Vitality Lessons From Your Inner Child: Trying New Things Life moving by too quickly? Trying new things might be the solution. By Amanda Kohr Photo by Ali Kaukas Play isn’t just for kids. Running, dancing, meditating, practicing: It’s how we harness our inner spirit and feed our imagination. #OmOutAndPlay with us at a Wanderlust 108 event or festival this season! Find out more about Wanderlust 108s | Buy 108 event tickets Find out more about Wanderlust Festivals | Buy festival tickets I hadn’t taken a dance class in nine years, but when I saw the words “Free Bollywood Class,” the importance of that fact fell out the window. There was a bit of hesitation; not only had it been ages since I had taken a class, but even when I was dancing regularly, I was terrible. I’m not being modest, it was bad. I was the girl in the back who tried to copy the moves of the person in the front row, and who thought stomping and yelling was equivalent to tap dancing. And I had never attempted the Bollywood style. The adult part of my brain was screaming, “No! Embarrassing! Run away!” And yet, everyone in the class before mine looked as if they were having so much fun. The smiles were genuine and the dancers moved with confidence across the bamboo floor. It was like watching the scene in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where everyone eats giant sugar flowers while Gene Wilderer sings “Pure Imagination.” I wanted in. Bollywood dance requires enthusiasm and attention-to-detail. A woman led us through a variety of routines, many of which included fast hand motions and step combinations. The energy needed to flood through each phalange, as every part of our bodies were involved in the dancing. I wasn’t very good, but I loved it. I felt alive, sexy, and wild. But kids! Kids have the right idea. They look at the world with fresh eyes every single day. When we are young, dancing is second nature. How often have you seen children bounce instead of walk? The lucky kids fill their afternoons with dance lessons, gymnastics, music, soccer, water polo, and all sorts of activities. Children all over the country find ways to invent and organize their own games. As a child, everything seems exciting because everything is brand-spankin’ new. As adults, we find often ourselves into established routines. We wake up, shower, go to work, go to yoga, have dinner, read, and fall asleep. There is the occasional happy hour, maybe a brunch or a farmers market on the weekend, and then the yearly vacation to somewhere warm and that serves tiki drinks. Maybe that explains why time moves so quickly; we become accustomed to a lack of surprise. But kids! Kids have the right idea. They look at the world with fresh eyes every single day. With the exception of the occasional rollercoaster (it took me until I was 14), most kids love to dive headfirst into new games and activities. They don’t sit and make a pro or con list, or wonder about the potential wasted time or possible failure. They run, living in the moment, and thus breaking the all-too-familiar routine. Does your inner child want you to try something new? It might not be a specific activity, and it certainly doesn’t have to be something you’d see on “Fear Factor.” Trying something new can mean teaching yourself how to French braid or eating Ca Kho To. Regardless of what you choose, sampling something new strengthens you in more ways than you can see. For one, it powers up your courage. It’s been proven that most people find the unknown a wee bit frightening, therefore keeping us from trying something new. But summoning courage is like opening a jar of Nutella; once you dive in, it’s hard to climb back out. Once you become familiar with your bravery, you’ll find it easier and easier to call on new things. You’re essentially awakening that adorable five-year-old inside of you. What have you always wanted to try if it weren’t for (insert reason here)? Trying new things can also teach you about yourself. You learn what you like and what you don’t. Maybe the journey into a new activity ignites a passion you never knew existed. As open new doors, we find ourselves happily stumbling into foreign rooms. Thus trying new things helps us grow. We don’t grow when we repeat the same activities and habits, as the growth from those things have already occurred. Growth happens when we take new action and challenge our current thought processes. OK, great, so you’ve decided to try something new. But what’s that mysterious, fun thing going to be? Here’s where the inner child comes into play. What excites you, or maybe intimidates you just a little bit? What are some of the activities that your friends do that you’ve always slightly envied? What have you always wanted to try if it weren’t for (insert reason here)? What looks really freaking fun? For a day, look at life through the lenses of a child. Find what refreshes you and what lights your blood on fire. Life might feel more exciting, and likely a little bit longer. — Amanda Kohr is a 25-year-old writer and photographer with a penchant for yoga, food, and travel. She prefers to bathe in the moonlight rather than the sun, and enjoys living in a state of the three C’s: cozy, creative, and curious. When she’s not writing, you can find her driving her VW Bug, looking for the next roadside attraction or family diner. She also roams the internet at amandakohr.com and through Instagram.