I’ve been passionate about trying to stay interesting so I don’t devolve into some strange old woman with 57 adopted dogs and a deathly fear of walking out to retrieve the mail. Lately. For maybe another month or two based on previous passions. Gosh, I love doggies. 57 dogs, wheee!
I stumbled upon a blog with a “get out there and do it!” theme: Seize the Day! by Kirstie, who also had a shocking reason FOR getting out there and doing interesting things – the death of a friend.
So, to inspire even more people to get out there and (cue cool echo effect:) Be More Interesting, I thought I’d interview Kirstie, who also offers some good insights on blogging in general.
What made you want to learn a new skill every month?
I was inspired by the life of my friend, Ryan. Ryan was one of the coolest, most interesting people I’ve ever known. Last summer, there was a group of us floating down the river in tubes. Ryan jumped in to cool off and never resurfaced. At his funeral, there were so many pictures and videos of all of Ryan’s experiences – surfing, ice fishing, unicycling, quading, scuba diving, skateboarding – this guy tried it all! The minister encouraged us to take Ryan’s life and use it to inspire our own. At that moment, I decided to create a blog where I would document myself trying a new skill every month. I decided to go total cliche and call it “seize the day.”
How many new skills did you learn and what were they?
Sept: learned how to longboard – and landed a trick with our local TV station present (news was slooooow that day) I loved it and as soon as my knee heals, I will be out on my longboard again. It was also one of my favourites because I met a new friend – my long boarding instructor, Randy. He’s a super cool guy who reminds me a lot of Ryan (He says things like, “Rad!”) It was my first month after Ryan’s death and those hours riding on the path with Randy were therapeutic. I was struggling with the memories of that day on the river and longboarding was the perfect distraction, yet made me feel closer to Ryan.
Oct: learned how to play Pearl Jam on the flute – my elementary school band teacher said that it couldn’t be done. He was right.
Nov: Learned Spanish. Fantastico!
Dec: Grandma taught me how to crochet. I made a blanket for my best friend’s baby (definitely the MOST challenging – I’m all thumbs!)
Jan: Learned how to dogsled – so Canadian!
Feb: “Face my fears” month: scuba dived with sharks, played goalie for the local hockey team, and taught a CrossFit kids class (I’m terrified of large groups of small children)
March: Took wake surfing lessons with the world wake surfing champion, Drew Danielo, in Florida
April: Car maintenance month – total bust. My car is still a disaster
May: Became a domestic goddess with the help of my Ukrainian Baba – learned how to make ukrainian meals, clean my house, and keep my hubby happy
June: grow knee cartilage whilst pinteresting (post knee surgery)
July: Learning how to meditate month – cleansing my chakras or something like that
Wait, did you really learn spanish in a month? Because if you did I think I’m going to kill myself. I’ve been trying for like 20 years.
Ha! No, I’m certainly not fluent in Spanish; however, I am able to awkwardly string together short phrases to say something completely functional like, “The sink is in the bathroom.”
What did you plan that you haven’t done yet?
I wanted to learn how to ride a unicycle because Ryan loved his unicycle (who the h rides a unicycle???) He used to ride it around our neighbourhood in a red speedo, cracking up the neighbourhood. I also wanted to learn how to sail; unfortunately, I had knee surgery and won’t be mobile for another few months.
You adventures were a bit stalled by an injury what happened to your knee?
I wish I had an incredibly riveting story (my chute didn’t open during a skydive!) I don’t. There wasn’t a specific event that caused my injury. The surgeon thought I had a torn meniscus, which is a quick fix, but when they scoped my knee, they found that all my hard cartilage was torn (my crap cartilage couldn’t keep up with my active lifestyle). They performed micro fracture surgery in which they break the bone in 3 places to promote new cartilage growth. I was awake (and stoned) for the entire procedure and even asked my orthopaedic surgeon to give me a pedicure during my surgery (I thought I was hilarious!) Recovery involves 8 weeks of non-weightbearing followed by months of physiotherapy. It’s definitely taken the wind out of my sails (literally, I was supposed to learn how to sail this month!) And my crutches are complete and total assholes.
Why did you use “h” for hell but then go ahead and spell out “assholes?”
I had no idea that I did that. I think sometimes I picture different people reading my blog (like my grandma) and in that moment I make an executive decision to censor the swearing a bit. (is “hell” even a swear?) Also, it just occurred to me that I write just the way I speak – I always say “H” like, “What the H is that?” but I call people “assholes” all the time.
Was it all worth it?
You bet! What a life changing year! Ryan would have thought it was awesome. I’m pretty sure he’s cheering me on from his unicycle! I’ve met some great new friends, spent time learning from the people I care about most, and have had a blast doing it. I’ve also really enjoyed writing and sharing my writing with others. I think I’m pretty funny and it’s so reinforcing to hear that others are laughing, learning, and identifying with my experiences.
Do you feel more interesting?
Yup! I have always been fascinated by the human brain. I work with brain injured patients and am always blown away by how “plastic” the brain is. We are capable of producing new pathways in our brain. Why would we not take advantage of that? When we continually do the same things day in and day out, the brain doesn’t change – it’s comprised of the same old boring neural pathways. Who wants a lame brain? Learn new things – create new neural pathways. How could that not make you more interesting?
Now that I’m well into my 30′s, I hear so many people my age complain, “I’m too old to try that.” Bullshit. This is it. This is your life. Make it happen. Do it now. Wow, I sound like one of those kooky motivational speakers. But someday, I will look back on this year and exclaim, “I did that!” I’m pretty proud of what I accomplished…and in memory of a friend I will never forget.