I’m not a daredevil, but I’m a big fan of experiencing lots of different things during one’s lifetime. You know, things like study another language, visit a battle site, spend an hour or two talking to someone from a different country, walk on the beach – in as many different locations as possible, take advantage of free or discounted classes, drive across the country, try as many different cuisines as possible, try a “bicycle built for two,” ride a horse, climb a mountain, visit a different continent, visit as man different terrains as you can (waterfalls, jungle, desert, mountains, coast, plains, etc.), learn a musical instrument, cut down your own Christmas tree, volunteer, snowshoe in the mountains, get SCUBA certified, go bar- or pub-hopping (even if you don’t drink, just buy a cola and people-watch), live several hours from family (at last for a little while), apply for a job you don’t think you stand a chance of getting. You know…everything.
The reason I’m such a big fan of getting out there and experiencing things – anything! – is because of the memories you’ll have afterward. I have been known to stay up until the wee hours just because I was afraid of missing out on a particular experience (even when I knew I’d have to get up in a few short hours).
This is something I want to pass on to my children as they grow. I want them to be proud of everything they do – finish a classic novel, learn how to do a cartwheel, bake their first cookies, get an A in math, win the $5 prize at the grocery store for the colouring contest in their age bracket, or whatever. And to this end, I’ve done the best I can to help Little Miss have as many new experiences as possible (granted, this is quite simple when her life so far consists of less than 2 1/2 years). We go to zoos whenever we can, visit children’s museums and parks and playgrounds, ride little tourist trains and visit friends and relatives in various places, eat a variety of foods and take her to concerts and church and parties.
I’m a firm believer, too, that memories aren’t the only thing you take away when you experience something new. No matter what experience it is, be it positive or negative, you learn something from it.
What sand feels like between your toes, how to say “thank you” when someone gives you something, what tofu tastes like, that wood stoves are hot and hurt when you touch them, how exciting the percussion section is to watch, how cold your hands get when you refuse to wear mittens on a snowy day, or what the spray of a waterfall feels like on your face.
This is something I look forward to as Little Miss grows: expanding her world and showing her what life is. Making memories and teaching her things – all in the name of experience.
And while she’s small it’s all fine – petting horses’ noses and wiggling your toes in the ocean aren’t really all that dangerous. What scares me is when she’s a teenager and wants to go on a mission trip to Botswana or try her hand at sky-diving or, heaven forbid…she wants to get her driver’s license.