On Trying New Things…

In the academic medicine world, every two weeks we have a lecture called “Grand Rounds,” which is usually when an expert on something comes to lecture the department on that…something.

One of our speakers last year specialized in surgical education.

Learning to operate is a rather humbling experience. After eight years spent in college and med school, you still go into a surgical residency being an absolute beginner, which can be very unsettling when you have a fancy degree behind your name and feel like a fool and a fake.

Bright-eyed, matched, newly minted MD with no idea how to even sew two towels together...

Bright-eyed, matched, newly minted MD with no idea how to even sew two towels together…

After some time and a few hundred C-sections (if you’re in OB/GYN), certain things start to become second nature and you forgot how you never knew how to load a needle, call for an instrument at a certain step, or throw a stitch.

To be a better teacher, the speaker said she tried one new activity every year that she was a complete beginner at so she could remember how humbling and scary it could be. Waterskiing, improv class, stand up comedy, dance… her list went on and on.

Even though I’m still very much a beginner at many things surgically related, I thought this was a great idea.

Fortunately, there are 500 new things  you could try in NYC on any given day, especially if you’re into exercise. So, I’ve given a few new things “a go,” some of which were rather scary for me, and some of which weren’t.

Trying new things has been pleasantly uncomfortable and empowering at the same time.

Here’s what the were and why you should try something new, too!

YOGA: 

I’ve written previously on my experiences with yoga and how I’m sort of turning a corner with the whole yoga “thing.”

I don’t go regularly so I’d still consider yoga “new” to me. I’ve hit the mat maybe 5 times this year, besting last year’s record of one class.

Yoga was scary for me for two specific reasons.

First, it has become very apparent that I am not good at relaxing or sitting still. I either like to be in a constant state of motion/doing or asleep. Call it adult onset ADHD, fear of complacency or my own thoughts, or just a case of the typical New Yorker mentality, but it makes me uncomfortable to not be doing something.

One reason why I didn’t like yoga in the past was that it might force me to stop for a second and NOT do something. And, what if I didn’t like what I was thinking or feeling while I was NOT doing? THE HORROR. And, then I’d be trapped in a class of other people who enjoyed not doing and just being with no escape.

Second, I have a hard time at letting go of the “I’m good at this, bad at that” mentality. And, truthfully, I’m not good at yoga. I can’t do side crow or go into a handstand without kicking like a gymnast.  I know that every yogi reading this is thinking, “its a practice- no good and bad!” I’m too results oriented and focused on getting “X” right. It is going to take a lot of yoga and maybe a small exorcism to release my inner competitive, self judging self into a yoga mindset. Maybe a trip to the South of France, too, if someone out there would conveniently like to pay for that…

Standing on one's head…doctor approved! Don't ask to see anything else…its not pretty.

Standing on one’s head…doctor approved! Don’t ask to see anything else…its not pretty.

Fortunately, I’ve found yoga that is a bit more playful and fun (thanks to Bethany, Lyon’s Den, and Jessica), and I actually like it and, even more shocking, look forward to it. I know, its weird for me, too, to say that.

The best part about giving yoga a try (again) was actually learning the above things about myself and that it is ok to not be good at something as long as you’re still enthusiastic and working toward that certain something.

Moving on…

BOXING: 

To be fair, “boxing” for me did not mean actually boxing someone. I will not be entering a fight anytime soon. That is, truly, terrifying.

Boxing – meaning that not directed at another person but rather shadowboxing or on a bag – is quite the fitness trend lately. Being the fitness class enthusiast that I am, I wanted to give it a try.

I’ve tried Overthrow, Mendez Boxing, and Shadowbox, my favorites being Mendez (for the legit boxing gym experience) and Shadowbox (for the group fitness class experience).

Boom boom…pow!

Boom boom…pow!

My general take on any fitness class that I haven’t tried is that nothing bad can actually happen to you in a group fitness class. So, why not give it a go?

I'm going to Shadowbox tmw at 8pm -- who wants to join?!

I’m going to Shadowbox tmw at 8pm — who wants to join?!

