Design Mom Asks: Trying New Things

May 30, 2012

I’m always encouraging my kids to try new things, from food to hobbies and even moving halfway across the world to a country where they do not speak the language! As an adult, I’ve kind of forgotten that this process can be scary. Exhilarating, but definitely scary, right? Which got me wondering about the last thing you tried for the very first time. Was it life-changing? And would you do it again? A few friends are helping me get the conversation started, and I hope they inspire us all to try something new today!

Trina of Beginner Beans:
Surfing. I was 15 and had just taken my first plane trip over an ocean to Hawai’i. We were on our way to Mongolia. It was my first time out of the U.S. and the longest I had lived away from my family. I’ve had a lot of firsts since then, but that year holds a special spot in my memory for showing me the joy of mastering very few things and becoming a beginner in many things. Would I surf again? Maybe. A husband, two kids, and a happily settled life later, I miss the adventure of travel more than I miss surfing. Which is why I’ve made being an everyday beginner my life adventure.

Bessie of Sisserman Sable:
A few weeks ago I decided it was about time I started our twins’ baby blankets. Usually I can knit or sew one up in a matter of days, so I decided I would do something new this time and crochet them instead. How hard could it be? I started one night whilst the kids were in bed, but I just couldn’t grasp it.  When my husband came into the room I was a crying wreck in the middle of the bed. But I picked up that hook and I started again. And now I have one nearly completed blanket. The second may not be finished by the time they arrive, or by their first birthdays with six kids in the house, but I’m still going to do it. I’m going to do it again, but only once. Then I will throw out that darned hook forever!

Robin of A Chow Life:
I quit my job! It was surely something I never dreamed of doing and something that was totally out of character for me. As my wedding neared a couple of years ago, I revealed to my (now) husband I was unhappy at work. It was really a relief to admit it. After years of satisfying work, I knew I needed a change. But I was terrified! After all, I went to law school to be a lawyer. I didn’t go with the intention of being anything else. However, that’s where I found myself — I wanted to be something else! Specifically, I wanted to do something creative. So I did it. I left. I handed in a letter of resignation to my boss with tears in my eyes. That was pretty embarrassing, but it was also thoroughly exhilarating.

And, yes, I’d do it again. Again and again. I’m here two years later, happier than ever. I’ve got a wonderful husband and a tiny sweet daughter. Best of all, I spend my free time writing. It’s always been my passion and now I am privileged to do it every day!

Sarita of I Love Gifting:
The last thing I tried for the very first time is starting from scratch! I’ve just moved from India to Denmark and this entails me doing several things for the first time.

I’ve left my comfort zone, not to mention family and friends. I have gone back to the starting line once again — setting up a home (exciting and fun!), learning Danish (it’s tough!), making friends in a new country (not easy for an introvert!). And being a stay at home mom after ten years as communications professional has meant I don’t have the security of a job. But, I have the opportunity to do two things I love: blogging about gifting and painting.

Would I do it again? Yes. Starting over in a new place has  broadened my horizons in every possible way. And I have my super husband and darling daughter to share this experience with me.

Evanthia of Merely Mothers:
The last thing I tried for the very first time was web design. Although I don’t have a technical background, when it came time to redo our blog, I decided to call on my background in art and my love of design to create something that captured our message: just because we stay at home with our children all day, it doesn’t mean we aren’t introspective, creative, modern women! I spent a lot of time studying other people’s blogs — the layouts, the color schemes, the navigation — to decide which elements to integrate into our own site. Of course, figuring out how to navigate through CSS and PHP code was terrifying, and a couple of times I actually “broke” our site, but it was worth the effort. I gained a whole new appreciation for everything that goes on behind the scenes of beautiful websites. We love the new look!


I feel so proud of you right now, ladies! Surfing, coding, starting over in a new country, crocheting two blankets while pregnant with twins, and walking away from a career as an attorney; these are all wonderfully refreshing and inspiring stories! Tell me, friends: What’s the last thing you tried for the very first time?

Oh, I’m already motivated to try something new today, aren’t you? What will it be?

The farthest I could trace this photo is Tumblr. [Update: image by Michelle Haymoz] Doesn’t it make you want to surf?

P.S. — You can catch all of our Design Mom Asks conversations right here. If you’d like to participate in the next one, drop me a note. I’d love to hear from you!

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Damaris May 30, 2012 at 7:59 am

I really want to learn how to to use Adobe Illustrator better and get a little informed about graphic design. I’m excited to try I’ve heard good things, we shall see.


2 Design Mom May 31, 2012 at 3:08 am

I haven’t heard of I’ll go look it up now…


3 Christa the BabbyMama May 30, 2012 at 8:00 am

I’m a bit wussy when it comes to trying new things, but mainly because I like being good at stuff. The learning curve that comes with getting not bad at something new scares me. I don’t like feeling out of control or helpless! And I sure don’t like messing up!


