10 days of change and lessons learned

This post is long over-due, as it’s over 3 weeks past my 27th Birthday. As I pledged, though, the last days days of my 26th years of life I tried something new each day. Sure some days I stretched the definition, but I got it done. I have to say, when I consciously tried to try new things, I learned a lot. I also learned that trying new things on a daily basis isn’t so easy — as a person of habit, I automatically cling to my normal ways. It’s especially hard to work something new into your day when you’re having a bad day, or receive bad news because habits are comforting, new is not.

Here’s a summary of my journey to try new things and what I learned:

 April 1st

New Thing: Finally met in person a twitter friend! Beth

  • I learned that some people are just as awesome in person as they are online 🙂 Making new friends is always a win

New Thing: Tried coconut M&M’s

  • They caught my eye while in Duane Read and given the theme of the week, I decided to grab them and give ’em a try. New candy, not going to say no to that. The verdict though – not a fan. Not all new things are positive…but now at least I know to stick with regular or peanut M&Ms (yum!)

April 2nd

New Thing: Had a Vegan Gluten-free Carrot Walnut Muffin from the Union Sq. market

  • GROSS! I’m not vegan or allergic to gluten so I’m not sure what attracted me to this muffin. I guess it looked good, but it was dry, dense and overall not tasty. I learned that I should embrace the fact that I don’t have food allergies and each floury and buttery baked goods!

New Thing: Tried cooking with fat-free ricotta cheese

  • I’ve never had fat-free ricotta, but I’ve seen it as a healthy cooking alternative in a ton of recipes. Plus it’s a good source of non-meat protein, so I decided to give it a shot. My recipe: pasta, lentils, zuccini, ricotta. The verdict? Flavorless. There’s a reason fat is in cheese, it should be kept in.

New Thing: Sampled a green juice from Organic Avenue

  • “Juicing” seems to be the new big craze. Although I will never drink only juice for 1-7 days, I was curious how a green drink could taste good. I walked pasted Organic Avenue  during lunch and noticed they were giving away samples so I decided to take a sip of a green juice. OMG was it disgusting. To all you people out their who drink this stuff for recreation, I don’t know how you do it. I’ll take my veggies whole, no juice required.

April 3rd

New Thing: Walked 17 blocks to a client meeting when I could have expensed a cab

  • It was a beautiful day, I have working legs — so why not? Normally I’ll always flag a cab when going to a client meeting because it’s free to me, but I was glad I changed it up and walked this time. It was good to get outside and the walk was refreshing.

New Thing: Spontaneity! Went to happy hour with co-workers when I was originally leaving to go home

  • OK, now this one is kind of sad that I’m classifying it was “new.” I’m pretty much a person who plans things out and I’m not always great (aka never) at changing my plans last minute. Well this day I was planning on just going home after work and relaxing on my couch. As I was walking out the door a couple of co-workers asked me if I wanted to join them for a drink. My initial reaction was “no,” but then I remember that I needed to change things up and small acts of spontaneity are included! I went to happy hour and had a wonderful time sipping some delicious wine and catching up with my coworkers.

April 4th

New Thing: Ran over the Queens Borough Bridge AND along the UES River

  • One of my favorite things about running is getting to see new places! However, when it comes to running in NY I pretty much stick to my standard paths. I missed my morning run this day, though, so I took the opportunity to run after work from my office, which happens to be right near the QBB. I think I avoided the bridge for so long because for some reason finding the entrance to a big bridge intimidates me. Well after looking at a few maps, I found it! I kicked that bridges a*ss, large incline and all. After the bridge I still had energy so I jaunted up to the East River around 63rd street, another area I’ve never run! It was a beautiful day and I got out a lot of stress. This one’s a win.

April 5th

New Thing: Found a BlackBerry in the back seat of the cab and took it with me to track down the owner

  • I got into a cab to go to a client meeting (it was far away, don’t judge me for not walking this one!) and noticed a homeless BlackBerry on the seat next to me. My initial reaction was to take it and find whoever’s phone it was. My second reaction was, “what if I can’t get in touch with the owner? Then it’s just like I stole the phone.” I went with my gut reaction. If it was my phone, I’d want someone to find it and give it back to me and I just would feel awful knowing I left that phone in the cab stranded from it’s owner. Just my “luck” the phone had about 10 different email accounts on it! To make a long story short, I emailed a couple of the accounts from my email address explaining I found the phone and luckily the owner replied to one of them! He lived in CT, but I was able to mail him back the phone the next day. As a thank you, he emailed me a $25 gift card to Starbucks, which honestly I felt awful about. I didn’t return him his phone because I wanted to get something out of it, I returned his phone because it was the right thing to do and what we as humans should do. I still haven’t used the gift card because I don’t feel right about it for some reason. Any ideas of someway I can pass on the kindness of the gift card? Use it to buy food at Starbucks and give it to a homeless person maybe?

