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People Share A Time They Tried Something New And It Totally Paid Off

Make 2020 the year you try something new!

There's no time like the present to try something you've never done before! Here are 11 inspiring stories from people who tried something new and have no regrets:

"My friend dared me to try muay thai just once."

I used to walk by this small grungy-looking muay thai gym every day. It was dark and gross and full of scary people who looked like they knew what they were doing, aka somewhere I could never fit in. But my friend dared me to try it just once with her, and after one session of almost fainting and puking our guts out, we were hooked! Suddenly the scary people were our friends and over the course of a year, we really felt like we fit in. — Jo S.

"I tried kayaking even though I'm not a swimmer."

This past summer, I visited LA for the first time, and my friends and I drove down to La Jolla Cove since we learned that you could kayak as part of a group tour around the caves there. I had never kayaked before and I couldn't swim, so I knew going out on the open water was a huge risk, but somehow, I was more concerned about getting stung by the stingrays that chilled by the shore...I got a life vest and helmet and got into a kayak with my friend for the two-hour tour. It was definitely the best thing I did for myself that summer. I easily became quite good at it and I learned that I LOVED kayaking and the feeling of being on the water. Now when I go on vacations close to beaches, I always check for kayak rentals. And, learning to kayak even pushed me to get serious about learning how to swim since that skill would keep safe if I were to fall out of a kayak at any point. — Jasmin S.

"I started taking nonfiction writing workshops last year."

I wanted to focus more on my writing craft and work on more creative projects for myself. While I was initially terrified by the idea of having strangers read and provide feedback on some very personal pieces, it's been a really incredible experience. I've made a bunch of new writer friends (one of my instructors even wound up adopting a cat I rescued!) and I look forward to their feedback in each session. Plus, it's been really inspiring reading others' work, supporting each other, and seeing their pieces get published. I've also had a workshopped personal essay published and started volunteering as a reader for a local literary journal last year. — Emmy F.

"I booked a very impulsive but much-needed solo trip."

My 25th birthday was coming up, and while I had basically evaded any kind of real celebration for the previous decade, I decided to make this birthday a memorable one. I had been itching to get out of the country for a while, and I kept talking to friends about wanting to see France, so I booked a very impulsive but much-needed solo trip one night a few weeks before my birthday. I explored as much of the art, nature, food, and history of Nice and Paris as I could in 6 days, totally at my pace and without some strict itinerary, and it felt good. I spent all my money, but all things considered, I have no regrets and would recommend it to anyone. — Samra S.

"I taught myself how to play the guitar."

In high school, I was our band’s only trombone player. As a joke I asked my band teacher if instead of the trombone, could I play the guitar in the pit band for the drama club’s production that year. For some reason my teacher called my bluff and said yes. I did not know how to play the guitar. BUT that semester I took the time to teach myself! I didn’t play it in the production (the drama club director thought we, as an entire band, were too lousy sounding and went with a piano track instead) but to this day I still play around with a guitar whenever I’m stuck on something and need to think. — Tim U.

"A couple of years ago, I started getting community supported agriculture vegetables every week."

It's really helped me eat more vegetables I never thought I would eat. It's a good way to try new foods and support local farms. — Ashley B.

"I learned how to make balloon animals."

"When I was between my first and sophomore years of college, I needed a summer job. I ended up taking the job of a birthday clown who went to different parties across central North Carolina. Initially, this sounds like a job that sucks. I liked it a lot, though, and I learned how to make balloon animals for that job. That skill ended up paying off big time. In my senior year of college, I made animal balloons in the local park for a dollar each, and I could make $500 in a day. I ended up buying my first car that way, which I drove to California. To this day, I still use that skill as a fun party trick." — Brian B.

"When I was 14, I went trip to Costa Rica to learn how to surf."

The whole process was a lesson in sticking with something. I have a habit of giving up on things if I’m not immediately good at them, but surfing is really hard and you just have to keep trying until you get it. It took me the better part of a week to stand up on the board but by the time it was time to leave, I was a pro (and by pro I mean I was able to stand up on a wave and without requiring an aquatic rescue). I haven’t surfed in many years now but I really want to take lessons this summer and get back into it. It’s somehow a bit scary and yet very relaxing at the same time. —Kemi A.

"I took an improv class while waiting for a spot in a sketch writing class."

I came to New York with the hopes of one day becoming a comedy writer so I signed up for a sketch writing class as soon as I could. As expected, I loved it and wanted to sign up for the next level ASAP, but it kept selling out before I could nab a spot. Finally, I figured I'd take an improv class while I waited, thinking it couldn't hurt and might even improve my writing skills in a roundabout way. Well, that first improv class led to three more and me joining a team! Not only did improv improve my writing, but I also made a ton of new friends and gained a lot of much-needed confidence. — Casey C.

"I relearned how to ride a bike as an adult."

As a child, I knew how to ride a bike and forgot. I forgot so much that once, in a study abroad program in college, I fell into a Dutch cornfield while trying to ride a bike.

That said, for environmental and health reasons, I wanted to pick it back up as an adult. I live in Los Angeles, which is famous for its car culture. I decided to start riding a bike six miles to work each way. I started slowly at first, carefully plotting routes to take the smallest roads. As I got better and better at it, I was more willing to take major roads like Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard.

These days, I'm very comfortable biking across the city. On a day to day basis, the bike gets me to most places faster than my car would. It's a habit I'm very glad I picked up, and I try to encourage others in my city to do the same. — Paul P.

"I got bangs after a bad breakup — and didn't regret it."

After graduating college I went through a tough breakup and was unceremoniously chucked into the real world alongside all the other graduates unsuccessfully looking for a job in the vast career landscape. I was living with my parents, feeling pretty down about my prospects, and so, like any other 21-year-old girl, I decided to get bangs so I could feel like I was in control of something. I was told by friends and acquaintances alike that you should NEVER get a drastic haircut when you're at a low point. I did it anyway and the bangs looked GREAT. I was the new woman that every person considering bangs hoped they'd become. I regret nothing. — Kristin R.