New Year, New Experience

I have recently been reflecting on the importance of sharing novel experiences with loved ones, perhaps because the pandemic encouraged us to stick to the familiar. Novelty can strengthen any relationship, whether that is with a friend, a family member or a partner, so it is definitely worth planning in. It is also worth bearing in mind that if you feel stuck in a rut, the dis-ease may manifest as physical or mental ill health and prevention is better than cure.

A simple day trip to the coast with my partner at the weekend made me realise just how energising a change of scene can be. It would have been easy not to go, not to spend hours in the car when we had plenty of other things to be getting on with, but as it turned out, nothing was more important than taking the time and making the effort to go somewhere neither of us had been before and to explore.

I love the sea and revisiting favourite beaches, but seeing a completely new stretch of the coast at West Wittering was stimulating to all the senses: the sea mist rolling in with the breakers, that special sea smell, the cool, damp air and the taste of salt on the skin. I even managed to fully immerse myself in the experience with a cheeky dip and rewarmed afterwards with hot chocolate from a flask, sitting on a bench cut into the dunes for shelter. We walked as far as we could in both directions along the beach, enjoying the changing patterns in the sand and the changing views. Afterwards I felt as though I had been plugged into the mains and my battery recharged - all the better for having shared the experience.

It has reminded me to schedule more times like that with loved ones, like discovering historic houses and gardens with my Mum, trying out new walking routes with friends and new eateries with family. And that is the other trick, not just the novelty, but to plan it. If it isn’t in the diary, it can get pushed back to never...

I hope that by sharing this, I have encouraged you to share something novel, whether that is trying a new activity, learning a new skill, exploring a new area or whatever you can come up with. Afterall, to quote Piglet in The House at Pooh Corner: “It’s so much more friendly with two.”

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