By Abe Villarreal
Turning 35 years old last Friday felt like any other day of the year. I went to work. Had lunch with a friend. Attended a graduation party. Nothing out of the ordinary. Except for this: I committed to doing something new every day of my 35th year.
Impossible? I don't think so. You can do it, too.
Your new thing doesn't have to be a big thing. Tasting a new food. Meeting a new person. Visiting a new place. It's all achievable.
What may be challenging is the commitment. I'm doing it because the journey is undoubtedly going to be life-changing.
Saturday was Day 1. My new thing was simple. I ate shrimp tacos at a new taco shop in Deming, New Mexico. They were yummy! Ok. I'm in. Only 364 days to go.
Day 2 was a lot more exciting. The usual Saturday hike with my buddy Dezmond Wheeler became a fun adventure. Mostly because it was a decision to go out into the unknown.
Life's most memorable moments are unplanned.
We drove out from our small town of Silver City, passed the even smaller Pinos Altos, into the mountains of the Gila National Wilderness. We drove, and drove. And then we stopped just past a cattle guard.
We didn't know where we were. A sign said #232. We looked at each other and started walking.
With no idea on how far, or how steep, the trail would be, we just kept walking.
Our traditional Saturday hike location is Gomez Peak in the Little Walnut campground area. It's a good hike, but it can become routine.
This new spot, #232, was filled with tall pine trees, different kinds of vegetation, and fallen trees to climb over.
There were steep areas, and flat ones too. The freshness of the air, the smell of the environment, and the sound of wind making its way through the trees all added to make for an enjoyable hike.
Only one sign greeted us as we made our way up the mountain for more than an hour. We weren't sure how far it kept going, so we decided to turn back when we encountered a tree and some brush that blocked the trail.
During a break on a rock that we reached climbing over a barbwire fence, we decided that on an upcoming Saturday hike we'd make it a day-long experience.
So next time, we'll pack the water, a few protein bars, and a sandwich. The journey will need to be a little different. We'll go farther and step through unknown areas, so I can keep on my challenge to accomplishing 365 days of new things.
So far, it looks like my 35th year is going to be the best yet.
Abe Villarreal is the Director of Communications at Western New Mexico University. When not on campus, he enjoys writing about his observations on marketing, life, people and American traditions.