by Niall Doherty

So I’m off to Spain next week. I’ll be living there for four months.

I’ve lived abroad before, but never in a country that doesn’t speak English as its first language. I don’t know anyone in this city I’m moving to (Burgos), and I’ve just started learning Spanish (sin queso, por favor).

I’m feeling the fear and the doubt set in. Frank has been showing up regularly and whispering discouraging words, such as, “Why are you doing this again?Wouldn’t it be easier just to chill here in Ireland, where you already know lots of people and everything makes more sense?What if you hate Spain and regret ever moving there?

Annoying little fecker, so he is.

I’m pushing through all the resistance by framing my upcoming Spanish adventure as just another experiment. I like me some experimentation. In fact, I try to view my whole life as one big experiment. I like to go try new things, test my assumptions, take a few random turns here and there, see where I end up. Sometimes my experiments work out pretty well, other times not so much.

But it’s all good. I’m always learning, rarely bored. And I’m all about that you only regret the things you don’t do ish.

I figure the worst that could happen with me moving to Spain is that I’ll find the whole dealio completely overwhelming. I’ll struggle to make friends and pick up the language, and then I’ll leave and vow never to go back. Best case scenario is me becoming fluent in Spanish, making a whole bunch of new friends and enjoying the hell out of these next four months.

Yeah, methinks it’s worth risking the worst for a chance at the best. The biggest torture for me is not giving it a shot and forever wondering what if.

No fun.

How about you? What are you experimenting with? I hope you’re not settling for good enough just because it’s familiar and predictable. Nah, feck that. Go try something new, take a risk, see what happens. Whatever it is, give yourself permission to suck at it for a while, and don’t worry much about the outcome. It’s only an experiment.

Oh, but there’s one thing to remember though with this whole “everything is an experiment” approach: You have to take full responsibility for whatever happens.

I believe it’s fine to push things a little too far every now and then — if you never go too far, you’ll never know how far you can go — as long as you’re willing to be held fully accountable. Now that’s not such a big deal when you’re experimenting with your diet or your hairstyle, but it can get tricky when it comes to relationships and such. If an experiment of yours does go horribly wrong, you have to be strong enough to put your hand up and say my bad, I’ll learn from it and do better the next time.

Have good intentions from the outset, readjust as soon as you find yourself in the wrong, and make amends when you can; do those few things and you should be fine.

Now get out there and experiment with your legendary self.