A few years ago, as I started to feel a little bit better and the fog was starting to lift, I decided I needed to do something differently. I had been thinking that had I made some different choices in life, I may not have had the major depressive episode that I was just starting to recover from. At the time I don’t think I had anything specific in mind, but I promised myself that before I said an automatic no (or yes) to requests or opportunities I was going to sit with them, pause, and ask myself why I was answering the way I was. Often the answer was based on fears. Fear of looking silly, fear of failing or embarrassing myself or my family. Was it really what I wanted, or what I thought I should want? So the change was not answering with my automatic answers, instead really look at those feelings and see if it was something I really wanted to try or was just not my thing (I still don’t want to go skydiving or watch boxing).
One of those things was horse back riding. My daughter had been riding for almost 2 years and I loved watching her, I loved being around the horses and even the smell of the barn. I used to ride as a kid but hadn’t in many years. But one day I wondered ‘why don’t I ride anymore?’. I mean, I’m a little out of shape, and I’ve probably forgotten how to ride, but that’s why people take lessons. So I signed up for lessons and I never looked back. It might seem like such a simple decision, but for me it was huge. I risked looking silly, failing and embarrassing my family (all the things I desperately avoided). But so what? None of those things were the big deal I was making them out to be in my head. And yes, I do sometimes look silly and fail miserably, and I’ve probably embarrassed my daughter a few times, but overall I love it, and it has definitely worth it.
Another amazing opportunity was when a friend posted on Facebook that she knew someone who needed to sell their ticket to a adult camp in New York. I googled it, and it looked amazing, but NEVER something I thought I could go to (I don’t know why, but it very clear to me at the time that it was just not an option). But as I read over the details, examined every page on the website, read every review, I knew I wanted to go. So I did! I bought her ticket and off I went with 2 other new friends from my neighbourhood. Again, one simple ‘yes!’ led to some pretty awesome experiences!
Although it might not seem like a big deal, for me these choices were life changing.
So if you are feeling like you’d like to try new things, I challenge you to make a small change. Give yourself time to pause before answering requests or opportunities, think about the ‘why’ behind those automatic replies, maybe you’d like to answer differently, it may offer big rewards! I’d love to hear what you try and how it turns out, feel free to write in the comments.
(Similarly, I decided to say no to things that I thought I ‘should’ be doing but really didn’t want to, but that’s for another day).