List 16: Things Everybody Says Are Life Changing (But I’ve Never Tried)

A million years ago I contributed to a now-defunct blog called The Secret Society of List Addicts.  This post originally appeared there.


You know those things that your friends are always raving about? Grabbing your arm and insisting that “Really, no! You have to try it!” Saying that their lives will now be divided into two halves, before ______ and after _______? Well, I haven’t done lots of those things. Things like:1. Going to therapy
I guess I’m just not sure when therapy (or anything health-related) is necessary.  Do I book a massage when I wake up three mornings in a row with a crick in my neck?  What about after five mornings in a row?  I’m pretty sure it’s normal to get the occasional zit when you’re 33.  Or it’s not?  Should I go to a dermatologist?  Just like Everybody Ever, I have occasional moments of “What does it all meaaaaaaaannnnnn?”  But does that mean I should go to therapy?  Or does that just mean I’m a self-actualized adult?2. Getting a bra fitting
Didn’t Oprah tell us that something like 125% of women are wearing the wrong size bra? And aren’t we all sure that we’re the one woman in America who’s wearing the right size? I feel like I’m wearing the right bra size –  my cup does not runneth over. But again, what if I just don’t know what I’m missing?

3. Skydiving

Allegedly, skydiving can trigger a bit of puking for those of us who are prone to motion sickness (and I am a competition level puker) but everybody I know who’s done it says it’s fantastic. Fantastic enough to make up for two days of barfing? I think I might actually want to find out!

4. Finding religion

Ummm. I don’t know about this one. I know two people who are actively engaged in their churches and it really does seem to bring them a lot of peace. But I’m not sure it’s my bag. The closest I get is a bit of Universal Unitarianism. Or as I like to call it – the non-church.

5.  Giving up gluten/dairy
Yes, I’ve heard of The China Study.  And I know several people who swear that once they gave up gluten and/or dairy their skin cleared up, they slept better, they had more energy, and they began to levitate with joy.  But my skin is pretty clear, I sleep pretty well, and I have a pretty decent amount of energy.  More importantly?  I JUST LOVE CARBS SO MUCH, YOU GUYS.

What are your friends recommending that you try? And are you going to do it?  And more importantly, has your life been changed by any of the above?
bra for sale here.



Get a bra fitting. Seriously. What have you got to lose? They're usually free and take maybe 15 minutes. I had one and yes, it did change my life. I went from constantly fiddling and hitching up my bra to not even noticing I'm wearing one. My posture improved, I started using the correct muscles and everyone immediately thought I'd lost a bunch of weight. Nope, I was just standing up straight.

eileen ragan |

#1, 2, and 3 have all changed my life within the last year. But, like BIG TIME.

A year and a half ago I witnessed two unrelated suicides (strangers who jumped out of buildings) just six months apart. After the second one, I started having panic attacks and developed serious anxiety issues which left me terrified to leave the home and just be out in the city. I started therapy soon after to help deal with the trauma and anxiety and it's been SO HELPFUL in not only managing those aspects but other areas of my life like body image and on-going health issues.

#2 – I'm a busty lady and always have been. It didn't take long for me to completely grow out of Victoria's Secret. They kept trying to sell me DD bras, and girl I am just not fitting in that. I went to Intimacy bra fit specialists, and they actually fit you without a measuring tape. They're so good that they can basically eye ball it. It was such a great experience – and this is coming from someone who has had historically terrible bra fitting situations.(

#3 – I have to cut gluten and dairy for medical reasons but it's been awesome and sort of works as a positive externality in helping me cut out foods that just aren't good for me anyways. Of course, there's lots of ways to be unhealthy even when you aren't eating these things – but for me, this is a step in the direction that helps me make better choices, and that my body prefers. I think you just have to listen to your body's cues. Mine, at least, is extremely vocal with me about these two. 🙂

The one that I will add on here is Daily Movement. Learning to appreciate daily exercise and make it part of my life and routine has become so critical to staying on track with my health and being happy. Before, I'd think of working out as a chore and dread it all day until I had to force myself on the treadmill. Once I started doing it regularly, and mixing up the types of exercise that I was doing, I started noticing all the other ways that moving daily impacts my life: better decisions for my health, my mood improves, more energy, improved sleep. So that's my recommendation, not that like every doctor or health professional ever hasn't said the same thing before 🙂 I'm just stubborn and like to take my damned time to realize things.

