Doing something new every day this month: What was I thinking

Tomorrow, Sept. 11, my baby boy will be 6 months old. I can hardly believe I’m saying that. Levi is now walking, talking … OK, maybe not walking or talking, but he does smile, laugh, chew on his toys, roll over, chat to his crib mobile and generally fill our lives with fun and happiness.

He’s great, all right — but being a mom is the most time-consuming experience I’ve ever had. I won’t bore you with details of the dozen-odd loads of laundry a week, marathon bottle-washing sessions or dancing like a Rockette while eating lunch to keep Levi entertained, but let’s just say that when I get to sit down and nurse him for 20 minutes or so, it’s a huge relief. Working full time and having a baby is hard work — to say the absolute least.

So when I heard myself saying, “That sounds like fun, why don’t I try it, too?” to my best friend’s plan to do something new every day in September, every fiber in my body was crying out, “What are you doing?!?”

I’m crazy, right? I’m so crazy. And before I knew it, I was agreeing not only to do 30 new things in September, but to blog about it, too. Someone have me committed.

When I got off the phone and had a chance to catch my breath, the fear really set in. Candice has much more free time than I do. Her list includes “ride in a hot-air balloon,” “go indoor skydiving” and “crash a wedding.” Me? I barely have time to make a cup of tea.

How in the world was I going to pull this off? After Levi goes to sleep, I have two, maybe three hours to myself. And I spend that time getting his clothes and bibs ready for day care, picking up toys, doing dishes, answering e-mails, maybe catching up on “True Blood” and spending a few precious moments with my husband. Where was I going to find the time to do something new every single day?

As much as I wanted to back out, I couldn’t let Candice down. She was so excited about doing this together. So as I started thinking of ways I could possibly make this work, it dawned on me that the timing couldn’t be better.

We’ve just celebrated Rosh Hashanah, and what more appropriate way to commemorate the new year than with an entire month of newness?

Rosh Hashanah is about starting fresh, trying new things, even doing things that scare you. It’s about taking action. The sound of the shofar is a wakeup call: Who are we? What path are we on? Can we continue as we were last year, or do we need to find a different way?

I’m a creature of habit. I revel in sameness, and it’s hard for me to break out of my routine. I’m not unhappy being this way, but still, I want to know: Could my life be better if I changed things up once in a while?

I can’t be passive this month. Every day I have to seek out something beyond my comfort zone. It’s a scary thought. And time has nothing to do with it — sure, it helps to have time to do the “big stuff,” to savor every activity. But ultimately, Rosh Hashanah and the 30 Days project are about taking action and transcending our everyday routine — whether it’s riding high in a hot air balloon, trying a new cuisine or just slipping a quarter into someone’s expiring parking meter.

Among the “new things” on my list: bake pesto rolls, learn five words in Chinese, and make a microloan through Kiva.org.

Come Oct. 1, maybe I’ll slip right back into my old ways. But I like to think I’ll come out of this experience with a greater appreciation for newness.

When I was a kid, every night at dinner my dad used to ask: “Did you learn something new today?” Hopefully, after this project is over, I’ll be able to add to that: “Did you do something new today?” And maybe, more often than not, I’ll be able to say yes.

To follow Candice and me on our 30 Days journey, visit our website at www.squirrelygirlies.com.

Rachel Leibold is a copy editor at j. She can be reached at [email protected]