Thursday, August 6, 2009

Do Something Different

Today is Thursday, August 6th, and I am excited to tell you I am still keeping my New Year’s Resolutions. I made three, and I am sticking to all of them, most of the time. But one of them stands out in my mind every day, and anytime an opportunity to live by it comes along.

“Do Something Different.”

A couple of years ago, I came across a quote. Not sure who said it, or why, but it is this: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

Poor grammar aside (I avoid using ‘get/got’ whenever possible. There is always a better word), this quote is brilliant. And oh so true. So many days pass when, as I close my eyes to sleep, I realize I simply went through the motions: Wake. Dress. Boys. Eat. Work. Play. Eat. Boys. Sleep. Pretty mundane for the most part.

And I see so many people enduring the same routine, day after day. Whether they are stuck in a rut, or afraid to step outside of their box for a moment to do something different.

Something different does not have to be a major life change. It can be simple, like parting your hair on the other side, or trying berries in your oatmeal. Reading a new magazine, or shopping at another grocery store, in another neighbourhood.

And yes, something different can be life changing as well. Not in a dramatic or traumatic way necessarily, but in a way that opens your eyes to new ideas. New adventures. New challenges and therefore new accomplishments.

In March, when we traveled to Florida and visited Busch Gardens, I challenged myself to ride their über-extreme roller coaster, Sheikra. This is a ride I admired from afar when we first saw it in 2007. I used to be a coaster-rider when I was a kid, but as I grew and began to appreciate the hazards involved, I grew more terrified of them, and stopped riding them altogether. In 2007, I swore I would never ride Sheikra.

By 2009 I was ready, but there was no way I was just hopping on Sheikra right away. I needed to prepare myself. I started small, on some of the kid coasters. Then the drop ride, and made my way up to the tamest of the adult coasters, Scorpion. With each progression, I craved the thrills more and more, and grew increasingly excited for my final conquest. My Dad and I bounced up the stairs to the entry gate. We waited in line for 5 minutes, the entire time not sure whether I had to pee or puke from nerves.

Our turn to board the ride. And away we went. My life was in the hands of this gorgeous ride.

Sheikra is breathtaking. She takes you 200 feet into the sky, towering over the entire park. She then inches you toward the apex of the first 90° free fall, and hangs you—suspended—over the edge for 1-2-3 seconds. Whoosh! Down you go. STRAIGHT down. Then at 70mph, she takes you on a 3-minute ride around inversion loops, through corkscrews, down a second 90° drop and through a tunnel and water feature.

And then you are done. What a ride. A ride which, for me, meant I could do anything I set my mind to. With proper preparation and mindset, I can crash through my fears to realize a dream.

To this day, I have a photo of Sheikra as my desktop (wallpaper for you PC users). And every time I see it, I am reminded that “I did Sheikra”, and that I did something different.

When I am feeling challenged, I remember Sheikra. I think of every time I have stepped outside of my little box. And I push through that challenge knowing every time I try something different, my box grows. My life becomes richer and more flavourful.

My challenge for you today: Do Something Different.
Then come back here and tell me about it.

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