Most research on the psychology of human behavior seems to agree with one basic point: in order to change our lives, we have to do some new things in new ways.
And sometimes we can shake up our imaginations by choosing to do new things that may not seem profound or life-changing, but merely give us some inkling of a new perspective, maybe even a new paradigm.
And three easy tasks you could set for yourself in three areas of life:
1. Learn something new.
Right now, I am considering salsa lessons, though I haven't made a final decision yet. To find out if I choose this one and accomplish my goal, you'll have to check me out at next year's New Year's Eve party.
2. Travel to some new place.
This doesn't have to be some farflung destination, but can be somewhere fairly close and inexpensive to reach that you just haven't checked out before.
3. Taste something new.
This one's easy for me. Since my release from prison, I have been not only savoring the exquisite pleasure of foods I hadn't had for twelve years, but trying new delights like my current adventure in gourmet olives. And I realized I have never, in my entire life, tasted a luxury food often written about and elevated to almost cult status by gourmands and gourmets: truffles. I have no idea what they taste like, though I know they are related to mushrooms. So my first trip down that culinary path will be a small jar of Truffled Sea Salt from:
This is the company I've recently gotten some of my new favorite olives from, and I love my little spice grinder with a mix called Grains of Desire (who could resist that name?) It consists of black peppercorns, nutmeg, cloves, orange rind, red rose petals (do these taste different than white or yellow roses?), grains of paradise (I'll have to Google that one), and ginseng. Opulence itself and for only $5.75 per 1.3 ounce grinder, which should last months even using it as my substitute for pepper.
So I've just designed a task for myself--to taste one new food every month for the next year. I've already got my eye on Maple Bacon Pretzels as a possible follow-up to my Truffled Sea Salt.
The truffled sea salt is maybe the single most expensive food item I've every purchased, $35.50 for 3.4 ounces. But that seems a small price to pay to join the millionaires and jet setters who discuss the various kinds of summer and winter truffles, and whether they are more effectively dug up by pigs or dogs.
Of course, I could go completely overboard and order one piece of fresh Italian white truffle weighing in at half an ounce for just under $200. But I'll see how I like my first sniff and first particle of the truffled sea salt on my tongue first. And for me to even ever consider spending that much, it had better be in the same class as an authentic Philadelphia cheesesteak, delicious French Fries, a fresh baked loaf of Italian or French bread, or dark chocolate covered blueberries in terms of taste sensations. I've never been one to become attached to a food that you have to grow accustomed to after a disappointing first taste just because everyone else says it's wonderful.
And one of the things that is wonderful about today's world is that we don't have to be world travelers to discover all these amazingly diverse foods--they're all just a click away online. And the only downside is you have to be careful not to drool all over your keyboard.