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HomeCultureThe Inspiration

It’s Never Too Late to Try Something New

unpopular opinion that we’d really like to make popular: it’s totally okay to be bad at something you’ve just started.

In fact, we’d argue, that’s almost half the fun in trying something new. There’s no shame in being a beginner. And there’s certainly a level of grace we should all afford each other when we’re learning new skills. , in which you find yourself taking on a new activity, habit, or form of Recreation that you really want try just for the hell of it — even if you’re not too sure how good you’ll be.

Gen-Z, the totally oblivious, the arrogant, and even jaded journalists have joined this movement to normalize the act of learning without fear of judgment — from others and yourself.

So, go on. Dust off the bucket list of activities that you shelve year after year, and first understand that they are not far-reaching in the slightest. Now is the time! Try to check something off that list. And if you find yourself wanting a few extra additions, go ahead and keep reading.

1. Learn to Pole Dance Without the Pole Part

No, it’s not just regular dance then. While we’re waiting impatiently for enclosed studio spaces to make their graceful re-entry into society, get yourself toned and readied for the art, sans pole.

Pole dancing, like all legit art forms, requires refinement and precision. While we’re still stuck at home, get the basics down starting with these exercises.

sammy picone dancing on a pole in her living room
Doing Things With Sammy Picone. Click here to read our 2019 story with the Recreational pole dancer.
three plates of chicken dishes on a white table by chef lo alalay
Follow chef Lo Alalay on Instagram to live vicariously through their food spreads.

2. Nail Down One Really Good Recipe

Every person needs a party trick in their back pocket, and food is never a wrong answer. Set your heart (err, stomach) on one simple but timeless recipe — then pull it out the bag when social gatherings are a thing again.

Lo Alalay, a New York-based chef and food consultant, believes everyone should know a good chicken braise. Theirs is topped with shaved fennel and delightful lemon peels — and it’s more beginner in practice than it presents.

Pro Tip: Lo Alalay’s Chicken Braise Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients:

6 chicken thighs

3 heads of fennel, 1/4 sliced at the vertical

6 garlic cloves

3 lemons (peels only)

1 tbsp ground fennel seed

3 cups chicken stock

Boil a medium pot of water. Salt generously and blanch fennel until tender, but not mush. Drain and set aside. Season thighs with salt and ground black pepper. Preheat oven to 350°. In a braising pan or heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Brown the thighs on each side, then pull out and set aside. Add more oil to low heat in the same pan. Bloom the ground fennel seed and chicken renderings. Once the fennel seed is fragrant, add the lemon peels. Then add the garlic cloves and stock. Let simmer on medium-low for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, return the chicken to pot, add blanched fennel. Cover and braise in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. 

Tastiest served with saffron rice or crispy potatoes.

3. Make Something Old Feel New Again

Sometimes it seems even more intimidating to relearn an old passion than find a whole new one. We can empathize first-hand. “I’m going to get back in the saddle for the first time since graduating from my collegiate D1 equestrian team,” says Jada Taylor from Team OV. “I always rode to ride and be with horses, but I also always competed. This will be the first time I’ll be truly riding just to ride. The feeling I have riding a horse will never go away, but it may feel different now. And that different might be scary.”

Even still, we say go for it. Your muscle memory is more powerful than you think — and finding your way back to an old sport can be incredibly gratifying.

The feeling I have riding a horse will never go away, but it may feel different now. And that different might be scary. – Jada Taylor

4. Channel “Jenny From the Block” on Wheels

Perhaps you’ll indulge us in retrieving this little viral TikTok from the depths of your quarantine archive of well-binged content. Roller blading and skating made a mega-sized comeback in 2020, thanks to cool kids like Ana (we even got her to create one just for us!). Chances are, your mom still has an old pair tucked away in the “do not touch” corner of your garage. Or grab yourself a clearance pair and hit the streets — you’ll get the mechanics down eventually!

6. Take a Cue From Team OV

“Mine is the anti-Recreation: getting to bed earlier and getting restful sleep to energize me for all the activities.” – Catherine Casey, Production Associate

“My goal this year is to start rowing. With the pandemic and indoor gyms being a red flag, I thought I’d try something I haven’t done before outside.” – Rey Joaquin, Experience Designer

“My new activity has been abstract painting. I love that there’s no right answer, you just put some paint on the canvas and see what happens. ‘Mistakes’ are inevitable, but all it takes is a little white paint to have a fresh start.” – Katie Spelman, Merchandise Planner

‘Mistakes’ are inevitable, but all it takes is a little white paint to have a fresh start. – Katie Spelman

What did we miss? Let us know what new forms of Recreation you’re planning on getting up to this year.

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