Again, a novel comment here. Sorry to be wordy!

eileen ragan |

Glad you found this helpful! The therapy and diet pieces are so personal and hard to pin down. Most of my progress has been made by discussing them openly with my doctors (integrative, internist, therapist, other specialists) and trying not to hop on board someone else's "fix" before looking at what works best for me. Sometimes more than the professionals, we know what our bodies need. I've learned to trust my gut a lot more in the past few years rather than jumping aboard fads and such that aren't up my alley or which I know won't make me healthier. We're all such complex systems, at the heart of it.

Thanks for curating questions like these – it really makes me think about topics that I'd like to discuss more with women on my own blog (I run a Mindful Health series), as well as making me respond to things that have bubbled up in my mind, but that I haven't taken time to respond to formally.

So happy Alicia from Humble Foodie linked to you!


I started therapy recently because depression/anxiety was beginning to beat me. I wouldn't say it's been life changing, but it is helping me realize I'm not broken.

Now, giving up gluten has completely effing changed my life. My stomach started hurting all of the time for no reason, and I went to the doctor to find out why. A ton of tests resulted in a rather shady sounding "definitely gluten intolerance, but maybe ceilac so stop eating gluten and see how you do" diagnosis. A year and a half into it and I cannot believe how much better I feel. Bonus side effect – my seasonal allergies are completely gone. And, I've discovered a whole new way of eating that has forced me to try, and love, new things.


The only one I've done on this list is #2, but I did it because I was miserable in my old bras. And it was life changing (I went from a 40D to a 34G). But if you're happy, I don't think any of these are must-dos.

lauren claire | rebuild (health + home)

Sarah, therapy's made a big impact in my life, but that's become I come from 20+ years of family trauma. I'm sure there are a lot of people who don't need therapy,or who would benefit from like three month check-ins just to recalibrate your head space. If you're really not sure whether you would benefit, most doctors worth their salt will provide a free consult, and you can talk about the fact that you're not sure whether it's the right place for you.

G-free and other dietary restrictions have become trendy, but odds are, you do not have Celiac or gluten intolerance because you're body would have let you know by now. My MD practices integrative medicine so he put me on a g-free diet two summers ago that I mostly stick to, but not all the time. He did it thinking it would help my depression/anxiety, and I think it does, but mental health treatment is such a nebulous combination of eighty million different things that it's hard to tell what's actually improving things or what's just not making anything worse. (Is it gluten free? Is it these fish oil supplements? Is it the yoga class? Is it this new anti-depressant?). I'm so ready to blink my eyes like I Dream of Jeannie and have it be over.

AAAAHH, so random that you wrote (or posted) about UU today. I was going to a UU church (or as my friend said, "Unitarian Church? That's not church, that's brunch!") fairly regularly three or four years ago but then stopped for a few reasons. Just yesterday morning I emailed their new Reverend about "dipping my toes back in the water" and coming back. I do find that I get a sense of comfort and peace in going and creating community with others. It helps me get out of my own head and focused on doing good for others (there's a strong social justice bent). And you make new friends and get to see cute babies, so that's like church super-bonus.


"…but mental health treatment is such a nebulous combination of eighty million different things that it's hard to tell what's actually improving things or what's just not making anything worse. (Is it gluten free? Is it these fish oil supplements? Is it the yoga class? Is it this new anti-depressant?)."

