Life can be challenging. Sometimes we’re forced into new experiences whether we like it or not. Truth is, life presents challenges whenever we’re experiencing new things. If you live your life with set routines and a well-formed plan for the future, things can still happen to throw you off course. And even if your plan unfolds exactly as planned, you still need new experiences for a satisfying life. Without them, life grows flat. Your ability to enjoy the present moment diminishes. Time blurs into a succession of months, even years, that don’t change. And research shows that when that happens, time “flies by” without your awareness. Suddenly, the years have passed, and you’ll wonder where they went. That’s a prescription for regret. Instead, consider using this time of disruption to find a hobby! That’s right; find an activity that interests you and immerse yourself in it.  Just like when you were a kid, play is an effortless way to learn about yourself, develop skills, and experience new things. Plus, it protects your mental health by relieving stress and stimulating your brain. That’s the power of play.
 
To avoid “losing” this uncertain year, you can cultivate new experiences right now.  Travel is one way, but pandemic precautions might limit that option. Rest assured, there are lots of options. Learn to play a musical instrument, start a new hobby or sport, take an online class or go for that degree you’ve always wanted. Every new experience exercises your brain and stimulates new memories. Plus, you may just find that you’re more resourceful than you thought. New experiences enrich your life and expand your resiliency. So, the next time you want to opt for zoning out in front of the TV, consider the benefits of trying a new hobby or returning to an old one. You may be surprised by how much fun you can have all by yourself! (and if you want some instruction, you can probably find it on YouTube.) If you need some inspiration, here’s a list of hobbies to get you started, along with links to learn more.

QUOTES TO REMEMBER

“I’ve learned…. that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”   – Andy Rooney

NOTE FROM LINDA

It’s now September 2020 and the uncertainties continue. This is definitely the year we need good outlets to lift our spirits. Unfortunately, many of our outlets are unavailable. That’s why now is the perfect time to rely on our own creativity. Remember when you were a kid and you used your imagination instead of relying on others to entertain you? 

I began playing the organ with a commitment to just play for 15 minutes a day “to kill time” during social isolation. I’m amazed that I now have a repertoire of 10 songs that I love to play. (All because I finally allowed myself the freedom to play badly!) I encourage you to take the same approach. Just jump in like you did when you were a kid. We can all find new activities to try. And when you find one you enjoy; you’ll rediscover the magic of play.