4 Design Mom May 31, 2012 at 3:08 am

“I don’t like feeling out of control or helpless!”

I am the same way.


5 Melissa L. May 30, 2012 at 8:10 am

I am contemplating auditioning for a musical with our local community theatre. All through junior high school and into high school, I loved acting and singing. I have until late June to decide if I want to audition, but I am so nervous!


6 Malia O. May 30, 2012 at 8:20 am

You should do it! It sounds like you’ve given it some thought, so I think at this point you may regret not trying out. Good Luck ;)


7 Melissa L. May 30, 2012 at 11:52 am

@ Malia O. and Barchbo- Thank you for the encouragement!


8 Barchbo May 30, 2012 at 11:25 am

DO IT! How exciting! I bet you’ll never regret it. What a fun way to stretch your wings!


9 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay May 30, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Chiming in too for TRY! Then give us the update…
Break a leg!


10 Tasha May 30, 2012 at 7:28 pm

DO it!!! Do it for me (lol) – same story and every summer I say I will join a theatre group or the choir…what holds me back!?


11 Design Mom May 31, 2012 at 3:09 am

Yes! Go for it!!!


12 Malia O. May 30, 2012 at 8:23 am

After college I moved to a new city where I didn’t have any friends or family. It wasn’t a new country and I did know people within an hour of where I was living. I’ll always remember when a co-worker said how brave and admirable it was for me to move somewhere completely new. It never seemed all that crazy until that point, but it was definitely one of the best decisions I ever made.


13 Cheryl Burchett May 30, 2012 at 8:28 am

I signed up for TRAPEZE lessons on a whim! I LOVED the idea of it, but in reality, it took ab muscles and arm strength that I was lacking. I kept trying and even convinced my husband that I needed a bar at home to get some extra practice! It was a really fun thing to learn something new and a great reminder of what it feels like to have to do things that you don’t feel completely equipped to do. I wrote about the experience of struggling to keep up in the class and also posted a summary after my first trapeze performance


14 Gia S. May 30, 2012 at 8:40 am

Last year as I was waiting for my older daughter’s dance class to let out when I saw a flyer for an upcoming Taiko drumming workshop and class. The time of day was going to be a challenge but that night I asked my husband how he felt about being on his own one weekend morning while I tried this crazy thing. He was the picture of supportive and the next week I headed out for the first day, a free introduction and performance.
I was so impressed to see all different ages and sizes and colors performing on these huge, resounding drums in rhythms that were both completely familiar and exhileratingly foreign. I was in the class for 8 weeks until that session ended. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done and something totally new. I’m not a drummer or a dancer but in Taiko no matter who you are from the outside world you are a player in the group. A lovely bonus was learning a little Japanese along the way and a wonderful history of Taiko.


15 Design Mom May 31, 2012 at 3:10 am

A drumming workshop sounds fabulous!


16 Kylie May 30, 2012 at 8:47 am

I just finished a six-week beginner’s oil painting course! I’ve always wanted to paint, but it seemed like a frivolous desire until a push from my husband had me registered. It was challenging, but wonderful, and I can’t wait to keep painting!


17 April O. May 30, 2012 at 9:33 am

I took up snowboarding at 29.

I had tried skiing about two times as a teenager, and it was not a fun experience so I had given up on snow sports . . . Until my five year old daughter started taking lessons.

My husband had been snowboarding for years, and now my five year old was on her way. I envisioned my days spent endlessly in the lodge and that did it, I was willing to try.

I took lessons and haven’t looked back. Fours years later and I have an actual desire to hit the slopes each winter with my family. :) It was completely worth the risk of getting out of my comfort zone.


18 Design Mom May 31, 2012 at 3:10 am

Snowboarders are super cool!


19 Gabriele Burgess May 30, 2012 at 9:45 am

Since many are weighing in with new things to try I wanted to share something that took great courage for me. I am a sedentary person who lives in their head most of the time so when I got to try Pilates with a personal trainer I was scared and shy. The trade was I teach her family piano lessons and I get an hour of Pilates every week. The trade is in my favor for sure.


20 Sarah May 30, 2012 at 11:29 am

A while back I took a six-week French course. It was supposed to be for beginners, but when I showed up many of the other students had some experience with French. That really intimidated me, but I learned a lot more than I would have with true beginners because I studied hard to avoid embarrassing myself. Now you have me thinking about other things I might try.


21 Barchbo May 30, 2012 at 11:30 am

I try to do something new every day -big or small.. I love change and am always looking for ways to challenge myself. This week I have tried beet juice (it was good!), read a book online (I’ve been resistant), wore a maternity bikini (eek!), and went a week without makeup (surprised how little I cared) Change and challenge are exhilarating!