YES! What she said! I went into therapy for the first time ever a year ago, and it did change my life. I had to stop after I got laid off/lost my insurance, but had been going long enough to learn a lot about myself and how my mind works and how to handle certain triggers. In addition, I started taking herbal supplements, journaling, getting daily exercise, making sure I get a good dose of sunshine whenever possible (I have S.A.D. as well), cutting out certain people/things that were negatives, and so many other things that all add up to me being in such a better place mentally despite (still) being unemployed, hit with a couple of serious injuries over the last couple of months, and dealing with a stressful family situation. I wish I'd known years ago that therapy would make such a difference.

Also? I've had a bra fitting but was only a little bit "off" from what I needed to be wearing, so I wouldn't say it changed my life. The ol' boulder holder is more comfortable, though.


1. I've been in and out of therapy for the last few years. Finally, I found a therapist I click with & have a really effective treatment plan in place. Now, keep in mind that I'm still a baby at 20 years, and I am in treatment for some specific conditions. It's still a work in progress, but I'm already seeing the benefits. I know this will change my life for the better & I can't tell you how wonderful it is to have someone you can tell literally anything & it goes nowhere.

I wouldn't recommend therapy to everyone, but I think some counseling is helpful for those with even mild anxiety and/or depression, or couples we love each other, but are having a hard time working through some issues on their own.

2. Bra fittings were/are essential for me. As a busty girl, even from a young age, I wore many a ill fitting brassiere. Getting a professional fitting while I was still developing (read: adding cup sizes) was like a godsend. My girls weren't popping out all over the place & it took a lot of stress off my back. This I would recommend to any woman, even if you are on the flat side. You can get them free at most lingerie shops. I get mine done at Victoria Secret, but even Macy's does them. They can also recommend the type of bra for your wants and needs. Amazeballs.

4. I grew up in a really religious household, but strayed away from it as I matured into a free thinking, rebellious, non-heterosexual. I will admit, I still miss it. &I know a handful of people who it really works for. I just don't think I can really commit to that without sacrificing some of my sense of self. I am thinking of giving the UU a try, though.

5. This one. I've had so many people urge me to try this & I just can't. I don't even care that I'm lactose intolerant. I NEED CHEESE. I'll just pop a dairy digestive supplement instead. On a related note, I've also had friends urge me to try things like the Eat to Live diet, basically mostly eating greens + beans & cutting out junk food. I know I should eat better, but I just can't give up my breads or cheesecake or various other greasy and sweet things. If you can't enjoy food, what's the point?

As for something my friends urged me to do that's not one the list, this one is a bit racy. My friends were appalled that I had reached adulthood & not yet bought a sex toy. I wandered around in our local 'adult supermarket' several times before I bit the bullet & purchased something. I won't say it's life changing, but I'm glad I finally gave in.

Brianna Deihl

#1 Did almost nothing for me but add another errand I needed to run during my lunch break. *Probably* the wrong attitude to have about the whole thing – but if you really need it – you'll probably just find yourself there and not hemming and hawing about it in a blog…
#2 If you've got little ta-ta's it's not really a big deal. I've got huge boobs – so it was life changing.
#3 My good friend suffered a nasty break up – and then became addicted to falling out of planes. He loves it and it brings him a lot of joy. I'd probably pee my pants.
#4 Again – I feel like religion will find you if you need it to. I watched Joseph Campbell's 6 parter called "The Power of Myth" and it blew my mind away. It's maybe all the religion I'll need until something really horrible happens or I get old… Or try an intensive Yoga Teacher Training. You'll get a bucket load of Dharma talks and you'll be zen until the cows come home…
#5 I gave up Gluten and Dairy almost a year ago. Mostly out of curiosity. And all those great things really did happen. And I didn't know I could feel better. But there I was. The dairy thing didn't stick – because cheese is such a perfect thing – but I've stuck to the gluten thing. And I still eat LOADS of carbs. Altho they haven't perfected the gluten free pastry or donut yet…

Lisa Latebloom

Therapy is helping me to stop self harm and create the life I deserve. Gluten free medically necessary for me and so far tough but the benefits outweighing the feeling of "I miss carbs", which I do.

