Today is my birthday.
In anticipation of this day, my wife, Jennifer, asked what I wanted to do this past Saturday to commemorate it. She started asking me weeks ago.
You probably have no idea that I hate that question. Yes, I get up to speak in front of audiences large and small for a living, but, when it comes to my birthday, I’ve never been particularly comfortable being the center of attention.
I’d actually rather go and do what she’d like to do for my birthday. Of course, it doesn’t work that way, and she kept pressing me for an answer.
In trying to come up with something, I realized that I’ve been in a rut lately. The only places I came up with were places we’ve been countless times.
Do you ever find yourself in that position? Do you find yourself kind of bored with the things you do? Is it because you get in a rut and tend to do the same things over and over?
Life can get a bit stale that way. Same fast food, same restaurants, same bars, same hobbies, same patterns, same habits, over and over.
It’s so easy to slip into it. Life is challenging enough without having to find the energy to do something different. But variety is the spice of life, right?
I finally decided that I wanted to do some things I’ve never done or go some places I’ve never been. I didn’t care if they were big or small, exciting or just ordinary.
And I didn’t care what they were or if the outing turned out to be successful or not. I just wanted to do something different.
So, for lunch on Saturday, we went to P. Terry’s, a hamburger chain here in Austin. Sounds glamorous, right? I’d never been and I had passed it a thousand times promising myself I’d have to stop in sometime. And I could get a hamburger for $2.35. Nothing to lose, really.
Now I have that experience and know what a P. Terry’s double cheeseburger with pickles and bacon tastes like.
After that, we went to the Texas Museum of Science and Technology in Cedar Park, just north of Austin. They had on display the Body Worlds exhibit, that slightly creepy but fascinating look inside bodies that had been donated to science. It’s been touring the country for years and years.
I had opportunities to see it, in Houston, Chicago, and New York, and I just never did it. You know why? I was stuck in my rut of doing the same things over and over and not venturing even a little bit past my usual habits.
So we went. And it was great. It’s a thought-provoking exhibit that got me out of my rut and intrigued once again about anatomy and physiology.
To end the day, Jenn and I went to an Italian restaurant I had been wanting to go to. While our ambitions were high for overdoing it, we just had appetizers and drinks. I learned about marcona almonds (which are delicious) and tried sundried butter.
That may not sound like much of a day, but it was the perfect birthday. I got to spend time with my lovely wife and remind myself that everything new lies just outside my comfort zone.
I made two promises to myself on Saturday. First, from now on, every birthday will be spent doing something I’ve never done before, regardless of how big or small, special or ordinary. Second, between birthdays I’ll remember to do something different, outside of my habits, whenever possible.
If you find yourself in a rut these days, do something different.
Get the Nerve!