YOLO: A New Experience Every Month

I set the goal at the beginning of 2016 to intentionally seek out one new experience every month… I called it my “YOLO List.” This was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and I’ll definitely keep it up in 2017.  Below is a list of what I’ve been up to – this color font indicates it was something that scared me. It is worth mentioning that those (scary!) things were the ones I’m especially glad I did.

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January:

  • Went to the Santa Monica Pier at night and rode the ferris wheel – This is one of those touristy LA experiences that is easy never to do – but I’m so glad we did. It was surprisingly fun and had a really nice view of the ocean on one side and city on the other.
  • Tried hot yoga classes in LA – This was scary because my previous hot yoga experience had been in Bikram, which I did not enjoy. But, I ended up LOVING hot yoga classes at Core Power and now it’s something I do regularly. I’m so glad I didn’t write off hot yoga having only tried one style.

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February:

  • Went to Joshua Tree – It was stunning. Read full post about our trip here.
  • Participated in The Virus Escape Room – If you’ve never done an Escape Room, I highly recommend it. It will get your adrenaline going because it feels like you are inside a video game – everything in the space is a possible clue to solve the puzzle; also, you work as a team to get out! It seemed scary based on the website description and promo video, but the actual experience was pure fun and unlike anything I’ve ever done.
  • Bought a Groupon for a pack of Aerial Yoga classes – One of my favorite experiences of the year. This is where you use a silk hammock that is suspended from the ceiling to do things that are normally too scary – like hang upside down.

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March:

  • Went to Mexico! – We drove from LA into Rosarito, Mexico for a long weekend and stayed at a very affordable ocean-front resort. We had the best ceviche EVER in a town called Ensenada, at a place called La Guerrerense.  
  • Made lemon meringue pie from scratch – This is one of Greg’s favorite kinds of pie so I wanted to make it for his birthday. I had to try the meringue twice but eventually, I got it to work.
  • Saw pandas at the San Diego Zoo – Waited in a long line but it was pretty cool to see a panda up close and personal.

April:

  • Went for a hike in the rain – Ok – so this may seem like a funny thing to add to the list, but it was DEFINITELY outside of my comfort zone. I had a big group of friends in town and wanted to take them for a hike. It NEVER rains in LA, but that day it did. The hike was along a cliffside and super slippery because of the mud, so it was pretty scary and actually kind of dangerous, but we did it and lived to tell the tale. It is an experience I’ll always remember and I feel bonded to those people for life.
  • Had a Reiki session in Ojai, California – I had never heard of Reiki before coming to LA, but it’s an alternative form of medicine that shifts energy to promote emotional well-being. I took a lot from my session.
  • Tried a boxing class – Another new workout class. It involved boxing gloves and punching a partner. The people in this class were RIPPED and it was a little too intense for my taste, but I’m glad I tried it.

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May:

  • Went to Beverly Hills Hot Springs – This was my first Korean spa experience. There are several hot/cold pools and saunas to enjoy. Then you can get a body scrub, where you are basically hosed down on a table and scrubbed all over. It almost felt like you were a baby being bathed… but it was lovely.
  • Sang Karaoke (by myself!) – I had sung group karaoke before, but had never gone up solo. It was really fun! I sang “Hooked on a Feeling” by The Bay City Rollers, including all the “ooga-shakas.” 

June:

  • Went to Perch LA and The Edison – To celebrate my 29th birthday, we had dinner at Perch LA (a rooftop bar and restaurant downtown that I had wanted a special reason to go to) and then we went to The Edison (a 1920’s themed bar that is pretty famous in LA). 
  • Received Acupuncture – I’m not a fan of needles so acupuncture always scared me, but I have a friend who swears by it so I decided to give it a try. In Chinese Medicine, people are said to have a primary element type. Based on your type, there are certain foods and activities to avoid or include that will promote balance. I found this information helpful and the work he did also released tightness I’ve had in my back for a long time. 

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July:

  • PCH Road Trip – We went to Big Sur and Yosemite and we saw sequoia trees. Read about our Coast Drive trip here
  • Biked across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco – I’m not a super skilled bike rider, and it was an especially windy day, but I did it! 

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August:

  • Norm’s Writing Group – I was out for a walk with my mom one morning on PEI and her friend mentioned how right after walking, she was going to her “Writing Group” hosted by a 95-year-old man who lived nearby. She asked if I could join and before I had time to think about it, I said yes! I was pretty nervous because I was told we would be given a short prompt, write for 20 minutes, and then share our work. I ended up loving the group and now I host my own group here in LA using the same format.

September:

  • Took an Aerial Inversion Workshop – This was similar to taking Aerial Yoga classes except the whole class was dedicated to using the hammock to support headstands, handstands and shoulder stands. I had previously been too scared to try kicking up into a handstand, but this workshop really helped and now I can do it.
  • Went to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios – I’m terrified of all things in the horror realm, so spending several hours here was wildly out of my comfort zone. That said, I know that facing my fears head-on until any feelings of anxiety start to subside can really help (as I can’t sustain “feeling terrified” forever). Although I still don’t like horror movies, this was a worthwhile experience because I left less afraid. 
  • Started going to meditation classes – One of my goals for the year is to develop a regular meditation practice so I found a free meditation studio close to my house and started going once a week. 

October

  • Hosted my first “Valley Writer’s Group” – Inspired by Norm’s writing group on PEI, I decided to try hosting my own version in LA. So far so good! It felt harder doing it with a group of my friends (as opposed to strangers), but I find the process valuable so I want to keep it up. 
  • Went on a trip to Portland, OR – Read full post here.
  • Started acting lessons – Terrifying and liberating. Read full post here
  •  Tried indoor rollerskating – Growing up in Canada, all of my skating experience has been on ice. This was the first time I went rollerskating and it was a blast.

November

  • Saw my first opera Akhnaten by Philip Glass – First of all, no one told me that operas are 3.5 hours long… and this was a slow motion opera with nudity and jugglers on stage. I just don’t think it was a great “intro” to the opera world. I would like to give the opera another chance, but maybe something more mainstream next time… 
  • Tried baking homemade bread – Well it certainly wasn’t as good as my mom’s bread, but I did it! You can find the recipe I used here.

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December

  • Saw a ballet for the first time (The Nutcracker) – I loved everything about this. I had never been to the ballet before and had no idea how I would feel (especially after my experience at the opera…) but it was incredible. The Nutcracker is a great one to start with because a lot of the music is recognizable and the story is easy to follow. Plus, there were several children in the show which was both impressive and adorable.
  • Made homemade candles – I have a friend who is a candle-making pro so she came over to my place to help me host a party before the holidays. We used mason jars, soy wax and wicks, and essential oils.
  • “Goddess” Dance Class (Belly dancing/pole dancing) – This was so much fun and much more physically demanding than I had anticipated. You need a lot of upper body strength (I couldn’t barely straighten my arms for 3 days afterwards). There was a dress code, dim lights, and loud bass-driven music.  I left with a new appreciation for the “erotic arts,” as those people are in seriously good shape.

Making a habit of trying new things has brought me so much joy and growth. 2016 has been an adventure and I can’t wait to see what happens in 2017. 

Thanks for reading! 

❤ Kailea

 

 

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