Do you like racing big wheels down the hills in the rain? I do.
When I was in middle school, I was a picky eater. I didn't eat meat and I didn't eat any vegetables besides corn, potatoes, and artichokes. If it weren't for my parents cleverly blending all sorts of vegetables into pasta sauce, I'd probably be about four feet tall and be even skinnier than I am now. I told people that I didn't like meat or vegetables, but in reality I just didn't know; I stubbornly refused to try them.
This sounds ridiculous, but we do it all the time. We write off certain activities that we've never experienced, usually because of a lack of information. Recently I've been challenging my prejudices by doing things that don't particularly appeal to me. It comes back to the risk/reward idea: if I don't like the activity I've wasted an hour of my time (because I'll leave if it seems hopeless in the first hour), but if I do like it I might find an awesome new hobby or interest.
Take monster truck rallies, for example. I've never had any real interest in monster truck rallies before. None of my friends or family have ever recommended that I go see one. I could have easily died happy without ever going to a monster truck rally. They're for white trash, right?
Enter Monster Jam 2010. A friend heard about the monster truck rally, thought it would be funny to dress up and go to Monster Jam, which was coming through the bay. I, in turn, tried to recruit other friends, including my friend Christophe. He declared that "zee French do not go to zees things", but in the end was somehow dragged to the Coliseum in Oakland.
Assuming that the rest of the bay area was equally unexcited about such plebian entertainment, we headed to the event an hour late. To our surprise we were met by traffic and a long ticket line that ate up another hour. In the end we paid $30 each for the last seats available, standing room in the handicapped section, determined to see the final hour of truck-crushing goodness.
It was worth every penny. Even Christophe was standing up, pumping his fists, screaming for Monster Mutt (our favorite truck). I may not invest in a wardrobe of wife-beaters and follow Monster Mutt around the country, but I'd definitely go to another rally if it came through. Most importantly, having so much fun at Monster Jam made me wonder what else I might be missing out on. Since then I went to a ballet, have started learning to play go, visited a nudist resort, plan on going to a destruction derby, and hope to see an opera soon.
Next time you're looking for something interesting to do, don't just consider what you like doing, consider also what you know nothing about. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Here are some suggestions from me. I'd love to hear your suggestions as well:
- Going to a musical
- Going to a ballet
- Sky diving
- Programming (way easier to start than you think.)
- Go Kart Racing