Did you ever play the game ‘I Never’? It’s typically a drinking game, where a group of people gather in a circle and one person starts by saying something he/she has never done before like, “I never dated a guy shorter than me” or “I never jumped out of a cake before.” Then if anyone in the game has done this thing, he/she takes a drink. If nobody in the circle has done it, then the person making the statement takes a drink. Then the next person goes. Got it? I haven’t played in a long long time, but recently I’ve been playing my own version of the game. Actually, it’s more of a challenge than a game, and it doesn’t involve drinking. Here’s how it goes:
Every day I do something I’ve never ever done before. That’s it. And every day I write down what my ‘I Never’ was.
Why am I doing it? Well, it started It as part of my ‘Alchemy Mastery Program‘ where we were given some homework to do, and we had to chose one item from a long list of exercises. I decided to try the one called ‘Practicing Fearlessness’ which entailed pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone every day for a week. I decided to do it by doing something I’d never done before every day, and I decided I would start on the day I became a velvet painting – something clearly out of my comfort zone. That was over 40 ‘I Nevers’ ago and I just can’t stop. I love it. I love it so much, that I’ve decided to track my ‘I Nevers’ on my blog. So I’ve added a menu bar and an “I Never Log” tab, where you can see a list of the ‘I Nevers’ I’ve done, with the most recent at the top.
Something I didn’t expect when I started this project was the enthusiasm people have for this idea. Some of my friends are doing it with me. The kids and their friends are full of suggestions, like: “You should go bare foot all day!” “You should wear your bra and underpants on the outside for a day!” Nadine and Miles have accepted this new aspect of my life, and are totally supportive when they are subjected to it’s side effects, like when I didn’t talk for a day, they were my voices, and this week we are all eating gluten-free. And then the other day when I was talking to the kids about drinking Miles said, “Getting drunk is on my I Never list for life!” Ha!
Isn’t it interesting how starting something new grows into something else, and ends up being something totally unexpected? That’s how I feel about my ‘I Never’ project. I thought it would be a fun assignment for a week, but now I see it as a powerful tool to help me move forward, or at least to help me recognize that I am moving forward. I thought it would be hard, but usually it’s not. I think that if I didn’t even try to do something new every day, I could probably, at the end of every day, pinpoint something new that I did. Couldn’t everybody?
But there’s trying something new – like a new movie or a restaurant – and there’s trying something new that makes you lean in, that challenges you, that moves you out of your comfort zone; a zone that can sometimes feel quite small, with no distinct borders, and with a lot of amazing stuff on the other side.
The ‘I Nevers’ on my list are varied – easy, hard, fun, not that fun, intentional, and spontaneous – but they are all things I want to do. They are not huge and they are not, on their own, life changing. They are just small steps that are moving me, one day at at time, into the unknown, to the new place I want to go.
You should try it too!
And, just for the record, I have both dated a guy shorter than me (friends called us Boris and Natasha) and I’ve jumped out of cake.