting for Poundland to open, and a group of 20 60-70 year old men, all with Lambrettas. They were later identified, through Maria’s facebook groups, as members of the Cambridge Scooter Club.
- I did Yoga Revolution day 15 and learned a new shimmy in my bellydance class. There are lots of shimmies and this one involved more brain, it required focus rather than just letting everything wiggle. I think it’d need a bit of practice to perfect.
- I did Yoga Revolution day 16 and learned a new workplace phrase: ‘analysis paralysis’. It means spending too much time waffling on about something and trying to make a decision than just getting on with it. Analysis Paralysis became our pub quiz team name for the evening, and we won. There’s no time for analysis paralysis in pub quizzes.
- I did Yoga Revolution day 17 and collected my winnings from a workplace Eurovision sweepstake. It’s the first time I’ve ever won a sweepstake at work. They’re organised by someone called Kevin, aka BetKev.
- I did Yoga Revolution day 18 and saw the famed Croatian Eurovision entry, where a man does a duet with himself in two different vocal styles.
- I had a go at Laughter Yoga at work, as a part of Wellness Month. The idea is that mimicking the action of laughter has the same effect on the body as actual laughter, so we had half an hour of walking around saying ‘HO, HO, HA, HA, HA’ ‘throwing the laughter’ to people, rubbing in the laughter cream, and so on. It finished with a short relaxation session. Reactions were mixed – some people loved it, some hated it. I was on the fence, but I certainly laughed a lot, which is the point I think!
- I did Yoga Revolution days 19 and 20 (as I missed doing one yesterday). In the evening I saw three tribute bands I’d never seen before: Pure DC (AC/DC), Guns 2 Roses (Guns n Roses) and Dressed to Kill (KISS). A lot of the crowd were wearing tshirts of the actual bands rather than their tributes. There were a lot of bored children. I genuinely enjoyed Guns 2 Roses, but was a bit bored by Dressed to Kill, despite the outfits, makeup and pyrotechnics!
- I did Yoga Revolution day 21 and then went to see the new Cambridge North station. I didn’t actually get a train from there though, as that would’ve been a bit pointless – and I didn’t have anywhere particular to go! It took 12 minutes to cycle there compared to the 20 minutes it takes to get to the central station – but then journeys to the other station take 6 minutes. Not necessarily worth it in terms of time, but I reckon I’d use the station to get to Ely as that cuts out some of the journey.
- I did Yoga Revolution day 22 and at work, walked back through the reserve only concentrating on the birdsong (of which there is quite a lot, as it is a nature reserve). I was practising the Mindfulness of day 5 and I was surprised at how much easier it was to do the second time around.
- I had a work meeting in the Gamlingay Eco Hub, the most energy-efficient community building in the country! All of its heating comes from renewable energy and they harvest rainwater for toilets and sinks, meaning they have virtually no utility bills! The building was mostly paid for by fundraising in the local community. I also went to see Mew at Shepherd’s Bush Empire (neither of these are new things) and went to a new pub, the Green in Shepherd’s Bush.
- I did Yoga Revolution day 23 and, following a work conversation about Live TV which also spilled onto Facebook, discovered that one of my Facebook friends once appeared on Live TV. Someone else found the clip – it was a sports quiz show with added scantily-clad women. Quite amusing, but really, really awful!
- I did day 24 of Yoga Revolution and helped to lead a singing workshop at work as a part of Wellness Month. It was outside in the lovely sunshine and we did a range of fun warmups and then learned some rounds. We also managed to recruit a new bass, so a job well done. In the evening I went to my normal Timeline Choir practice, and it was in workshop style taken by Cath Coombes. We sang a song in Swahili, one in Hebrew, and an Irish song. To get home (for complicated reasons involving wanting my bike to be at the train station) I got the train from Cambridge Station to Cambridge North. Cambridge North is, however, 30 minutes walk from my house.
- I did day 25 of Yoga Revolution and gave workplace massages at work as a part of Wellness Month. That’s not a new thing, as I did it last year too, but the new thing was doing them in a yurt – an excellent place for massages – and massaging the back and shoulders of my head of department, who seemed to really enjoy it.
- I went to the MCM London Comic Con. We were in London for Chris’ birthday, but this was the main focus of the trip really. I’d never been to one of these before, but it’s basically an enormous convention full of sci fi nerds, often in full regalia. I went to a panel with two people from Firefly, a Q&A with The Bloke Who Played Flash Gordon, and another one with The Blokes Who Played Rimmer and Kryten in Red Dwarf. The latter were the funniest. I inadvertently wandered into a meetup consisting of people dressed as Disney characters and they were just… odd.
In the evening we went to the Green Man Courtyard Beer Festival.
- I did days 26 and 27 of Yoga Revolution, and then in the evening went to Jamie’s Italian, where I sampled cannelloni from their new summer menu, which was also half price. In the evening I saw Reginald D Hunter (not a new thing), supported by Glenn Wool (a new thing).
- I did Yoga Revolution days 28 and 29, and as it was Chris’ birthday, I made Boob Cakes.
- I did Yoga Revolution day 30 and did a fitness test at work, which tested heart rate, pulse, strength, suppleness and cardiovascular fitness. I did 80 star jumps in a minute! Then in the evening I played a room escape game at a new place in town – Lockhouse Games. We escaped! This is mostly because Chelley and Rob Lucas are real-life escape room superstars.
- I did the final day of Yoga Revolution! I think I’m going to miss it, so I was pleased to find that Adriene has many other free yoga videos on her yoga channel! I also learned some phrases in Croation, as I’m going there on holiday next month. They are,
How are you? Kako si?
What’s your name? Kako si doves?
Good morning: Dobro juto
Good night: Laku nok
Thank you: Hvala
Once again, doing a new thing every day has been interesting, energising, and encouraged me to view every day in a new light. It’s easy for life to feel like a bit of a treadmill of going to work, coming home etc at times, and doing new things every day, even tiny things, is a great way of snapping out of that, and also getting round to doing the things you never thought you’d get around to doing. I think I’m quite a convert to yoga now, thanks to Adriene.