What Does Try New Things Really Mean?

Mina Samuels
4 min readJul 5
Nick Fewings on Unsplash

My latest podcast addiction is Dr. Sharon Blackie’s interviews on Hagitude, The podcast is conversations with a diverse collective of women approaching, experiencing or on the other side of menopause. When it was first suggested to me, I had a moment of What? Who me? Oh no, is that what you think of me? I never lie about my age. And yet, her assumption that it would resonate for me, caught me up short. Brought me closer in on the reality of my age. This is, in fact, a podcast for me, a woman who has gone through menopause. Then, I listened to the podcast. And listened to another episode and another one and so on. Almost everyone had at least a nugget that grabbed my attention. And her interview with Peggy Orenstein was unusually provocative. I found myself questioning them out loud. In the episode, Peggy talks about the need for women, as they age, to keep being curious. To try new things that we aren’t good at. Okay. Yes, and …

My question: what does she mean by new things? As in, brand new? Or might the newness reside in the very act of continuing things we’ve done for years, in a different way, as modified by age. I was thinking, in particular, about our engagement with sports. That special challenge of staying curious and engaged with a sport, maybe especially one we used to be quite good at, when we can no longer perform at the same level. When we are no longer good at the sport.

Sure, yes, there’s age-adjusted this and that. We rate ourselves now strictly against our cohort and might try to ignore the broader category of all women. I was never a terrific athlete. And, I did my share of road races and triathlons in which I placed in the top five among women. Now? That doesn’t happen. In fact, for the most part, I’ve given up participating in races. Age adjusting was not enough of a palliative. Because, the bottom line is that I am no longer as fast and strong and that loss comes with some mourning.

I am grateful that the loss did not make me want to quit, as I have seen (understandably) with many people I know. I am not the only one to miss my younger self. As I listened to Peggy talk about curiosity and new things, it occurred to me that continuing to engage with a long-loved sport is a genuine and valid version of trying something new. The curiosity comes in figuring out how to evolve the relationship…

Mina Samuels

Writer. Performer. Citizen. Traveler. Enthusiast. Author of Run Like a Girl 365 Days A Year and other books. www.minasamuels.com