Try New Things


I recently read a great quote from an author named Neale Donald Walsch:

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

This quote really resonates with me.  There have been many times I’ve been at the end of my comfort zone.  I admit to turning around more often than pushing on.  When I do continue to push past, I find that I learn something.  Sometimes I learn a lot!  In October of 2023, I went beyond my comfort zone and tried something new.  At 65 years old, that’s not necessarily the common thing to do.

Our two oldest grandchildren had their Fall Break in October, so we drove with them to Tennessee.  Our daughter Hannah joined us in Tennessee with her younger son a day or two later.

We all had a great time in Tennessee.  The weather was nice and there was plenty of outdoor activities.  The grandchildren had a blast.  I also had an opportunity to bring my two-year old grandson to take trash to the local “convenience center” (a county-run operation with dumpsters for trash and recycling).  He really enjoyed the new experience.

The highlight of the week was a trip to the Echo Valley Corn Maze.  This place, a 15-acre family farm, is located outside Jefferson City, TN.  It has a number of attractions including mazes, pumpkin patch, petting zoo, rides, and other activities (see for more information).  The six of us (three adults and three children) had a wonderful time!  I hope it will become an annual tradition.

Toward the end of our time in Tennessee, my wife suggested we rent a U-Haul tow dolly to give Hannah a break on driving home.  I reluctantly agreed to this.  While I have pulled U-Haul trailers many times, I was apprehensive about pulling Hannah’s car.  It would be the first time using a tow dolly, and I was afraid of damaging her vehicle.

The plan suggested by my wife had a few selling points.  The six of us could ride together and we could pack all of our luggage and belongings in Hannah’s vehicle.  There would be three adult drivers, so no one person would bear the responsibility of the long drive.  All three children would be together, and we’d have three adults to help them.  In spite of my apprehension, I agreed.

As is usual with U-Haul, the support and guidance were excellent.  The equipment was easy to use and we made the trip back to New Orleans safely and without incident.

In looking back at this episode, I learned a few things:

  • There is power in traditions.  The week in Tennessee with our family reminded me of a great tradition we had in my family growing up.  During our summer break, my parents would let each of the children spend a week with our grandparents one at a time.  I have many fond memories of time spent at my grandparents with my cousins.  These memories are still special to me.
  • It’s never too late to try new things.  I was 65 years old when I first towed another car and I survived!  In fact, the time with the family all together on a road trip was very special.
  • The first step to trying something new is usually the hardest step.  That first step can be intimidating if you are apprehensive.  Fear is a tricky thing.  I learned an acrostic about fear that has helped me face my fears.  FEAR is False Expectations Appearing Real.  While I routinely share this acrostic with others, I don’t always practice what I preach.  I’m trying to do better.
  • Always have a supportive network in place.  My wife and daughter were instrumental in helping me overcome my fears in this small endeavor.  Watching the three grandchildren enjoy their time together on our road trip validated this was the right thing to do, in spite of my fears.

How about you – when was the last time you tried something new and different?  Do you agree with me that the first step is usually the hardest?  What’s keeping you from taking the first step?

We are in the start of 2024.  This is usually the time for resolutions, behavior change, and goal setting.  What’s next for you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, comments, and feedback.  In the meantime, keep learning and trying new things!