Boxing is, actually, really fun. Like any fitness class, it can be as hard or as easy as you want it to be and my entire body has never felt as sore as it did after boxing the first few times. But, there’s something very cathartic about hitting a 140 lb bag no matter how technically correct your jabs or crosses are.

Just kidding…I've been boxing since 1990.

Just kidding…I’ve been boxing since 1990.

Boxing is empowering; it helps you realize your own strength and toughness. Its helped me walk a little taller and feel more confident.

If you’re tired of spin or bootcamp, give this one a go.

It’s a damn good workout, too. Giselle is on to something. I will what I want, too!

[PS: My all-time favorite boxing workout is with Jaws at Shadowbox — check it out! She even has a FREE event at Athleta this Sunday. I’ll be working. Go for me!]

BURLESQUE DANCING:

This one I could’ve used an Ativan for prior to going.

Going to a dance class for me is somewhat intimidating because I haven’t danced since I was eight. That’s a 21 year leave of absence if anyone is counting.

But, I always liked dance (and gymnastics, natch). I bug Jaws to teach me dance all the time (sorry, dude). I love learning choreography because its a bit like a game to me (i.e. the “How fast can you pick it up and memorize it?” game.) I will not divulge the number of times I’ve spent trying to learn different dances on YouTube.

Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 6.38.01 PM

Toddlers and Tiaras? Nope, just a dance recital in Alabama. #grandsupreme

Toddlers and Tiaras? Nope, just a dance recital in Alabama. #grandsupreme

Burlesque dancing, however….

Well, let’s just say the nuns in the Sister Act can shake it more than I can.

It appears even at 29 years old, I have not yet rid myself of the “omg, is everyone looking at me” adolescent mentality.

This was the most uncomfortable and, therefore, probably most important thing I did of the three. I had to pretend a little bit to be something that I’m not (I’d be a terrible actress). I had to push myself out of my comfort zone. I had to, again, be ok with not being so good at what I was doing, but trying my best anyways.

In the end, I actually had a lot of fun and gave the left shark a really good run for his or her money. I’d 100% do this again. (And, a big thanks to Mallory for being so patient and encouraging.) No matter reserved or uncoordinated you are, try dance.

Giving the left shark a run for his money. @mmmallory #fishoutofwater

A video posted by Meggie (@mbsthinks) on Jun 26, 2015 at 6:40pm PDT

——————————

The best part about all of this has been learning how adaptable I can be (if I want to), how you can teach an old dog new tricks (with some limitations), and pushing my the limits of my comfort zone to realize that, truly, there are no limits unless you set them.

Pleasantly uncomfortable and empowering.

Go try something new!

TELL ME: SOMETHING NEW YOU’VE TRIED IN THE LAST 6 MONTHS – WHY YOU DID IT AND HOW YOU LIKED IT. 

[And, if you’re really digging around for something new — come box tomorrow – 8 pm at Shadowbox. I’ll be there!]

Until next time…

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2 thoughts on “On Trying New Things…

  1. I used to be terrified of group exercise classes. Spin I could handle, but beyond that I hated the idea of being uncoordinated, wrong or just looking foolish. Now I love them! Within the last few months I’ve taken Barre classes, boxing class and more yoga classes then I’ve ever done in my life. Do I still look foolish? Yes, but I’ve decided to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Like yesterday I took a spin class that required more dancing than I’ve ever done on a bike and despite my clear lack of coordination, I had a great time!

    I also recently joined a run group which has been a huge “try new thing” for me. I am usually very shy so jumping into a group of new people made me quite anxious. Now I look forward to those weekly runs as it pushes me physically to run with the faster girls and emotionally to get out of my shell.

    P.S. Sorry for the super long comment!

    P.P.S. I am always so happy when I see a new post from you!

  2. I love the idea of trying new things to remind yourself what it’s like to be a beginner. It’s so easy to forgot what you were like even a few short years ago and how far you’ve come – but starting is never easy and be quite terrifying! (Or adorable – we have a brand new intern who is adorably new.) I’m mostly scared to take group fitness classes because I’m so uncoordinated – hence why I run (and sometimes trip over my own two feet). But I did see a girl boxing in Riverside Park today, and it looked pretty cool…

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