Looking ahead to my day 3, I knew I was in for a challenge. I had work in Highland Park until noon, an appointment in Beverly Hills at 2:45, and plans with a friend in Ktown at 5. Public transit and/or traffic being the way it is, I barely had time to accomplish those three things– let alone have 3+ new experiences. And when did my trademark insomnia kick into full effect? The night before, when I slept for 20 minutes max. Clearly, I wasn’t staying out much later than 5.

Meanwhile, my apartment was getting messy, and my laundry situation was bordering on out of control. Luckily, my dad had suggested some things that don’t involve changing location.

My dad is both a psychiatrist and an expert on eastern spirituality, so naturally he gives good advice. “Start a new morning ritual,” he said. “Perhaps a sun salutation. I read about a poet who kept a small notebook in her pocket, and wrote down three things each day. At night, try a new meditation. Put your energy centers to sleep. There are your three new things.”

“I can tell that you’re experiencing a lot of self-doubt,” he said. “You have to let that self-doubt go. Reinvent yourself every day.”

Thing #8: Start the day with monks

Sun salutations weren’t new to me, and the sun wasn’t up to salute anyway. I usually listen to fast-paced, high-energy music to get ready in the morning. Instead of relying on frantic music to wake me up, what if I woke up naturally to soothing chants? I listened to Holy Sepulchre Church Psalms. It was actually a very unique and pleasant experience. I even managed to be more productive than usual, doing my laundry while I prepared for the day.

Thing #9: Write down three things over the course of the day

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“I hate writing,” Dorothy Parker once said. “I love having written.” Amen to that, sister. I took immediately to this new daily habit. It was a low-pressure way to inspire new projects. As I walked home from the laundromat at twilight, sprinklers tickled my ankles like minnows in a pond. See that? That’s one of the things I noted.

Thing #10: Visit Occidental College

During a working interview, the mom walked the baby and I around Occidental College. The school opened in 1887, and is home to LA’s oldest college football rivalry. The campus has no shortage of tranquil little areas– lines of benches, shaded walkways framed with flora, and the fountain you see at the top of the article. “This is definitely a new thing,” I said, snapping a picture. And yes, I got the job.

Thing #11: Eat a cronut

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Doing this challenge hasn’t just brought me to new places– it’s made me more aware of the places I already know. For example, I’ve been to Union Station scores of times, and didn’t notice the aquarium until yesterday.

A few steps away at Barista Society, I spotted my first IRL cronut. I’ve heard New Yorkers talk about this “eat it to say you did” fad, but I hadn’t gotten a chance to try it until now. Literally toppling under the weight of strawberries, whipped cream and nutella by the time I’d gotten home, I now understand what the hype is about.

I quickly set about cleaning my place before my friend came. But, he never showed. It’s a bit of a callback to why I started this to begin with. He would later text me to apologize, but didn’t offer a reasonable explanation– let alone explain why he stood me up instead of at least flaking. They say that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for your enemy to feel the response.

Thing #12: Meditate on forgiveness

I found some premade forgiveness-based meditations online, but I knew I had the concept covered. It made me feel better of course, but it also raised questions. At what point am I simply protecting myself from disloyal people, and at what point am I becoming one myself? It felt good to grow as a person, when I could have just felt bad for myself. Who knew my Day 3 would allow for so much?
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