In Be Happier, For Dream Chasers

Around this time of year I gradually slide into a colossal slump. I blame it mostly on the weather. Today’s sky is the color of wet newspaper and there’s an on-again off-again drizzle that’s chilled me to the core. It’s dark when I wake up, it’s dark when I leave work and it’s officially too cold to do much of anything outside. And I love to be outside.

In addition to provoking a certain amount of self-loathing (why, oh why, have I never moved away from this cold, dark place?), this time of year also inspires a certain amount of cookie-making – and a certain amount of gym disobedience – the effect of which, when combined, is not pleasing.

Needless to say, this year I am desperate for a way to fight off the impending slump. So far I’ve learned that wine and chocolate chip brownies with a high brownie-to-icing ratio are, to my great disappointment, not the solution.

So what is?

Surprisingly, Kenyan food.

Yes, you heard right. Kenyan food.

Ok, it’s not actually the Kenyan food that’s the solution – although it was mighty good – it was the simple fact that I broke out of my normal routine and tried something new. A few weeks ago, when my sister and her boyfriend came to visit, the four of us decided that we felt adventurous, so we wandered into a little Kenyan restaurant that just opened in my town and ordered up platefuls of food none of us had never heard of. I’ll admit, I was reluctant at first, but when I bit into the Bhajjia and the foreign flavors hit my tongue, I had a revelation: I need to try new things more often.

The irony is, when I’m traveling, I LOVE trying new things. I talk to strangers, dance in public and seek out exotic local fare. But when I’m at home that adventurous spirit apparently remains packed away with my suitcase.

This, I decided, must change. Immediately.

And it has. Since my Kenyan food revelation, we’ve done a number of new things: we took part in our local wine trail’s Noveau Weekend and got to sample some of the brand new 2010 vintages; we ate at a new Indian restaurant that recently opened nearby; we slow-cooked a new split pea soup recipe rather than our usual minestrone or chicken noodle; we started assembling a 1,000 piece puzzle (I know, I know. A puzzle? Really? Yes, really. It’s oddly addicting.); and we’ve been learning about the peaceful philosophies of Buddhism.

All of these new tastes, new smells, new scenery, and new people have awakened me to the fact that I’ve been sleepwalking through my life lately. These new experiences have made me realize that even though I’m not traveling at the moment, that doesn’t mean that my adventurous spirit doesn’t have a place in my day-to-day life.

Have you tried something new recently? Please share!

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  • Suzanne

    What an inspiring post! And a great reminder of how important it is to try new things. I’m going to give this some thought and come up with new things I can try around here.

    • Erika Liodice

      Thanks, Suzanne. All these new things have certainly added a new energy to my life. It’s…refreshing.

      I look forward to hearing what you come up with!

  • S.B.

    I have recently tried to reduce my focus on achieving long term goals and shifted it to enjoying the little things…music, excercise, time with loved ones, etc. Dreams can be a great source of inspiration but they can also blind you from the joys of life.

    So far so good.

    • Erika Liodice

      Good point, SB. The little things are important part of the journey!


  • Linda

    Ethiopian food. We had a little Ethiopian restaurant open in our town, so we tried it out. It was very good. And, snowshoeing. That was new for me. I love it now.

    • Erika Liodice

      What a coincidence! My sister was just telling me how wonderful Ethiopian food is and I’ve been dying to try it ever since!

      Have not tried snowshoeing, but I am interested in trying cross-country skiing one of these winters.

      Thanks for sharing your new things, Linda!

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