I'm a person who thrives on routine. I love the familiar. I can eat one dish for dinner 70% of the time for months on end. I can listen to one song on repeat for hours, for weeks at a time (I assure you that my college roommates loved me for that).
I like to call this trait "loyalty". And while it does have some positives, it also has the downfall of keeping me from trying out new opportunities. There are times when, for the sake of my mental health, I feel I have to keep myself fenced in like that.
But this year, I'm in a pretty good place, and I'm trying very hard to push myself to experience new things. That's why my goals for the year include trying new restaurants and new recipes. And just in the last month, I've stretched myself quite a bit:
1. Re-learning how to swim and bike, and joining a triathlon team. Swimming has been fun; biking is a bit terrifying. I can feel new muscles in my body being worked for the first time, and I think I'm finally losing some weight without much deliberate effort. Interacting with team members and doing group workouts is something that doesn't come easily to me, but I know will be helpful both in terms of the sports and otherwise.
2. Joining Toastmasters. I've brought up the intent to join in my annual eval at work pretty much every year, but hadn't yet committed to it. I'd been to a couple meetings at different clubs - one was in the evenings, and out of the way once I moved a few years ago. Another was in a building that required going up to the host company's office, than being accompanied to the secured area where the conference room was - just a bit of pain.
Finally, after mentioning it yet again in this year's evaluation, I checked the available meetings again, and found a lunchtime one near by. It seems like a really great group of people, with a wide variety of ages. I'm actually looking forward to scheduling my first speech!
3. Learning to use TriMet public transit. Ok, this one might not seem like a big deal, but it's a new thing to me! I grew up in a little town with no public transport (nor any real need of it); and since then have lived in various suburbs of Portland. Technically TriMet reaches out to the suburbs, but in limited ways - for example, the area I work in only has buses, no lightrail, and only during a couple hours in the morning and evening for rush hour on weekdays.
I finally live in an area a bit closer into downtown that's on the MAX (lightrail) line, though, and it's quite convenient to take into downtown Portland for evening or weekend activities. I'm still a bit nervous that I'll miss my stop or end up walking 5 miles around downtown trying to find where I'm going, but even after just a few trips I feel way more comfortable. And thank goodness I live in the era of smartphones for instant access to google maps!