Horse surfing and social networking, it’s a whole new year.
First, dear reader, allow me to refresh your memory. Around this time last year, my trusty editor here at Five O’Clock magazine, Jon Goldmann, urged me to contribute to a special issue that would explore the “sensation of pushing personal boundaries into territories unknown.” One thing led to another, and we agreed that, instead of tackling the Tetons, I would set some goals for 2015 that I could actually achieve. We also decided that I would aim to do things I’d never done but that countless people do quite often. How’d I do? Well…
I ate a McDonald’s Big Mac with Cheese…tasty, but don’t crave another.
I Downloaded a Song On My iPhone…Sinatra’s “The Best Is Yet to Come”
I Took a Selfie…on several occasions
I Pumped My Own Gas…with help from my wife, Donna.
I Never Did Strap On a Pair of Skis… for a slide down—even a gently sloping hill, and I don’t think I ever will. At my age, I’d like to remain on intimate terms with my still-sturdy ankles and knees.
So here we are now, and once again I’ve set some goals that will extend my personal boundaries and take me into territories unknown. Drum roll, please! Without further ado, my list of new adventures for 2016…
Get Up On a Horse. Though I’ve never gone surfing or got my kicks on a motorcycle, I think I can find the courage to saddle up and ride a horse. I like horses. I don’t love them. Hmm, come to think of it, maybe I did have a little love for the big-hearted Secretariat, especially on that day in June of ’73 at Belmont Park when he won the third leg of the Triple Crown in record time and by an otherworldly 31 lengths. Donna, who once owned her own show horse and rode him in competition, has promised to take me horseback riding and teach me a few things. “Just warning you,” she said, “it’s a lot harder than pumping gas.”
Join Instagram and Tumblr. I’m already on Facebook, but after reading a story in the New York Times about a guy named Tyler Knott Gregson, I feel compelled to expand my social-networking horizon. You see, Gregson was an amateur poet who’s now a best-selling celebrity poet, thanks to his 560,000 followers on Instagram and Tumblr. According to the Times, back in November Gregson’s first poetry book, Chasers of the Light, had 120,000 copies in print. That’s humongous! His next book, All the Words Are Yours, had a first printing of 100,000. Also humongous! As you read this, I’ll be rewriting my unpublished novel.
Consume My First Chipotle Burrito. I’m not saying that never having stepped inside a Chipotle Mexican Grill is as unimaginable as never having eaten a McDonald’s hamburger. What gets me psyched about my pursuit of this particular goal is the element of danger. No eye-rolling, please. You might want to recall the recent E Coli outbreak…
Change a Tire. I can only recall getting one flat tire in all the many years I’ve been driving. It was in the late ‘80s, and I was driving our beat-up Toyota Corolla on I-95 when it happened. Neither of us had ever changed a tire. Luckily, Donna belonged to Triple A, and one of their guys came to our rescue. To be clear, I’m not counting on getting a flat tire any time soon, but I feel that I gotta man up and learn how to handle a jack and a lug wrench. You know, just in case. Which means practice, practice, practice. So the other day, I lifted the carpet in the truck of my 2006 Lexus for the first time—and voila! I beheld a fully-inflated spare tire and a bunch of tools, all shiny and chaste. I’m good to go!
Take a Yoga Class. Ask me what I know about yoga, and I’ll tell you it’s supposed to relieve stress and keep your body fit and flexible. I can also tell you that I know what the pose called downward dog looks like, and that hip women prefer Lululemon yoga outfits. That’s about it. Oh, wait. I also know that yoga was first practiced in India a long, long time ago. I’ll give it a shot, but here’s another thing I can tell you: Yoga is not nearly as cool as the ancient Indian art of snake charming.
Tickle the Ivories. Once I’ve unleashed my inner Yogi, maybe I will attempt to engage the piano man I’m certain is lurking inside me. Shouldn’t be terribly tough. As the legendary jazz pianist Thelonious Monk said: “There are no wrong notes.”