Lisa Latebloom

Therapy is helping me to stop self harm and create the life I deserve. Gluten free medically necessary for me and so far tough but the benefits outweighing the feeling of "I miss carbs", which I do.


1. While I've certainly benefited from having a therapist, I'm not one of those people who thinks that everybody needs one at all times always. If you're struggling with your everyday life, I think that therapy is a wonderful thing to seek out… but if you're just having a bad day every now and then, finding a friend is a much better option.

2. My feeling on the bra fitting is, "What do you have to lose my not doing this?" If you're wearing the right size already, at least you'll have the confirmation. That said, in general it tends to be the ladies with larger girls that tend to be in the wrong size, largely because bras over DD tend not to be sold in your average American department store. If someone's wearing a D or above and hasn't been fitted, that's usually when I start being really insistent that they go for a fitting. That said, bra fittings are awesome because you don't have to do shit. They put you in a fitting room and bring everything to you… I wish all shopping worked this way!

3. I've heard similar about skydiving… but I'm still not interested. I am so not a thrill seeker.

4. I'll admit that I miss church from time to time… I miss having a community of people to gather with. I don't miss all the judgment and bullshit I had to deal with though…

5. I love my gluten and I love my dairy… and yeah, I kinda figure that's what makes me feel bloated and gross. But it tastes so good….


Get a bra fitting. I have always been in the camp that thought I was in the correct size, turns out I was WRONG-and wearing the wrong size for a decade. Turns out there is a very real difference between 34D (what I thought I was) and 32 DD. I feel so much more contained!


#1 – Therapy is one of those things in life that you only get out of it what you put into it (at least in my experience) so I guess it probably won't help skeptics or people who don't want to be there, but I loved it! And massage therapy… there is nothing I don't love about a great massage.

#4 – All I know is that I've been spending more time at church and with the church community this year, and I've never felt better.

For both of these things I think they key is to having an open mind and positive outlook about what could happen. There's no point in doing something just to do it if you don't actually believe in it.

The very thought about giving up cheese makes me incredibly grouchy, so I'm going to go ahead and assume I should keep it as a staple in my diet. 🙂


Hi Sarah- Just wanted to give you a heads up. Conventionally, it's written "Unitarian Universalism." I'm not sure if the other way is a Midwest thing, or maybe you went to a unique fellowship, but just so you know! for any more UU info!

Amanda Cobb

Ditto on point #5 – I love carbs way too much to ever consider giving them up. Give me some starchy noms.

Most of the "you must _____!" recommendations from my friends are about movies or books I should try out. We're a bunch of nerds. 😀


Definite thumbs-up to therapy. Someday I'll toss myself out of a plane. And I'm in the same boat on dairy and gluten – it's just too delicious. I try to cut back but I could never completely give them up.


I think the thing about all of these is that they change people's lives WHO WERE HAVING ISSUES WITH RELATED UNHAPPINESSES, ya know? If your boobs look pretty and your back doesn't hurt, there's not that much improvement to be made (that said, I thought my mild back pain and bra-annoyances were totally normal, until I got fitted last year and found out I'm not a 36B, I'm a 32DD! HUGE DIFFERENCE!). People who rave all over town about cutting out gluten and dairy are probably, um, gluten- and dairy-intolerant (which MOST PEOPLE ARE NOT).

Selected friends of mine have started getting real into juices and cleanses and whatnot, and while they love it, they also ate fewer veggies in their normal life beforehand than I do (I eat more veggies than anyone ever! I also eat a LOT of almond butter and chocolate, so, yeah.). I'm still not convinced that juice would do anything for me but I DO succumb to the occasional feeling that juice people are somehow morally superior.

Something that's definitely helped me from a young age, though, was therapy, I will say that.

