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.
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!
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…
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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…