Order the Octopus

When I lived in South Africa, I was immersed in a culture very much unlike the one I grew up in. I knew I wouldn’t be there forever, so each time I went to the grocery store, I made it a point to pick up something I had never tried before. Because of this, I got to try Ostrich, Koeksisters, Samosas, Maltabella, Astros, Weet-bix, Litchi… even Chicken Feet. To me, it was just one small way I could intentionally step outside my comfort zone.

A few months ago, (now in Washington DC) I was sitting in a restaurant and while looking down the menu I saw an item labeled “Charred Octopus.” My first thought was “why would someone order ‘charred’ anything?” But after that, I thought about my time in South Africa… and then I ordered the octopus.

Trying new food, when you get the opportunity, is a trivial thing, but the principle behind it is important to me. In the few short years that I’m on this earth, I want to drink deeply from the well of life. I want to understand this world I’m living in and where I fit in and how I can make it a better place. It’s in pursuit of this understanding that I find myself trying new things for the sake of trying new things. It’s about embracing change in life. Breaking out of routines. Keeping yourself on your toes. In this way, my life is more interesting, my conversations are more rich, and I become less resistant to change.

Next time you think about calling the same people, watching the same television show, taking the same route to work, eating the same breakfast… just don’t.

Order the octopus instead.