You know, I’ve never really liked anything the first time I tried it, perhaps with the exclusion of food. Games, hobbies, new cities, people– they all make me slightly uncomfortable at first and then after Try 2 or Week 2 I can find myself practically boasting my love for them to any stranger who will listen.
Do you ever get that joyful bubbly feeling thinking about an activity or a sport you’ve been doing and then chuckle when you realize that this novelty, this new experience that’s practically making you overflow with joy, has only been a part of your life for a couple days or weeks?
Or have you ever looked back on a friendship you’ve had forever, and remembered how much you guys actually really hated each other at first. And isn’t it crazy how much you love each other now? At what point did that happen? Have you ever stayed up all night feverishly reading a book you found boring and gave up on six years ago?
These things make you think about how easy it would’ve been just to pass all these experiences by, without ever having discovered all those brilliant books and sports and songs and people.
Most of the best things in life are acquired tastes. Life doesn’t just hand it to you– you have to reach out a little and claim the experience. I have four good examples:
1) Alcohol. The lesson from this is that the first time is always messy. When I first tried alcohol I wasn’t really in tune with the effects it was having on my body, and after 6.5 shots of marshmallow vodka I thought I was totally fine. I couldn’t understand what the big deal was about alcohol– I didn’t feel any different, until I stood up and puked into five different objects. After a couple more nights out, I started actually having some fun and adjusting to how my body felt. I’ve heard it’s much the same with sex and weed.
2) Music. I’m sure you’ve all heard a new song on the radio and hated it, only to find yourself turning it up a few weeks later. There’s this American band called Beirut that has a song called “So Allowed.” The first time I heard it, I thought it was just the most horrific combination of noises and I literally found it so overwhelming that I had to turn it off right away. After forcing myself to listen to it a few more times, the sounds kinda started to separate in my head and then by June it had become my summer anthem. I would totally recommend that song by the way.
3) People. Yes, people. How many of you can remember the first couple weeks of your older friendships? I know I can’t. Those awkward first conversations and tentative attempts to get to know each other are something I tend to gloss over in my mind when I envision my now-perfect friendships. There have been people who I didn’t really bond with the first or second time, but who promptly became some of my closest friends once the ice was broken. Sometimes you’ve just gotta give things some time to simmer before they really take off. And I’m glad I did take a chance on those people & vice versa! 🙂
And that brings me to my final example. As I get older (yes, I know I’m still hella young), I find myself liking more and more richer and wizened things, like wine and mushrooms and fiery hot sauces and a nice crisp cheddar. Maybe it’s because as you age life gets more complex or maybe it’s because you just start running out of simple things to try. Either way, I want you to start shooting for things in life like my next example,
4.) Aged blue cheese.
Now I’ll admit, I haven’t quite gotten there yet. The smell of an especially putrid blue cheese still turns me off of even the finest crackers or balsamic salad. But, to me, blue cheese seems like the ultimate slice of life: something rich and complex and experienced. I’m done with cheddars, especially the orange ones, and with all cheeses, for that matter, since I’m vegan. 😛 I’m not here to live a parmesan life. I can remember when I had to eat Babybels in tiny bites because it was too strong for me– I’ve come a long way since then!
So, I say, out with the mozzarellas and fetas! You are a Camembert, at least, maybe even a Roquefort or a Stinking Bishop! Whenever you’re considering whether to take the risk, to introduce yourself, to join the salsa club, to learn guitar; remember your worth. You are an opulent blue cheese. Envision the richness you’re shooting for in life and remind yourself that everything gets better after the first time….
You just have to take the first bite. 🧀