There are some “old” things that never really get old, like old friendships or old books or old music. And I love these things — they have longevity and staying power. Things that are antique or vintage appeal to me because they provide a glimpse of days past and bring classic character to modern life.
But new horizons are equally exciting, and sometimes they are needful. Everyone would be much improved by trying something new every once in a while. Your whole realm of thought opens up when you deliberately meet people you’ve never met, speak to people you’ve never spoken to, go places you’ve never been, eat food you’ve never eaten, learn useful information you’ve never learned. If you shut yourself off from these things, it becomes evident to those around you that you are clueless!
Perhaps if you’re a fellow teenager, you think you aren’t much of a people person and would prefer to converse only with people you already know. This, friends, greatly decreases your potential for influence and may rob you of great relationships. Even if you are not an excellent conversationalist, anyone can make a courteous, engaging introduction with a winning smile. There are many, many people out there who need to be asked how they are doing. Please find one of them today. In the process, you may discover a new friend and thus widen your horizons.
Maybe you avoid books with complex ideas or rarely listen to music that does not rely on a bouncy Autotune-laden hook. (Or, and I shudder to think of it, you don’t really listen to music at all.) You are missing out on culture and limiting your mind to things that are easy. If you want to learn and grow, develop intellectual stamina. (Which, incidentally, results in intellectual muscularity.) If you are high-school age or older, you can handle things that are beyond the Y.A. section of the library. What about reading on leadership, theology, society, history, or international culture? Why not? You may think you don’t have time. Read slowly, then. Read when your work is finished. Read before you fall asleep. Read while you eat. But don’t return that book until the last page is turned. As for music, explore things that are musically or lyrically deep. Like I said earlier, listen to something you haven’t heard. I saw a commercial with a Billie Holiday song in it, and it led me to branch out and explore other great jazz musicians from that era. There’s brilliant work to be found in many genres.
You can experience a lot in one afternoon by visiting one place you have never been to. Museums are great if you are looking for information, but if you’re simply looking to see new sights, search for hiking trails, bike paths, historic downtowns, antique stores, parks, harbors and marinas, old neighborhoods, weekend festivals, unique shops. The area I live in is full of things like that, and even if yours isn’t, there must be something you have not done before. Or try photographing something you have seen before. It offers new perspective — another essential to widening one’s horizons!
And new food? Certainly rewarding. Every time I’ve tried a new food recently, I’ve liked it. The latest was a Mediterranean roll of rice in a grape leaf. My mother has been buying these for years and I thought I would not like them, but I tried one the other day and it was delicious. Trying new food is one of the simplest ways to expand your horizons, but it can be very rewarding because you may discover things you’ll enjoy for the rest of your life! Cooking can be another great new experience, because actually preparing the food gives you a whole new appreciation. Good food brings people together and has the ability to turn everyday meals into celebrations.
Bu there is so much more than just eating food and reading books. Consciously look for things around you that you may have missed, such as unnoticed character traits in your friends and family, unrecognized favors others have done for you, and unused opportunities to learn. Acknowledging these things will improve your relationships and give you new optimism for your current situation and for the future.
So why not? Opening up your mind is nothing to fear. Putting a new lens on a camera allows the photographer to see his subject up-close from a wider variety of angles. Putting a new lens on your mind gives you an improved angle on life and enables you to get the most out of every day. Start today, Tuesday, 28 September 2010, because this is the only 28 September 2010 you will ever have and there is no better time to start.
Mark the calendar, because today could be the day your world grows larger.