mangosteenMy approach to New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 has been heavily influenced by the book I Dare Me by LuAnn Cahn. For an entire year, Cahn did something new every day – something she had either never done before in her life, or had not done since childhood.

I’m not sure why this idea has captivated me so.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve been feeling stuck in several areas of my life; maybe I’m feeling old and boring as my fifty-fifth birthday approaches. Whatever the reason, I’m dedicating the next year to this endeavor.  Here’s a report on the first seven days.

I am NOT very adventurous about food. I have been known to eat the same thing for breakfast every day for months on end. When I walk into certain restaurants, the waitstaff put in my order before I even sit down. The gustatory realm is ripe for this project.  One day this week I went to lunch at a sort of restaurant that I NEVER patronize and on another  I bought and ate a couple of unfamiliar fruits (pomelo and mangosteen).

I possess a number of harmless but obsessive daily habits and routines; violating them offers another category of new experiences. So far I have set aside my morning Sudoku and tried a new type of puzzle (Kakuro); read the entire sports section of the newspaper; and sat in a different chair at the breakfast table.

Sunday morning I attended a Quaker meeting. Monday I decided that I would say nothing negative all day (I lasted a whopping 45 minutes).

As you can see, these are not big, dramatic undertakings, although I do have a few of those planned for the year. (Running a half-marathon, riding in a hot air balloon, and traveling to the land of my mother’s birth are on the agenda.) What I am finding marvelously enjoyable is a shift in attitude. Rather than waking up reluctant to start my day, I rise in happy anticipation.  It doesn’t even matter that some of the experiences themselves turn out to be uncomfortable, boring, or unpleasant. The newness is the thing.

At a teambuilding event a couple years ago, my friend John Springer posed it this way: “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” When we were small children, every day brought something new. When did it stop? Why did it stop?

I want that childlike experience again. I dare me. I dare YOU!