9 Things I have done and would recommend to anyone (in no particular order)

9. Live Abroad

 

I'm not going to pretend living in Japan was an easy time for 2.5 years. But being perpetually out of place is amazingly refreshing when you've grown up feeling a bit out of place. The friends I made there--and the memories--sometimes make me wish I had never left.

 

8. Experiment with Cooking

 

Go on. Use the cinnamon in your marinara. Put chili pepper in the brownie mix. I'm serious.

 

7. Be a Tourist

 

I grew up in Orlando. And let me tell you, there is great value in going to a theme park on an off day. Doing something touristy in your own town really gives you a sense of ownership of the place. You had also better know your own city when someone comes to visit.

 

6. Join the Club

 

...or form one. I still miss my frisbee group from Japan. Great exercise, great company, and free.

 

5. Keep in Touch

 

What are these connections if we just let them fall apart? True, you may not want to be best friends with everyone you've ever met, but once you establish a foundation for friendship, why not nurture it? Call someone and remind him/her of your existence. I have rekindled many good friendships this way.

 

4. Read a Party

 

Know when to stay out all night and know when to go home. And always have a way to do it safely. (I have both done these and not done these.)

 

3. Get on a boat

 

One of the only times I've been on a small boat (not a canoe), it was one of the most exhilarating experiences: ocean air rushing at you, bouncing on the waves--very nifty. If you have a friend with a boat, be extra nice to them.

 

2. Acupuncture

 

It just feels really cool and doesn't hurt at all. (Disclaimer: I don't recommend it to hemophiliacs, of course.)

 

1. Long-distance biking

 

My partner and I did it the hard way and took a couple of granny bikes across the Shimanami Bridge and back (about 37 miles). We crossed three or four islands, over steep hills, and stopped for well-earned salt ice cream. Afterwards we gorged ourselves on delicious Indian food and hobbled home. Why was this good? At one point, pushing the pedals was so hard I thought I wasn't going to make it. Then something happened. At some primal level, I knew I had to go on. My worries and insecurities vanished, I forgot about the pain and became solely focussed on that horizon. I have never been an athlete but, on that day, I was a survivor.

What have you done?

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