On Sunday night, we were 13 gathered around our dining room table for a late Thanksgiving dinner.
I’d spent three days immersed in prep. From creating the menu, painting name cards for everyone, and baking two different cakes, setting the table, and preparing all the fixings. I had fun!
For me, the kitchen is one of my happy zones. People often laugh at me when I tell them this is the first time I’ve made the dish I’ve made that I am setting before them.
“Isn’t that risky? What if it fails?” is often the response.
Fact is, I love experimenting with new recipes (I quickly grow bored of making the same thing again and again) and… most recipes can be saved before hitting the failure button.
This weekend, both cakes I made, along with two different veggie dishes, were new to me. All four came out well — though I did have to rescue the cauliflower from blah to ensure it pleased the palate of all our guests.
In my book, stretching out of my comfort zone, experimenting with new ideas, learning new things is critical to living a rich and full life, no matter my age.
For example, recently, I started learning new video editing software. Ouch! It’s professional software versus the semi-professional one I am accustomed to. My mind is boggled with all the options, processes, and opportunities to create film magic. It is a slow, arduous process of reading directions, following along in videos, figuring out what works and doesn’t work, making mistakes, losing my edits, and starting all over again.
It’s frustrating and invigorating.
It takes me an inordinately long time to do something I could easily do on my old software in a quarter of the time.
But, every moment I spend learning the new software is time spent stretching my brain, my thinking capacities, my memory muscles, my ability to learn and grow.
And all of that is healthy for me.
I think it’s one of the big takeaways for me in having spent the past month writing and thinking about aging well. We can’t stop doing, thinking, creating, being all of who we are.
We all have many gifts, talents, and unexplored creative terrain. The key to getting older without getting old is to always keep pushing into the unknown territory of our limitless capacity to continually be creating better with everything we think, do, and say as we become ‘the more’ of who we are becoming.