New experiences can be revitalizing.
We get into routines. When we are still working, our weekends may be a little bit different than our weekdays, but they generally still follow a pattern.
When we go out, we generally go to restaurants we are familiar with. We get our groceries at the same store. We get hooked on a particular series on TV. All the routine and familiarity can be comforting. But trying new things can be revitalizing if you are open to the experience.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
This past weekend, I took a hot air balloon ride. I also helped inflate the balloon and pack it up once we landed. I had no idea how much work was involved in pre and post flight procedures. Once we got the balloon inflated and Steve, the pilot, was in the basket, he told me to climb in. I needed a little help getting in. Not quite as flexible as I once was.
And then we were aloft. It all happened so quickly once I was in the basket. Going from the ground to rising into the air was so gentle I almost was not aware that we were off the ground. Suddenly we were floating. The only noise was from the burner when hot air was blown into the balloon to gain altitude or keep us aloft. Other than that, it was so quiet and peaceful. We rose above the trees and houses and rivers. Some dogs barked as we passed overhead. They were disturbed by the sound of the burner. It was the peacefulness that I appreciated the most and the feeling of floating.
I learned that you cannot steer a hot air balloon. You fly where the wind currents take you. To land you must find a clearing that is large enough and far enough ahead of you so that you can descend gently and slowly. We were over trees, a forest of trees. I saw fields to our left, but that was not the way we were going. So we continued on. Eventually we say a large yard directly ahead, the kind of large yard you find in a rural setting. There were two houses on the property, a vegetable garden (which we didn’t see until we were almost on top of it), and a large clearing. We descended into the backyard and our chase vehicle found us.
A mother and her son, who lived in one of the houses, came out and were excited to see a hot air balloon in their backyard. As we deflated and packed up the balloon, Steve visited with the residents. Once everything was packed up, he shared a story with all of us about the first hot air balloon flights, which apparently originated in France. And, as we all know, champagne also originates in France, so we ended the balloon adventure by sharing a bottle of champagne with the crew, the mother and of course me, the passenger.
What else can be new?
I am so glad I had this experience. And this was a unique, new experience. But new experiences are available to us all the time. For instance, you can try a different grocery store this week. Notice how it is laid out differently. Are there items on the shelves that are new to you? Why not try one? Maybe there is something in the deli or bakery that you have never tried. Try it.
You could explore new roads in your area. Take a turn you have never taken. Is it a dirt road, a beautiful neighborhood, a new neighborhood? Maybe it takes you to another new road or to a park you did not even know was there. Open your eyes to what is around you. Open your ears to new sounds.
Plant some seeds and nurture them. Feel the excitement as they start to appear above the soil. Enjoy the evolution from seedling to plant.
Go apple picking. This is a great time of year for that, depending on where you live.
There is great comfort in routine. I love my morning routine of coffee, writing and reading. I have had the same morning routine for probably 30 years, and I value it and don’t want to change it.
And new experiences, even small ones, can be revitalizing when you approach them with awareness and appreciation for the experience. What are you going to do that is new this week?