I recently endured an insanely boring six hour bus ride from Oklahoma City to Kansas City. Though six hours isn’t an eternity I am afflicted with an inability to sit still for long periods of time. I began to unravel in about 37.5 minutes. The only thing that kept me from doing forward rolls up and down the aisle was my bus driver’s endless string of impossibly loud and personal cell phone conversations.
Mile after excruciatingly boring mile I fidgeted in my seat and listened to Mr. Megaphone blabber on from one call to the other. He chastised a friend in the throes of a tattered romance, reprimanded the guy who did a poor job of patching the church roof, and gushed about his three year old granddaughter’s promise to take care of him when he’s old. She says her parents are mean and Mr. Megaphone is not. As we pulled into the Kansas City terminal he got a call from someone wanting suggestions on restaurants. Mr. Megaphone quickly rattled off a variety of spots but just as quickly bad-mouthed each one. Finally he blurted out, “I just don’t like trying anything new!” Loud and proud, he repeated himself over and over as if it were a badge of honor. “I just don’t like trying anything new!”
I was surprised and then annoyed by his declaration. I got to thinking about people I know who are equally as adamant about never trying new things. They are crippled by their fear. The moment the ‘Do New’ sign blinks on in their lives they bolt in the other direction. I had to check myself awhile back when I realized that I had fallen into a complete and total rut. Somewhere along the way my desire for adventure and new things had faded. I had become stagnant and even surly at times. I poo-poo’d Facebook, bad-mouthed Twitter, snarled at Skype and in general refused to get a clue about many of the new and exciting things happening in technology. “Who are you?” I finally asked myself. “More importantly what have you done with the incredibly cool chick who used to hang out in this body?”
I was in dire need of a ‘Do New’ makeover. I chopped off my shoulder length locs, colored my hair, started working out, lost weight, got up to speed with the social network revolution and started this blog. All of which made me feel alive again and ushered refreshingly new experiences into my life. My willingness to ‘Do New’ also reduced the dreaded possibility of my son calling me out as a hypocrite. His Dad and I constantly encourage him to experience new people, places and things. The child would have had a field day with me if I hadn’t gotten a clue.
So this brings me back to Mr. Megaphone. I wonder what kind of role model he will be for his granddaughter. Will, “I don’t like trying anything new,” become her mantra? Or will somebody, perhaps her “mean” parents, encourage her to spread her wings and continually soar to new heights? We owe it to ourselves and our kids to have the guts to step outside our box and explore the world around us, whether it’s trying new foods, traveling to new places, taking a new job or simply striking up a conversation with a stranger. Not every experience will be ‘fan-tabu-lous.’ But when we are willing to push our limits and walk boldly into the blinking light of the ‘Do New’ sign we will surely enhance and broaden our horizons which, in my humble opinion, is always a good thing. I’m just saying.