Having two kids in my 40s has been a real changeup pitch so I am doing something new every day: building routine. It’s really hard and painful for me, but I can feel myself growing! :)


22 Melissa L. May 30, 2012 at 11:49 am

I love your philosophy on life! Trying something new everyday=amazing idea!


23 Tasha May 30, 2012 at 7:33 pm

I also wish to do this…I’ve recently had a BIG change (for the better) and it taught me a lot! Suddenly, I’m yearning – I want to skydive or some other “crazy” thing which never crossed my mind – or if it did I’d say, “No way, never!” – Unlike you, maybe that I had my son young (I’m 45 and he’s 26 tomorrow:) and now I wonder at the next step in my timeline…all the planning things (or many) are reached – he’s well, in love, graduated college, has a good job…now back to me?


24 Trina {Beginner Beans} May 30, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Trying something new every day — I like that! Even if it’s something little, it definitely makes you stop and think about your life and wonder what you could do differently today to create a memory or change your path.


25 Design Mom May 31, 2012 at 3:11 am

I hope you took pics in the maternity bikini! : )


26 Sarah Lemoine May 30, 2012 at 11:35 am

Leaving graphic design for fashion design!! From birth announcements to baby clothes was a leap, but the fundamental design principles are the same. Months of research & education about the clothing industry led to the creation of W.D. Wolf (aka: Well Dressed Wolf). I LOVE creating new shapes, using color to create a mood and experimenting with contrast vs. subtlety… And don’t even get me started on smock plate creation! Sometimes living your dream altering your course or even changing course altogether. Finally, work feels NOTHING like a job. I have my sister as my business partner, my children by my side and a steadily growing line of children’s clothing… Never ventured, never gained…


27 Tasha May 30, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I wish you SUCH GOOD fortune:)


28 sofija May 30, 2012 at 1:40 pm

My husband has been working on me for two years to give mountain biking a try. It only makes sense since we live in the Southwest with trails right outside our door. He bought me a really nice bike at a bike swap for the fraction of the cost. Now this 41 year old mama of six kids is on her way to become a mountain biker. It is so much fun and makes me feel 10 years younger!!


29 Design Mom May 31, 2012 at 3:11 am

Yay for mama mountain bikers!!


30 Mau May 30, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I went sledding on Mount Etna with my family this winter. That was also the first time I had ever seen the snow (I’m 35!). It was definitely something I dreaded doing, especially with a 7 year old and a baby in tow, but it was exhilarating! It was also pretty special to see snow for the first time the same day my kids did.


31 Design Mom May 31, 2012 at 3:12 am

First snow at 35? I love hearing that!


32 Michelle Glauser May 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm

When I started dating a Taiwanese guy last year, I decided to show off how brave I could be trying foods. One pig intestine later, I pretty much say no to anything that isn’t clearly de-boned, de-greased, and Americanized. Sad, huh?


33 Ange May 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Last year a couple of my friends convinced my to do a sprint triathalon. I had never really exercised before…so saying i was scared was an understatement! I trained for 4 months and finished the race with 7 girlfriends. It felt great and has taught me to do hard things and that sweating makes for some great endorphin feelings. I would love to learn French, that is next on my list. I love hearing about all these choices to let go of fear and truly LIVE.


34 Design Mom May 31, 2012 at 3:12 am

What an accomplishment!


35 kate May 30, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Running! Just tonight and for the first time in 27 years (PE was mandatory in junior high – and oh how I loathed running). I downloaded my itunes and an exercise tracking app onto my new phone, bought shoes last week and workout clothes yesterday. My intention was to walk fast a several days for two weeks and gradually work up to running. The goal is to be able to run for 30 minutes straight three times per week by the end of August. But I just spontaneously broke out into a run tonight and it felt like I was flying. There is a possibility that I might like to run!


36 Jen May 30, 2012 at 8:36 pm

Since becoming a mom I’ve realized that I’ve allowed my world to become much smaller. Trying new things is part of my plan to expand my world again. The last (big) new thing I tried was joining the community chorus. Never mind that I don’t have any experience singing. The next thing on my list is learning to play the ukelele. I guess I’m going through a musical phase.


37 Design Mom May 31, 2012 at 3:13 am

I vote yes on the ukelele!


38 Caitlin June 1, 2012 at 11:19 am

I started writing a fantasy novel! I’ve always said I wanted to write a novel someday but I never took any writing classes or anything. Then last fall I spent many months being unemployed and decided it was time to try for that dream! It’s been such a blast. It’s such a fun creative outlet for me and I love immersing myself in this world I’ve created. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll get it published – scary!


39 Kate June 2, 2012 at 7:17 am
40 Design Mom June 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Thanks for the sleuthing, Kate! I’ll update the post.


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