Try Something New

An Elmo Application for the iPod

My husband called me into his office last night and checked out the “side of my head” to see if I still had my cochlear implant and hearing aid on to hear. I kind of grin to myself when he does this, for after all… I’d not hear him call me into his office if I didn’t have my cochlear implant on my head!

He said, “Can you put headphones on over your implant and hear?

I looked to see what headphones he was talking about and noted that it was his nice “noise canceling” headphones and not the ear buds. “I’m sure I can,” I responded, “but I’ve not tried!

Now I’m likely one of the few Americans that does not own an iPod. I also do not have an MP3 player (although I think those aren’t as popular now!). It may have something to do with the fact that I have a hearing loss. Prior to the cochlear implant, I had become accustomed to living without music. (Kinda of sad if you think about it…) My CI has some fancy attachments that I can use so that I can actually use an iPod if I want. However, usually I sit at my computer and listen to iTunes. I make a special time to do that, and enjoy the music better if I’m not busy doing something else that requires my concentration.

My husband has an iPod touch. He is a very techie/gadget kind of guy. I’ve heard him dreaming out loud in his sleep about the new iPad. (I’m fibbing of course… I’m deaf at night!). He held out the headphones to me and motioned for me to put them on my head.

I adjusted them to where I could comfortably place them over the processor (the headphones were HUGE and covered my entire ear!). He handed me his iPod touch. I stared at him blankly. “Ummm. I haven’t a clue as to what to do you know!” I grimaced. (Hubby and I are blissfully married because ‘opposites attract’ as I do not have any techie/gadget cells in my body).

He motioned with his finger, and showed me how to “touch” the screen. My breath caught in my throat as Elmo trotted onto the screen. As only Elmo can, he described how I could make my own monster friend. I listened to the instructions, and made my very own monster with Elmo’s help (see above). Elmo showed me how to make my monster friend dance, exercise, and more. My eyes were wide and my grin infectious… I thought.

One look at hubby and I could tell he was afraid he’d never see his iPod touch again. “No worries, honey!” I explained. “I don’t want your iPod!

Trying not to look obviously relieved, he motioned for me to remove the headphones. “I can buy you one, you know!

Naw! This is a cute application, but I’ll stick to what I know best. Thanks for sharing that!” I replied.

At Least Try

Now I might fall in love with the iPod, if I sat and used it for a longer period of time. I tried it and it worked well for me. However, I really like my iTunes! In spite of how cute that Elmo application was, I wasn’t ready to invest my money on something I may not use much. I am happy with what I have. What if I told my family members (desperately looking for birthday gift ideas) that I did not want an iPod even though I had never tried one? My tone and words might convince them I was serious, but how believable am I if I’ve never tried it?

I remember when my kids were little how difficult it was to get them to try new foods. They weren’t allowed to wrinkle their noses and say “no thank you” to something they’d never tried before! I encouraged them to always “at least try” new foods.

Sometimes we don’t try new things because we are afraid we’ll fail. I could have taken one look at the iPod laying in one of my husband’s hands, and the headphones in the other and said, “Ermm… no thank you dear!” How would I have ever known if I could use the headphones that way? I would have missed seeing Elmo dance across a screen. I would have missed the opportunity to prove to myself that the tiny, slim, techno-intimidating iPod wouldn’t blow up if I touched the screen wrong. I had to at least try!

Trying Something New

Why don’t people like trying new things? Hopefully, I have modeled good behavior for my kids that they should be willing to try new things before deciding on a different route. Obviously I’m not talking about drugs, alcohol, sex or other self-destructive behaviors! I sat down and tried to come up with a list of why people do not like trying something new:

1. Fear of failure. What if I blow it? What if I am not able to complete an 8 km race? What if I don’t reach my weight goal?

2. Old habits. I’ve always done it this way. Why should I try something new? The way I do things now work well for me. There is no reason to start something new.

3. It might cost me. I don’t have the time or money to start something new. What if I have to give up something else in order to do this “new thing”. I enjoy reading books, and that 1/2 hour walk will eat into my “me time”!

What are other reasons we may not try something new? I’ll never forget the first time my assistance dog was asked to do something new that she did not want to do AT ALL. You can read about it here. It took a lot of encouragement from people she trusted for Chloe to descend that staircase at Harper’s Ferry. The staircase seemed to lead “no where”. Does having a group of cheerleaders help you when you are trying to muster the courage to do something new? Maybe you don’t do well with a whole PEP SQUAD behind you, cheering you on! But the quiet encouragement from a trusted friend or two has shown to help you step out in faith – to try something new?

Trying new things is good for us. It gave my assistance dog new-found confidence and strengthened our bond. When I try new things I feel as if I’m exercising my mind and body. I’m growing.

Why should we be willing to try new things?

1. We may find a better way to do something! The “new way” may save time and money!

2. We may discover a new skill or exercise a talent in a new way.

3. We may meet some really incredible people!

4. We may find ways to minister/serve others in our “new hobby”.

5. You may come to the conclusion that the “old way” works just fine! (I really am perfectly happy with iTunes on my computer!)

Being willing to try new things also helps us to learn to put a little faith in others, which for some can be a difficult thing to do! Trying new things may also force us to have faith in what God has for us too! Some folks have an easier time trusting others than they do God. This should not ever be the case. (But I’ll leave that topic for another post!)

What have you tried “new” lately?

Denise Portis

© 2010 Personal Hearing Loss Journal