The question on everyone’s mind is: Are we going to do another year of New Experiences?
And the answer is….. (Drumroll, please.)
After 3 years of planning and doing New Experiences, it is time for a change. I have thoroughly enjoyed the project. It literally changed my outlook on life. In late 2010, I was depressed after going through a divorce. I felt like I had no control over my life. Things were happening to me, but I was doing nothing to make things I wanted happen. I needed a change. I did not have the means or ability to fly to Italy, India, or Indonesia like Elizabeth Gilbert did in Eat, Pray, Love. I had two preschoolers at home and very little free time. I craved the excitement of my youth, but responsibility kept me home. I was determined to love my life again. I had two evenings a week and every other weekend to myself. Instead of wallowing in my depression, I decided to try something new.
Actually, I tried 52 new things, and found myself feeling happier than ever. I decided in 2012 that I would include my children in the project. I wanted them to try as many new experiences as possible. We had an amazing year, so we continued the project for 2013.
2013 was also a great year, but it was a year of big change. Leah entered kindergarten, and I returned to my career in teaching again. Finding time for New Experiences was a challenge. Sometimes I felt stressed that we wouldn’t have enough time to try something new. But, I am glad that we stuck with our plan. The New Experiences project was all about finding time to be together and have fun as a family. We only completed 50 experiences in 2013, but we definitely spent quality time together and had fun.
I don’t think I’ll ever want to stop trying New Experiences. Getting out of my comfort zone and teaching my children to try something new has become a way of life.
However, for 2014, our goal will be less ambitious. We are going to try one New Experience together every month. We’ll spend some time on things I call “Experiences Worth Repeating”. We want to revisit some of the things we really enjoyed over the course of our project. The only downside to our New Experiences project was that we were so focused on trying something new that we didn’t have time to repeat the ones we loved. Swimming in a lake, bouncing at a trampoline place, and launching model rockets are things we look forward to trying again in 2014.
I hope you’ll join us for another year of New Experiences! We’d also love to hear about what you are planning to do this year!