Sunday, July 20, 2008

Challenge

It seems to me that the best thing we can do to keep life exciting is change up our routines a bit. If we continue to do the same things over and over, how will we ever come up with new ideas? How will we keep our lives creative and interesting? How will we avoid feeling like life is boring or depressing? We take the same route to work, we eat the same foods, we talk to the same people, we go the same places, we have the same conversations, we use the same words to describe our lives ("I'm a secretary.") or to address our loved ones ("Hello, dear.") or when we get angry ("I'm so stupid!" or "S/he's so stupid!"), we sleep on the same side of the bed, we complain about the same problems, we use the same coping mechanisms to assuage our boredom, etc. We live our lives in a way that is not fully conscious, doing many things just out of habit, and part of that is defining ourselves in habitual ways that are not current with the moment. Does that make any sense? We come to expect that our life is only as wide as the box we've chosen to view it through. When we make little changes (and big changes), we allow ourselves to widen the box a bit (or a lot).

This week I'm setting up a challenge for myself and I'm inviting you all to join me. Every day this week I vow to do something I've never done before and/or learn something new. This could mean listening to a piece of music I've never heard before (live or on recording), going to a new place (a restaurant, an art museum, a part of town, someone's house, a park, etc.), learning a new word or learning about a new subject, learning something new about a person I know or talking to someone I've never talked to before, learning a new skill, etc. etc.

If you'd like to join in the fun, feel free to write about your adventures in the comments here. That could be very inspiring for those of us looking for ideas! Also, if you feel like it, I'd love to hear about ways in which you already try to keep your life fresh and exciting!

[Uh... and since this is the internet and all, I guess I should make it known that I only endorse legal activities, like the kind of stuff that doesn't hurt anybody, including yourself...]

18 comments:

Pam said...

Here's my plan so far. It is not organized. I have not decided yet which of these things I will do today. But, I'll let you know.

So here is a list of places I've never been before that I'd like to visit this week:

SF MOMA
top of the Bank of America building
top of Coit Tower
one of the artsy movie theatres
jazz club in North Beach

Here's a list of things I'd like to do that I've never done before:

Go on a double decker sightseeing bus
Take a trolley up a really steep hill

Also, I'd like to make a point of getting to know some people better. And, I think I'd like to learn some new words.

There you go. Now it's in writing.

Pam said...

Ok, so I just learned 5 new words:

acephalous, afflatus, bedizen, bowdlerize, and contumely

Suze said...

I don't know any of your new words (though I may have run across them studying for the GRE many years ago!). What do they mean?

Andre said...

Go Pam. . have fun on your awesome marathon! It is going to be so awesome to read about the way you've grown say. . . three months from now. Can you write a blog entry three months from the day you started this challenge and speak about your findings? (This isn't to stop you from writing along the way, but it would be nice to mark the occasion, don't ya think?)

Pam said...

Here's my report for Monday. After work I rode the bus out to the most western part of the city - to the beach near Lands End (not the store...)and hung out there for a while. It was beautiful. (I had never been there before.) Then later Ian and I went for sushi and I tried some new fishies I hadn't eaten before. And then we saw the movie, "The Dark Knight". This morning I took the bus to work (which I've never done before).

Pam said...

acephalous - without a distinct head; afflatus - inspiration; bedizen - dressed gaudily; bowdlerize - censored of vulgar language; contumely - insult

this is from memory (except for the last one, which i couldn't remember at all), so i hope they are correct

Jake said...

Took your advice and walked down a different street on my way to work this morning. Must have done something to the air, because I then went to a restaurant I'd not been to before (well, technically, I'd not been to that location before) where they had a fire alarm while we were there, which has certainly never happened to me before.

Gotta see what else happens tomorrow!!

Pam said...

So it's Tuesday. Today I took the bus to work instead of walking and then after work I went to a Taize service at Notre Dame des Victoires and then I walked for an hour and a half through many parts of town I hadn't been through before. I walked up Powell St. from Bush St. to Fisherman's Wharf and Ghiradelli Square and then took Hyde St. back. Hyde St. has some major hills in it. Whoa. And, I had never been through Russian Hill and by the super windy street and all that. It was quite a walk. I enjoyed it very much.

