Some people experiment with drugs, others experiment with alternative lifestyles. Mine has always been how long or how far I can push myself.
When I was around 13 I had a wisdom tooth pulled out. It had developed quite a tooth ache and the dentist said that I’d developed an abscess in the gum. The tooth had to go. I recall being frightened of the needle and scared by the sensation of the tooth being yanked free. As I left the dental surgery the dentist lectured me about eating less sugar.
Right there I decided to not eat sugar again.
I stopped having sugar in my tea. When I was offered a soft drink I said no. When sweets came around I asked for another serving of mains. I was determined not to eat sugar again to avoid a repeat of the experience on the dentist’s chair.
Then the Bawdens came down to the farm. They lived in Perth and they knew how to live the good life. Along with their cool clothes they brought with them bottles of Coke and ice cream. What do you make with Coke and ice cream? A spider of course. (I’ve never known quite why they were called a spider.)
Mrs Bawden asked me if I wanted one? All the other kids already had theirs. Now it was my turn. I turned to Dad and said, “I’ll just have this one and go back to no sugar after that.”
“Sure Peter, it was a nice try,” he said. It had been all of a few days since my tooth had been pulled.
And right there something inside of me turned into a steely resolve.
“No thanks Aunty Margaret (that’s what you called elderly close friends back then), I’m not eating sugar.”
And that’s the way it stayed for the next nine months. Not a trace of sugar. No sweets, no lollies, no soft drink, no cake. I was on a mission.
Then one day I said enough was enough and started enjoying sugar again.
But that rotten tooth had set me on a path of setting myself challenges that have helped shape my life.
What’s your biggest experiment?