2018 Life in Review: My Year of Trying New Things

19 January 2019

Hello and welcome back friends!

As mentioned in a previous post, I made it my mission to do something new every month of 2018. I really wanted to embark on this journey as a way to expand my experiences, and learn a little more about my own capabilities. It was wonderful! I truly recommend it to everyone. 

Now, just doing one new thing a month only once will NOT mean you're mastering a new skill, but by the end of the year you have learned how to be PERFECTLY CONTENT with not knowing everything/being perfect on the first try. And let me tell you.. learning how to laugh at yourself is truly a gift. Life is too short to be stressing the small stuff!

So without further ado, here were all of my new experiences:

   I learned my slim body, bendy hips and lower body strength was such an asset to bouldering. I had a great time, and I hope to do it again this year. Maybe more regularly? Who knows! But if I hadn't done this, I would have never found out that I am naturally inclined to climb and I find great joy in finishing each set (the colors are coordinated by difficulty up the scaling wall). 
   Also a new experience I had was the importance of a motivating teacher during physical activities. I joined a workshop for the first hour before my boyfriend and I broke off on our own, and my instructor kept pushing me to reach higher and jump UP the wall. I was terrified but still did them, reaching goals I DID NOT IMAGINE I COULD DO IN ONE DAY. What!??

I had never done a professional one in my life, and it was eye-opening. I cannot believe how much tension I had in my neck, and how much better I felt afterwards. I have to make this a regular occurrence.

Acrylic Painting
I bought a large canvas and acrylic paints, then went to work on an abstract painting. I loved it, and this spurred my jump into sketching and trying out other types of paints. I currently have a line figure drown out on my easel waiting to be painted.
   I had never done this before (duh), but the closest I had was rollerblading as a kid. How hard could it be, right? WRONG.
    Dear Lord, I thought I was going to die, or trip over a small child and give them a huge concussion. I was like a wobbly chicken, and I had such a hard time with how heavy the skates were. I definitely won't be doing this again. My butt hurt from falling, and I had huge bruises on my wrist. Everything was too fast, and I couldn't figure out how to 'break'. Thanks, but no thanks! I have a MASSIVE appreciation for those roller derby teams. DAMN. What a learning experience!

New Orleans
I did a post about my trip here. It was one of the most pleasant surprises...ever. I loved the city, and I cannot wait to visit again. Live music everywhere, bright colors and friendly faces!

Arroz de Marisco - I made a Portuguese traditional seafood dish for the first time. It tasted great, and like all experiences with cooking, there is so much learning. Future hack for those of you putting clams and mussels in these dishes, you have to leave only a few with the shells in there, and pull out the 'meat' from the rest, or else the rice gets all scooped into the shells and disappears. Haha!

Watercolor painting
This was so much harder for me than painting with acrylics. Building-up the color and figuring out how to blend was very tricky. I enjoyed this!

Made bread for the first time following a focaccia recipe. Another experience where I discovered it's easier than it looks, and it's something worth doing at home. The taste of fresh, warm bread CANNOT BE BEAT. Everyone should do this at least once!

This was a big, transitional month for me. I got into doing yoga regularly, and found the mental and physical rewards amazing. This has now become a regular part of my life, and I even do it at home VOLUNTARILY if I can't make it to class. Life-changing.

International physician
I also worked as a doctor in Canada for the first time, and learned how to dictate notes and navigate their system. An amazing experience, and I got to spend a lot of time with my family! The learning was intense but incredible. 

This might sound like a small win, but I really dislike driving long distances -especially alone- because I have a tendency to fall asleep. In 2017, I got 5-7 hr drives done on my own (huge personal fear I overcame), but I did them without stopping, because I wanted to get home ASAP and ward off highway hypnosis. This year was the first time I forced myself to take a break, eat and stretch on my solo drive. A little self-care on a long journey.

Oh, and I pierced the second hole in my ears. It's way more fun to accessorize now, but let it be known it takes FOREVER to heal. The lobes were sore and leaking for a hot second there. But once again, the thought running through my mind was, "why did I wait this long?".

Tiny Plane Trip
  This was an unintentional first of my life. On one of my rheumatology fellowship interviews, I took a connecting flight that required a tiny propeller plane (it looked like this). There were only 10 of us on board, you couldn't stand up because it's so small/no washrooms, 2/10 people were the pilots up front. I sat in the last row (2 people per row) and I could spread my arms across and touch both sides of the plane. I am a petite girl, my friends. The pilots would turn around and chat with us, and I could see their control boards from my back row. I remember my heart dropping when I walked onto the tarmac. They had to load our luggage into the nose of the little plane, and my purse went into the left wing compartment. I LOVE FLYING, but this took it a little too far for me. I learned my limits. I will fly in any plane that is not smaller than 100 ppl and at least has a restroom. That's it. 
   Silver lining? There is always one in life: I had a beautiful view of the hills, lakes and nature of north east USA while it was still in its lush, summer glory.

I presented at the ACR for the first time ever, and had a fantastic experience. I cannot wait to go again as a fellow and absorb all the teaching!

Medieval Times
I KNOW YOU GUYS. I AM BEHIND. I totally loved it! The food wasn't half-bad either!

I tried making candles. Emphasis on tried. It is SO MUCH HARDER than it looks. The temperature has to be correct, you need to be careful with wick placement. I saw first hand the difference between a clean 'burn' and a chemical-filled one. I nearly smoked myself out of the apartment! The first candle I did... after burning it for 15 minutes, exploded the entire glass holder. What a fail! (But I am trying again this winter, because I don't take failure as an option when it comes to candles.)

One of my new things this year was trying to apply (and get) a rheumatology fellowship back home in Canada. The process started in August 2017, but it came to fruition this month. I matched back home for the subspecialty training of my dreams! I am so excited to finally be close to all of my family and friends, and be able to lay down my roots and start my journey to be the best rheumie I can be! The program starts July 2019, and I graduate from internal medicine residency at the end of June 2019. SO PUMPED!

Took BARRE for the first time, and officially converted. I have added it to my weekly arsenal of classes. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. Also, my instructor is total beast mode and I love her.

Such a good year! I may have missed some other monthly firsts, but you get the gist. Starting this challenge just snowballed me into trying several of other new things. I have decided to continue this habit for 2019, and started off the year ice skating. It was incredibly funnnn! Hadn't been on the ice for 17 years.  ☺☺☺

What are your big plans for 2019? 


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