Pam said...

oh - and I learned 4 words of Chinese...

Pam said...

It's Wednesday afternoon and I'm just writing to report that on my lunch hour today, I went to the top of Coit Tower, which was very cool. The sailing of the "tall ships" was happening, so I saw a ton of really neat old ships in the bay. :-) It's a gorgeous day today. There were tons of flowers and dragon flies on the way up the steps. So many steps. My legs are a bit sore!

Pam said...

Tonight I learned 7 new Chinese phrases.

Pam said...

These are the tall ships, in case you're interested:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?f=/c/a/2008/07/23/BAAE11TAJT.DTL&o=0

Here's a link to Coit Tower:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coit_Tower

Fisherman's Wharf:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fisherman%27s_Wharf%2C_San_Francisco%2C_California

Russian Hill:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Hill

Sutro Baths (which are right by The Cliff House, which is where I actually went, not Lands End):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutro_Baths

Pam said...

It's Thursday afternoon. So today at lunchtime, I took a walk down Davis St. through 2 parks I've never been to before and then went over to the water and walked out to the end of Pier 7. There were a bunch of guys fishing out there and one guy was totally hacking up a big fish on the pier. I asked him what kind of fish it was and he answered me in Chinese, so I have no idea what kind of fish it was. Then I walked over to and down Pier 3 and then the same at Pier 1, where I got to see a bunch of very cool big boats. Then I went to the Ferry Building, where I've been many times, but I went in a different door than I usually go in. I went to the San Francisco Fish Company and ordered a Seared Mahi Sandwich with mango salsa. As far as I know I've never eaten that type of fish before. Then, on my way back to work, I found a little coffee shop where I ordered a Jasmine dragon phoenix pearl tea latte. It was delicious. That's all so far. I'm planning to go to the SF MOMA after work, so we'll see if that happens. I'm also interested in going to the Museum of the African Diaspora, which looks really cool. Also looking cool is the California Historical Society, where there is an exhibit about the Chinese of California. I'll report later.

Pam said...

I did go to the SF MOMA after work Thursday evening and especially enjoyed the exhibit of Contemporary Chinese art. I met Ian afterwards and we ate at a restaurant we'd never been to before called "Persimmon".

Pam said...

It's Friday night - so after work today I went with my friend Lisa from work to the bar at the top (on the 52nd floor) of the Bank of America building. The view is absolutely incredible. Then, Ian and I went to Fisherman's Wharf dressed in formal wear, put out Ian's top hat, and took turns singing classical vocal literature. We went BUSKING! What a hoot! I've never done that before. It was way less frightening than I thought it would be.

Pam said...

By the way, I'm crossing the sightseeing bus and trolley off my list. I don't know if I'll get to the artsy movie theatre or the jazz club this weekend. I don't really care. I've done a lot of fun and cool stuff. I don't really feel like I want/need a list anymore.

Pam said...

It's Saturday evening. This morning I sang two funerals in a row. I guess that counts as something I've never done before, although it's not exactly something I planned on. This afternoon I hiked the trail from the Sutro Baths to Lands End, which was well worth the trip. It was a beautiful day to be in such a beautiful place. Then, Ian and I ate some delicious food at an Eritrean restaurant we had never been to. (Eritrea is an East African country north of Ethiopia. The food was very similar to Ethiopian food.)

Pam said...

It's Sunday evening. Today Ian and I went for a hike in the Marin Headlands, visited Bonita lighthouse, and at Fort Cronkhite went to the Battery Townsley bunker and the Marine Mammal visitor center. Very cool stuff! I was especially excited to learn about the Marine Mammal center because my friend, Emily, works there saving elephant seals and other awesome sea creatures -- and we had no idea we would end up there. It was an unexpected surprise part of the trip. The clouds were quite low today, so climbing the green hills along the rocky coast with fog rolling by made me think of Monty Python... Then, we ate dinner at a Swiss fondue restaurant called The Matterhorn. Yummmmmmmm. It was gooooood.