You must takes chances in order to appreciate what world offers

Last month one of my husband’s friends took us to dinner and insisted we all have the “Chef’s Experience,” which consisted of a variety of appetizers, main courses, and desserts picked by the chef. I was a bit hesitant about this.

I am not an adventurous eater. What if I didn’t like anything and I ended up still hungry? When I go out to eat, I usually stick with something I am familiar with to make sure I will enjoy what I order and to not feel as if I am wasting my money on something I don’t find appetizing.

I agreed and was relieved when bread was the first item brought to our table. Whew! At least I could fill up on bread if nothing else tasted good. As different foods appeared in front of us, I decided I should at least taste everything, even the dishes I didn’t think I would like. My husband and his friend enjoy all sorts of food, so I knew the food (and the money spent on the food) wouldn’t go to waste if items didn’t appeal to me.

Some foods I enjoyed, some were just OK and others were not my thing, but I did sample all the different items. I am glad I took the opportunity to expand my food horizons. Now I have some new options for future meals.

Many times we are presented with opportunities that, like my restaurant experience, push us to undertake new things. We may be hesitant to start. What if we don’t enjoy it? What if we’re not good at it? Will it be a waste of our time and money?

Attempting new experiences can be scary since we don’t always know what to expect, but maybe we can minimize some of the risk.

Cost is always a big factor for me, yet we can sample many things for free. The Hamilton Community Center and Ice Arena regularly has events where you can try playing hockey for free. I check out books at the library to find and read new authors. I use free online music services to listen to new music before I decide to purchase it.

Bringing a friend along on your new adventures can help reduce your anxiety. You can encourage each other and can commiserate if the experience doesn’t go well. Remember that when you attempt a new activity, you don’t have to end up loving it and you don’t have to make a big commitment. You’re just trying something. I didn’t care for all the new food I tasted.

Give new experiences a chance; you might end up liking them. A year or two ago I agreed to walk in the Mill Race 5K with a couple of friends. I walked regularly and thought it would be fun to spend time with my friends. One friend wanted to run parts of the route, so we ran with her.

Afterward, I decided to try running. I had always dismissed running as a possible activity; walking and biking were my things, but as I started running I discovered it was enjoyable (when it’s not too hot or too cold). I would still rather fly down a hill on my bike, but running lifts my mood just as biking and walking do. Additionally, losing a few pounds was an unexpected benefit of running.

So, when you have the chance, try something new. You might discover a new favorite!

Susan Cox is one of The Republic’s community columnists, and all opinions expressed are those of the writer. She is a mother, an adjunct instructor of English at Ivy Tech Community College-Columbus and a substitute teacher for Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. She can be reached at editorial@therepublic.com.