New Thing: Got my nails painted Blue…and paid $15 for a manicure instead of $8

  • So I have somewhat of an OCD with picking my cuticles. It’s extremely gross, I know, but it’s a bad habit. My nails were really bad this day and I just HAD to get a manicure so I walked into the first place I saw. Now usually I go to one of the cheapy nail salons and get an $8 manicure, but this one happened to be $15! I let the shock go, you have to splurge sometimes. Anyways, I went for something bold and completely out of my realm — I got them pained BLUE. A bold blue. Now I’m normally more of a pink/red nail girl, but boy did I love these! My nails made me smile for the 8 days they lasted. Oh and that’s another thing, my nails usually scratch off after 3 days, these lasted 8! Guess a good manicure is worth the money, another lesson learned 🙂

April 6th

New Thing: Inherited a new plant from work — I don’t have a green thumb

  • Not real exciting, I was stretching it this day. We had a bunch of extra plants at work that our office manager offered for everyone to take home. I’m not totally into home decor (aka my apartment looks like two teenagers live in it) and I was not born with a green thumb, but I figured it was free, I mine as well add some life to my apartment. I’m pleased to say it’s still alive and flourishing, which may have something to do with the fact that someone else was taking care of my apartment for the past two weeks…

New Thing: Added avocado to my regular salad

  • Again stretching the whole “new” thing, but I don’t often have avocado in my salad so I through it into my regular create-your-own salad mix: spinach, squash, hearts of palm, cherry tomatoes, tofu and Avocado! It was alright, the avocado didn’t taste totally in season.

April 7th 

New Thing: Ran the Scotland Race, my first 10K! 

  • Despite having run 3 half marathons, I’ve actually never ran a 10k race! When my twitter (and real-life) friend, Beth told me she had a bib, but couldn’t run it, I figured it was a good opportunity to get some motivation for my “long run.” I was planning on an 8 mile run and the race was a little over 6 miles, so it was perfect! I’ve also heard the Scotland run is fun too, so I was excited to run it. I had no time expectations as I’ve been injured for the past few months and I’m strongly trying to heal and ease back into mileage. Well, the spirit of the race just took me over! The rolling hills of Central Park were tiring, but I finished with a pace of 9:32min/mi! For me that’s awesome! I was so happy — yey for trying new things!

New Thing: Ordered dessert after a big meal out 🙂

  • I don’t restrict my eating, but I don’t like eating until I’m stuffed and feel sick. Also, while I do enjoy sweets, I’m not obsessed with desserts. That all being said, I don’t normally have dessert when I go out to dinner because I’m full by that time. In the spirit of trying new things, though, I decided to go wild and ordered a chocolate lava cake with vanilla gelato after an Italian dinner at my favorite neighborhood restaurant, Bistango. Like everything else at Bistango, it was delicious. I’m glad I tried it. My belly is glad too.

April 8th

New Thing: Made my first Easter baskets! One for my Mom and one for my boyfriend

  • I’m a dork, I love the spirit of holidays. My mother has been going through some tough times and I knew an old-fashioned Easter basket would cheer her up — after all, who doesn’t like feeling like a kid? I knew my boyfriend wouldn’t mind one as well, so I doubled up. Seeing other people smile, makes me smile 🙂

April 9th

New Thing: Bought a green pashima…one of my only green clothing items

  • At this point I was tired of new things, ha. I’ve been meaning to get a new Pashima, though, but am always too exhausted on my walk home from work to have the energy to stop for 2min and actually buy one. I needed something new to do, though, so I mustered up the energy and bought a emerald green pashima. I love the color. I don’t have much green in my wardrobe, although I love a deep green.

April 10th

New Thing: Turned 27th and loved my Birthday 🙂

  • One thing I will always love about my Birthday, it’s a reminder of how many wonderful people I have in my life who truly love and care about me. Thank you to all my friends and family who sent me kind wishes and/or came out to celebrate my 27th Birthday — you truly make my world an amazing place.

Overall I learned that it good to make a concerted effort to try new things, but sometimes the comfort of “the usual” is OK to —

On April 3rd, my grandfather passed away at the age of 91. That day was especially hard to focus on “the new.” When tragic events happen, all I want to do it smother myself in the comfort of old habits with trusted outcomes. Trying new things should be a habit of life, but my grandfather has also inspired me for another, more important “habit”: kindness. My grandfather was a magnificent man with an unyielding spirit. As written by those who knew him best:

John was an unpretentious, unassuming, and uncommonly kind man who was always willing to help and never asked nor expected anything in return.

I can only hope one day that people will speak so graciously of me. In honor of my grandfather, I’m dedicating my 27th year of life to exploring the unknown, inspiring, motivating, spreading kindess and embracing life 🙂

QUESTIONS: What new things have you tried lately?? What have you learned from your new experiences? Tell me something inspiring 🙂

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