Hanna Scott

Could never. EVER. ever ever. give up gluten/dairy. Some things just can't change.

Therapy sounds so interesting! Everyone that I know that has gone to a therapist says it really works wonders. I find myself wondering if there's anything "wrong" enough with me to see one, but even if there isn't, do I really need something to be wrong to try it? (maybe…cause that ish is pricey)

Bra fittings are WORTH IT.

Confused Twenty-Something

I have to say that bra fittings ARE worth it. I had a bra fitting done and found out that I should have been wearing a different bra size than I was, and it did make a difference! However, my bra size did go up when I gained weight….so I had to get new bras again. I will say though that you shouldn't get a bra fitting at Victoria's Secret. I don't really trust their measurements. Go to a specialty lingerie store!

Also, skydiving. I did it a few years ago with my dad, and it was a GREAT experience! I mean, sure, it was slightly terrifying but also really exhilarating. If you do a tandem dive, the person you're attached to dives so quickly off the plane that you don't really have time to think about the fact that you're about to jump off a plane hundreds of feet in the air. It's really cool to see the ground from that high up! Pro tip: Make sure your goggles are on TIGHT and securely. My goggles didn't fit me quite right so I had to hold them on while I was in the air. It was kind of a bummer.


Bra-fittings kick a**. I've done a bra fitting before and then after a breast reduction surgery. Totally worth every minute and I recommend it to everyone who is half-what interested. The person doing them was really friendly and helpful. Plus she impressed me by basically eyeing my size, giving that it was her job it shouldn't have surprised me but it did.

Also done therapy. It was numerous things that brought that on, including a life-threatening illness. My need for it decreased over time. One needs to find the best therapist for you along with the right method. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy has been really in vogue but one needs to contemplate if that is what is needed. It's not what I needed. Overtime I outgrew my first therapist, took a break and then found another one whom I stayed with until I felt that I was just done.

I won't be going either dairy or gluten free, regardless of studies supporting one or the other or both.

I've done bungy jump over parachuting. I was high off the adrenaline for almost a day.


You've never had a size 0, 18 year old corner you in Victoria's Secret with a measuring tape? (uh, the employee, I hope!)
I got a bra-fitting at the tender, and so-small-breasted age of 17, but as an adult lady, I just totally ignore sizes and buy which ever ones lifts and doen't dig in or slide down. And I buy three at a time so I don't have to do it again.

Half of the things on your list I'd never do because it sounds like a form of torture (stranger fondling me? No thanks! Falling from the sky? uh-huh! Talking about childhood? Nope!)…but the other half, I'm wholeheartedly committed to 🙂


Regarding the bra fittings, I always thought they were for bustier ladies, and that I, as an A-cup, didn't need one. That statistic about how many women were wearing the wrong bra size didn't apply to me. But hey, guess what! When I finally did it, it turns out I was wearing the wrong bra size (NOT actually an A-cup), and had been for years! I'm so much more comfortable now without underwires digging into my chest, and I wish I'd been wearing the proper size all along.

The thing I realized about bras is that the sizing is very counter-intuitive. The size of the cup actually changes with the band size. So it's worth getting measured by someone who sizes boobs all day long.


I remember that blog! I loved it because I also have an addiction to lists (which is why I participated in your very first 30 New Things thingie)!. I've done most of those things and I can't say any of them have changed my life drastically. Except for the bra fitting, in which the lady was kind of wrong and I was kind of right and in the end I found out I was a 32 and 34 and life has been a lot better for my boobs since.

As for number 4, I'm pretty sure you can't force that one. THAT being said, I think a lot of people might confuse and/or combine finding religion with finding a community and a sense of belonging. Not to say they should be separate, but that I think you can find support and belonging in other types of communities, too.



My friends are always trying to get me to go vegan and just, no.

