By Kiley Peters. It's human nature to enjoy routine. It makes things easier when you can know what to expect next, but that's no way to really live your life. You have to step outside your comfort zone to really embrace all the adventures life has to offer and experience new things.
I say this as a person who appreciates lists and clear expectations, but also as someone who is ready to dive into a new chance for exploration and get my hands dirty - quite literally. For the last few years, I've been involved in the Chicago comedy community and the first rule of improvisation is "yes, and." Meaning, you accept everything as is and then add to it. Hello people, this is what we should be doing in life! Every day, we should say "yes" to this day "and" I will be contributing in some fashion. It makes for such a full and rewarding journey and leads you to experience things and meet people you probably never would have.
Life only happens once and one of the saddest things I can imagine for a person is to look back on their life - at whatever age - and realize they have regrets or wish they had done something they didn't. Mark Twain once said:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
A friend shared this quote with me my freshman year of college and since then, I have done my best -- within my own means -- to embrace it and I really don't have any regrets. It's a wonderful thing. I bring this up now, because this past weekend my sister, my favorite person in the world, and I took our first ever "sister vacation" to New Orleans. It was a blast and also full of a number of adventures and first time (and maybe only time) activities. So I am using this experience as leverage to encourage all Honey Good readers to refuse to settle and to always want more out of life. No matter your age, it is never too late to start because time doesn't stop or stall, it keeps on going!
To give you a bit of perspective, here are some of the key happenings and wonderful life experiences we journeyed through in our NOLA adventure:
- Airbnb. This was my first time using Airbnb and it was just fine, but an experience nonetheless. For four days, we lived with an artist, an Englishman and a dog that looked like a wombat down a rather sketchy street with no screens on the windows, but bars instead. Have no fear, we were just fine and the pull-out futons we slept on were actually rather comfortable.
- Bikes. Thanks to our host, we were able to rent her bikes and we biked all throughout New Orleans. We covered more ground than we could have in any other mode of transportation and really got the opportunity to take in all the beauty of the city and find fun little hidden gems that we would never have stumbled upon in any other way.
- NOLA St. Patty's parade. This is the picture you see above. I live in Chicago and I've never seen a St. Patty's parade like this. They throw out full cabbages, large carrots, potatoes, ramen noodles and beads (of course they throw out beads - it's New Orleans). The idea is you can take home enough from the parade to go back and make Irish Stew. But there's a real chance for injury when you have a full cabbage throw at you from a 10 foot-high float. So keep your eyes up and be alert!
- Crawfish boil. For those of you not from the south or a coast of any kind (what up Wisconsin) this is not a common occurrence. But due to a friend of my sister's, we were invited to an authentic southern crawfish boil and it was such a blast. I'm not a huge seafood eater, but I got in there, mutilated and pulled apart shrimp, crab and crawfish, got all kinds of juices all over me and had a great time! Darren Criss (Blaine from Glee) even showed up, so we bumped elbows and decapitated shrimp with him too. All in a Sunday evening on the bayou.
- Bourbon Street. Things we learned from observation on Bourbon Street: don't do drugs, don't get so drunk you can't walk or hold onto your own possessions, hand grenade drinks are for tourists, wear clothes that fit and cover your body in public and only drink Hurricanes if you're ready to party.
- New friends. We met people everywhere and everyone was so friendly. We met people from Alabama, Kansas, Texas, Chicago, Wisconsin, England, Los Angeles, North Carolina, California, New Orleans - all over the place. We had great conversations with all of them! Meet new people, it's a beautiful way to expand your life.
All in all, the moral of this story is: experience life. Step outside your comfort zone. Stop making excuses, you're only hurting yourself. Get out there, go do something weird or silly and see what happens, you'll never know unless you try.
And if you show up at a crawfish boil: suck the head and pinch the tail. You'll be a pro.