The transition into the second half of the year acts as the perfect opportunity for review. A one-on-oneself, if you will. During my own, one question persistently reoccurred: Am I making headway on my only resolution of the year and enjoying more experiences?
Throughout 2019 I’ve tried to actively push myself to experience more. I’ve completed no bucket-list-style tick box, there’s no movie-style collage of me jumping out of aeroplanes. It’s not as dramatic as that, but I feel as though I’ve been succeeding.
‘LIFE BEGINS OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE’
On the few occasions I’ve shared my feelings of low self-confidence with friends, it’s been met with (seemingly genuine) surprise. I remember the shock of being nominated as ‘most independent’ during a conversation at work a few years ago. It taught me the importance of perception and also had me questioning the very construct of confidence.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that pushing myself out of my comfort zone has helped to grow my confidence. Fighting my usual default to run a mile (figuratively, of course, I’m no athlete) and saying yes instead. Not only experiencing, but enjoying new things.
Comfort zones are safe havens but they protect and police us in alternating measures. I visualise my own as a dartboard, bullseye is, of course, peak comfort: On the sofa with my partner and cat. The further I travel from the middle, the less comfortable I am. It’s important also, to appreciate that everyone’s comfort zones are different. There are people far more adventurous than I who would scoff at the simplicity of what I’m actively pushing myself to do.
Finding a balance is key though because let’s face it, a weekend on the sofa is great, but a lifetime? No thanks.
ENJOYING NEW EXPERIENCES
There seems to be a relatively common misconception that change must be all-consuming. The changes I’ve made are small, very possibly unnoticeable to others, but important to me and my growth as a person. I’ve simply been taking baby steps outside of my comfort zone, one foot in front of the other.
As someone whose mother passionately shoved me into new experiences and lessons (from dance to swimming, to horse-riding), it was the realisation that as an adult, I’m not doing enough to encourage my own growth, that coaxed me into thinking more seriously about new experiences.
A DAY AT THE RACES
I recently had the honour of attending the annual Moët & Chandon July Festival as a guest of Newmarket Races, ‘The Home of Horseracing‘. We were gifted tickets to their Champions lawn where we enjoyed a ‘Great British Picnic’, lost and won a few bets and enjoyed both the (intermittent) sunshine and each others company. What really made the day enjoyable though, was that it was a shiny new experience. Neither of us had visited before and we welcomed the change of scene.
Holding a misconception that the races aren’t attended by diverse crowds, I was slightly worried that I wouldn’t ‘fit in’. Like most of the things I worry about, I needn’t have. Although Newmarket’s website does feature a dress code, we found that dressing up was definitely part of the fun. Jamie even entered their Style Awards.
Attending as a couple was fun but we’d be interested in attending again with family or friends. There’s free entry for under 18’s too so it makes for a perfect family day without breaking the bank. Although prepare to pay top sterling for food and drinks, a small Pimms was £7.40.
Newmarket Races host themed events throughout the year, including their upcoming Gin and Fizz and Peaky Blinders Racedays. We will be heading back, but until then, what other experiences would you recommend?
* This post discusses gifted experiences. As always, all words, images and opinions are my own. Please read my full disclaimer for more information.