Mountain Thoughts: The Importance of Trying New Things

When Was the Last Time You Tried Something For the First Time?

There were a lot of things I expected to do before my 35th birthday. Learning to surf was not one of them. It all sounded a bit absurd (and a little cliche). But somehow, two months before my birthday, that’s exactly what I was doing.

When my husband and I decided to travel to Costa Rica, we knew that we didn’t want to follow the typical tourist circuit. We wanted to do something different (for us) and he found a surf camp nestled on the Pacific coast that sounded perfect. Each day, the agenda looked something like this: 2 surf lessons, surf theory class, yoga, healthy meals. Repeat five times.

Just after dawn on the first morning, I stood at the edge of the water, the waves lapping against my toes and pulling them deeper and deeper into the sand. How hard could this be?

Sunrise_Beach

 

I was completely overwhelmed and humbled by the ocean that first day. Wading out and battling the whitewater while trying to wrangle a 9-foot board with my body, arms and legs left me with bruises on my legs and a few deeper ones on my ego. It wasn’t pretty. I was ready to retreat to the beach and watch my husband and the other guests for the rest of the week.

But each day, my coach taught me something new that helped me break down the mechanics of this new sport. And little by little, I began to understand the movement, breath and waves.

I expected just to have fun on this trip, maybe get a tan and hang out on the beach. I completely underestimated the power of learning something completely new. Learning to surf called upon so many skills that I wasn’t familiar with…and in a foreign environment, one that I could not control.

The combination of physical and mental concentration and strength, not to mention fear, forced me to fully inhabit my body and mind. It made me feel alive. And happy.

It’s so rare that we get to learn and experience something utterly new as an adult. We can research things, watch videos, search for photos on Instagram, and read blog posts until there’s no mystery left and we know exactly what to expect.

I came home from our trip looking for other opportunities to try new things and to be uncomfortable because I realized the reward is often so great.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Christine Yu

Christine is a freelance writer, yoga teacher, runner and wannabe surfer. She shares stories about life, fitness and wellness on her blog Love, Life, Surf (yes, she started a blog after falling hard in love with surfing in Costa Rica!) and inspires others to embrace their choices to be happy and healthy. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.