Forget the cat, curiosity is good for you
It was probably some Puritan long ago who introduced the idea that “Curiosity killed the cat.” I’m sure they had it wrong: more likely, it is curiosity that gives a cat its proverbial nine lives. Curiosity can serve as your personal rebirth. If you are concerned about any dangers it might bring, consider this: Curiosity builds character. It creates powerful life experiences. It is to be celebrated.
New experiences can be immensely rewarding. Apart from their sheer enjoyment, they replenish your stock of memory and imagination, and can even make significant contributions to your future. Here are some suggestions for the would-be explorer:
1. Celebrate your curiosity
Make a list of some of the things you are curious about – as many as you can think of. Do not edit the truth. If you are interested in cabaret singing, candlemaking or cross-dressing, that’s great. Resolve to fulfil your curiosity about these things.
2. Set yourself a curiosity quota
Each week, do something simply to satisfy your curiosity. Make it a fun game. Pick an area in which you have no experience, and plunge in to make your discoveries. Establish a curiosity quota, and fill it every week. If you find that you like being curious, raise your weekly quota to two or three items. You can even set yourself a daily curiosity target.
Here are some ideas to help you fill your quota:
Read outside your circle. I know a woman who reads everything. She has no pets and yet she reads pet magazines; she has no children at home, yet reads parenting magazines; she is not African-American, yet reads Ebony.
Take a new class. Often, the older we get, the more constricted our world becomes if we do not consciously continue to expand it. Going to classes on topics unfamiliar to you is a way to open yourself up to worlds of new possibility. Even if you do not stick with a new class, you are sure to learn something.
Seek out different kinds of people. Do not make the mistake of assuming that the only people you can have a great conversation with are people very like yourself. Everybody has great stories to tell, and interesting opinions about life – although some are better than others at communicating. Take every opportunity to go where different kinds of people gather – a wine lovers’ dinner, a meeting of local environmentalists, a bookstore workshop.
3. Fight the “timid body” syndrome
Do you ever hear yourself say that you are too old or too out of shape to do something? That is an excuse. Nothing you ever do of a physical nature will feel natural the first time you do it. Be willing to look and feel incompetent – to be the clumsy one in a yoga class, or the last person to pick up a new dance step. Your new physical venture will one day seem as easy as driving your car. Do it, your body will adjust and you will be expanded.
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