Happiness Project: Novelty is the Spice of Life

I’m kind of jumping around my happiness project a little bit, but I learned something yesterday that I just had to share!  (Note: if you haven’t read my earlier happiness project post detailing the whole shebang, click here: http://wp.me/p2ypFx-3v)  Gretchen’s third chapter details happiness at work, which came at a fitting time for me, given all my post-audition angst.  I’ll work harder on many of the aspects later in my project, but one thing really stuck with me: Happiness doesn’t come from sticking to the same old routine.  Happiness comes from novelty, from having new experiences that move you, scare you, and generally make you feel something.  Sometimes I get so stuck in the same old rut (hey! I like it! It’s comfy here!) that I forget I need to do something that freaks me out a little.

So today, I did somersaults. 

For some reason, they absolutely terrify me.  In theory, it’s so simple: head on the ground, kick your legs over, gently roll, and poof! Somersault!  But I’ve always been freaked out my neck is going to snap, or I’m going to crunch my back weird…my mother and I once had a two-hour screaming match in middle school because I absolutely refused to do a somersault for my gymnastics class.  Awesome.

Tonight, however, I have a callback as a pirate in Treasure Island.  One of my friends mentioned that I might need to do some gymnastics for the movement section…a pronouncement that struck fear into my heart.  I decided that, since I didn’t have time to practice a lot of things, I would get a really good hold on a simple squatting to standing somersault.  

Here’s the scene: Me squatting on the floor, head cushioned by a pillow and tucked under, as I count slowly to ten.  And then count again.  And then count again.  It took me a solid five minutes before I could work up the courage to kick my feet over my head.  But finally, I sat on the floor with a huff, and imagined the worse that could happen–which was basically that I would twinge my neck a little, or run into the bookshelf.  Not a catastrophe.  

So one more deep breath, one more count of ten, and I flicked my feet off the floor, rolled, and landed in an ungainly crouch.  But the point is: I did a somersault.  And then I did another.  After about fifteen, I felt like they were pretty, graceful, maybe even pirate-y.  And I have conquered a fear that I’ve had since I was about five years old.

The moral of the story: Stop thinking, start doing.  Reaching beyond what your used to has the potential to make you happier than you would have thought!

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