Neophobe turned Neophile
At the beginning of 2013 I started this journey with a mission to try something new every week for a year. The first half of the year I was able to stick with my goal. But then I moved, started a new job, and got preoccupied with other things. Although I missed a few weeks, I still feel like the year was a success and I tried well over 52 new things this year. I tried things I thought I would be too scared to even consider doing and I discovered a need for adventure I never knew I had. In addition to the adventures I posted about, I also baked a pumpkin pie from scratch (starting with an actual pumpkin), toured an observatory, attended my first NFL game (I’ve been to four now), had poker night (I broke even), joined a trivia team (making wonderful friends in the process), and a few other things that I can’t really remember at the moment.

I will begin this adventure again in 2014. Readers’ comments on this blog made me realize how valuable of an experience it has been and that it is not an experience I should neglect.

Things I Have Learned
1.     Say Yes. You never know what you really like until you try it and you won’t have any great life experiences while sitting at home on the couch watching TV. I have learned so much about myself and have had a great deal of fun just by saying “yes” to invitations to go out and do things I would not normally want to do. I know it can be painful to break out of your comfort zone, but 90% of the work is just walking out the front door.
2.    It’s OK to say No. Yes, I know this is counter to what I just said. About 3 months into this project I started to get overwhelmed by all the New Things and trying to manage all of my social engagements. I felt as though I had to say “yes” to everything otherwise I would be missing out. I learned that I had to balance my project and seeing my friends with alone time and other priorities. The world was not going to end if I sat an event out, but I had to make sure I was sitting something out for the right reasons.
3.    Your friends are your friends for a reason; spend time with them. One thing I have done over the past year is make great new friendships that I will cherish for a lifetime. Many of these friendships developed because we went out and had new adventures together. The past year has taught me to value the wonderful people I have in my life and to spend as much time with them as possible.
4.    I don’t suck at everything I thought I did. I was really certain that this entire experience would be an absolute failure. That I would be terrible at everything I attempted and that I would be too embarrassed to write about it. But I have found out that while I am not the worlds next great artist or an expert rock climber, that I am “OK” and that is good enough for me.
5.    There are some things I will always suck at. See belly dancing.
6.    The best way to conquer your fears is to forget that you have any. OK, I know that is easily said than done, but if I can get over my fear of heights and go skydiving and hang gliding, then you can do it too. I still really hate height and airplanes (especially airplanes) but I don’t plan to let those fears stand in the way of my plans.
7.    Life is funny. Have a sense of humor about it, including especially your failures.
8.    Write like nobody is reading. I realized that if I was going to do a blog I had to let go of what other people would think of what I had to say. This was for me, and nobody else. (But I really love that you guys seem to like it too.)
9.    People love goats. Two of the most viewed photos on my posts are pictures of goats. You guys are weird.

These are a Few of my Favorite Things
A lot of people ask what my favorite New Thing has been. It is really hard to pick just one, because they all are special memories, but I think my top 5 (in no particular order) are the cross-country road trip, hang gliding, kayaking, running my first 5K and the haunted woods/corn maze.

Thank You
Thank you to everyone who follows this blog and who has encouraged me to keep posting about my adventures. I’ve had visitors from a staggering 112 countries! I’d love to continue to fill up the map (I’m looking at you Greenland).

Blog Map
A very special thank you to all of my friends who have joined me on my adventures, to those who pushed me to try new things, and to Instapundit and Stuff Jewish Girls Like for sharing my blog with their followers. I hope you will continue to follow the blog and join me in my adventures in 2014.