The Year of Yes

The Year of Yes: Month One

It’s still kind of surreal to me that I embarked on this journey about a month ago, and I’ve actually kind of stuck with it? I’m someone who loves beginning things… I’m always coming up with new ideas. The harder part for me is actually doing them and finishing them. Nonetheless, I’m ready to write my one month update of my Year of Yes.

I’ve decided that the best structure for these posts is to write about each challenge, how it went, my thoughts, and then how I feel about the whole thing overall. That way, we can look at the micro but also zoom out to look at the macro.

#1 (March 1–7): Listen to new music

Originally I planned to dive into the deep end and start with a really daunting challenge, but it wasn’t working out, so I pivoted to this one instead.

For some context: I really hate trying new things, in case it wasn’t obvious already. Music is one of those finnicky things where I’m very content to listen to the same songs over and over again. I listen to maybe a few hundred songs on rotation, adding songs once in a while every time Taylor Swift comes out with a new album. Which has been a lot in the past two years, so I’ve been very content and satisfied.

I just don’t like putting effort into listening to new songs and having to work out whether I like them or not. Music is comforting background noise for me, but when it’s unfamiliar, it’s not comforting anymore. I’ve had new songs come out from artists I’ve liked and it still took me a while to get around listening to them because I didn’t want to put in the effort.

I asked my friends to make me some playlists and recommend me some music, which they did very happily, and I am very humbled to say that I have found some new songs to like. Even though listening to the playlists was kind of a slog, I did come out of every playlist with at least one new song I liked. The success of this challenge also means that I’m more willing to listen to new music now, which has been fun. It’s really something foreign to me, but I’ve really been enjoying it.

Plus I’m trying to branch out what kind of music I listen to. I usually like slow, chill, sad songs. I’m trying to listen to more upbeat and cheerful songs and I think they help my mood a lot… who knew (everyone knew).

#2 (March 8–14): Reach out to someone I haven’t talked to in years

Oh man, this one was a last-minute desperate attempt to do something that week. Honestly, I wasn’t very good at doing my challenges until it was Sunday night and I realised I had to do something for that week, at which point I was scrambling to find something to do easily at home LOL.

This one was tricky for me because if I haven’t reached out to you in years, it generally means I don’t really particularly care about keeping in touch. I’m pretty good at keeping in touch if I want to. I took this challenge very literally and excluded people I’d talked to in the past few months or the past year, which left me with a lot of people I simply don’t care for.

Still, I managed to find someone whose opinion of me doesn’t really matter. I wasn’t going to be embarrassed if they thought I was weird for reaching out, or embarrassed if they didn’t respond. I got the latter, um, yes, I was ghosted, which is interesting, but whatever. I’m not too bothered about it. All I learned about this was that I was right: I know very much who I like and who I don’t.

#3 (March 15–21): Sign up to be an organ donor

I kind of cheated with this one, because it wasn’t on my original list, but it was something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now but I never got around to actually doing. Also, it was another last-minute desperate attempt on a Sunday night.

We had a lecture about body donations at the beginning of the year (i.e. September) because as medical students we are very fortunate to work with cadavers for anatomy. That was when I first really started thinking about organ donation, but I held off because I wasn’t fully convinced about donating all my organs. But at the same time, I thought that was kind of silly.

I’m glad I finally signed up to be an organ donor, and for those curious, I did end up checking the boxes for all organs to be donated (the ones I were hesitant about were my eyes and my skin, but… they can do so much good things for other people). It was a very easy process to sign up online, and I received a letter in the mail about a week later confirming that I’d been enrolled.

#4 (March 22–28): Eat an entire pineapple

My sister suggested this one for me, probably out of humour more than anything, because I hate pineapple. I was a pretty picky eater growing up, but since I’ve become vegan most of those have mellowed out. I was very grossed out by things like seafood and less common meats, but now that those are out of my diet, I’m pretty okay. The worst thing that I’m eating are vegetables, and there’s nothing that grosses me out there. I still don’t love mushrooms, but I’ll eat them.

I asked my mom to buy pineapple, but I don’t think she got an entire pineapple because I never saw it and there wasn’t that much pineapple in the house. It doesn’t really matter, because I had a few pieces and then stopped eating. I like the texture of pineapple, but the taste of it just isn’t my favourite. I just didn’t want to eat more, and my sister happily ate the rest.

Though I haven’t had pineapple in years, I was skeptical that I would like it because I don’t like the smell. I was pretty correct. I’m glad I tried it, because tastebuds change, but I’m still not a fan of pineapple.

#5 (March 29–April 4): Learn how to make a cocktail

This was a super fun one, if a little bittersweet, because I did this with my sister on the night before her departure. She likes mojitos, so we made mojitos! We got a small bottle of white rum, some tonic water, and limes for our delicious drink. A non-alcoholic version was made for our mom, who found the drink to be delightful. I did too–it was a good balance of salty and sweet and fizzy and fresh.

Alcohol is something I strayed away from when I was younger just because I had no interest in being intoxicated, but it’s interesting to see a shift away from that as I grow older. I still only drink once in a while, but I find it more enjoyable for sure. I look forward to having dinner parties with wine and brunches with mimosas post-COVID, if that ever happens.

Overall reflection

Despite the ups and downs and the admittedly somewhat tame challenges of my first month, I have really enjoyed it. I can feel myself pushing myself out of my comfort zone and growing bit by bit. I want to become an interesting person with a lot of varied interests, and I think this helps me do that. Also, I’m just having plain fun. Trying new things takes effort but it brings that certain exhilaration when you’re doing something for the first time. It frankly reminds me of being a child, which is a good thing, right?

I’m looking forward to my second month and seeing what I do. I’m going to try and get better at planning out the challenges in advance so I’m not scrambling on Sunday nights. One I wanted to do in April is pushed back because of the COVID situation, but hopefully I can find challenges that are a bit bolder and more exciting.

That was my update! I’m going to go look for a challenge to do this week now… what to do?

x B

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