When was the last time you did something for the first time?

You might have noticed that this post’s headline is a question – and a very thought provoking one, I would guess. In my impression, we often lose ourselves so much in our daily routine that we forget how important it is to get out of our own comfort zone every once in a while and try something new. So last week I finally I did something new again, something that I have wanted to do for a long time, something that has challenged me in a completely new way: I gave my very first Zumba class.

Some of you might now say: “Why is she making such a fuss about this? She hops around in a Zumba class every second day, so by now she should be able to perform some Salsa steps in front of a few people without much ado.” I’d like to say: “Yes and no.”

Almost everything in life can be done in three different ways: bad, satisfactory and exceptionally good.

A bad Zumba teacher might not know his moves, he might occasionally forget to cue and his body language might tell you, that wearing colorful clothes and dancing to Reggaeton is not his favorite way to spend his time. A teacher that does his job satisfactory performs flawless moves and smiles bravely the whole hour, but he does not get the party going. An extraordinary teacher will leave you soaked with endorphins and longing to come back to class – something that happens rarely, but when it does, will leave you in a state of utter bliss and happiness. To not be a bad teacher is easy, even being satisfactory can be achieved without much hassle – but being really, really good is hard and takes time and practice. Of course I aimed to be at least okay during my first class, but getting the nervousness under control was harder than I expected. I did neither know the gym that hired me or the people working there, nor did I have a clue what kind of teacher the participants were used to.

So I stood there in front of this place called “Happy Fitness”, forty-five minutes early and everything but happy, sweating already and pathetically trying to remember the cool-down moves that I had thought of the day before. It was horrible. But I made it through the one-hour class – and guess what? It went okay. The people were friendly, they liked the music, we did some chit-chatting and everybody was polite enough not to mention how red my face had become during the workout. When I walked home, was soaked with endorphins.

And then I realized: making it through tough situations or accomplishing something special that seemed out of your range of capabilities is the best guarantee to experience a little high once in while. So why don’t we do it more often?

When I fell into my bed that night, exhausted and then finally happy, I made a half-year resolution: I will try to experience more “first times” from now on. And I will not limit myself to anything specific – it might be something creative, like a Japanese cooking class, a challenging activity like an Alpine crossing or simply taking a detour on the way home to check out the new café in the neighborhood (who wants to go with me?).
“Firsts” are not only fun, they can also teach us how to handle situations we are not familiar with – and this is a skill everybody can profit from, since you never know what life is gonna throw at you at some point.

So, in order to keep the promise I made to myself I will report here regularly about my “firsts” – and maybe you will get inspired to leave your comfort zone as well and throw yourself into unchartered territory. Because whatever happens, one thing is certain: you will always return by one experience richer.

 

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