They say it is super easy but they will hike through a blizzard to a far flung store to get over-priced (everything vegan is so damn expensive!), grocery, supplies for their special diet that are not carried in the grocery store down the street. They claim how healthy it makes them feel but have to eat every few hours or they feel weak if they miss a "every few hours" meal. They say it is easy to make your own vegan food at home yet always say things like, "I am trying this new vegan cupcake recipe. Wish me luck because vegan cooking is so exacting." They cause lots of hassle when eating out or at gatherings because of the huge list of what they will not eat. They have something bad to say about every single food dish they encounter that is not vegan and are very defensive when they make negative comments on it to the person eating it. They cling to veganism like a religion and try to convert everyone else to it.

I have tried vegan food and it never tastes very flavorful to me. I feel hungry again in 30 minutes because I have a fast metabolism. Plus I am allergic to sesame so have to avoid anything vegan/veggie/gluten-free that has sesame in it (or risk my throat closing up) which turns out is quite a bit of the food. Still, the vegan friends try and pound me to submission into the vegan diet and I can see them judging me when I politely decline in deciding to convert to veganism.

And please, people, if you are vegan try to withhold the defending your diet. I get it, it is healthy for you, you prefer it, I am happy for you but am stating things I have observed that let me know the diet is not for me.


LOL yeah, I don't understand why flipping everyone is giving up gluten and sugar. I totally believe in eating healthy. I avoid meat like 95% of the time, and I try not to eat processed foods, but if I can get by without giving up carbs, you bet I'm gonna keep eating them.


I went for a bra fitting last year (I blogged about it here –, it was my first ever, and while I don't think it was life changing as such, it was certainly an enlightening experience! Even if you think you are wearing the right size, it's still a good idea to go and have a fitting, just to make sure. Plus, I feel it's just one of those life list type things! Maybe you could put it on your birthday list for next year?


emma wallace

YES! My aunt said I won't even know how badly I'm feeling right now until I give up gluten and dairy. I said, "I'm not feeling bad right now." And she said, "You just don't KNOW!"

I don't really style my hair (I'll do milkmaid braids and such – no hairspray or irons or anything like that) or wear makeup and I've gotten so many girls ask to give me a makeover and say that it really doesn't take much time and all that. But I'm kind of a hippie type and my husband is so whenever I decide to do a makeup overhaul, the actual wearing of the makeup lasts around a month (if that).


I remember when I was having strange, unexplicable allergic reactions. As the day of my allergist appointment approached I contemplated which things I just absolutely would never want to give up even if it was what was making me itch uncontrollably. Carbs topped the list–even beating out wine. Thank goodness it turned out to be formaldehyde instead (the number of beauty products that have it is scary!). Whew!


While I tell my friends about great experiences that I've had, I wouldn't dream of pushing it on them. Some choices in life and existential quandries are up to the individual. Some. like religious convictions, are private.
One thing people keep telling me about is yoga. And yoga and some more yoga. It's really not my thing so I've kept saying that I'm sure it's terrific for some people but not for me.

Leslie P

A bra fitting? Really? Every time I go in Victoria's someone's grabbing on my titty.

I don't think it'll change your life unless you have a ton of back pain. It was more fun when I was 16 and going to prom.


Man, I'm kinda interested in a bra fitting (because I can't seem to find one that's perfect, you know?) but I don't even know where to get one. I don't exactly buy clothing in good stores.

Don't know about "ttthheerraappy" whatever that means exactly. Tried a counselor in college and I really didn't like it at all! All it was was crying in a small room while a stranger quietly stared at me. I mean, I can do that at home! Geez.

I couldn't give up gluten or dairy! I'm pretty sure the positive physical effects would be completely obliterated by the stress of not being able to eat anything.


I've always been prone to motion sickness, but I didn't get it from skydiving. If you think it would be an issue, I suggest Dramamine about a half hour beforehand. My experience with skydiving is that it is amazing and is life changing for about 6 months… then you slowly never want to do it again.

Bra fittings… not so much even for large breasts.

Pass on religion.

Did not enjoy therapy.

Willing to try the gluten thing!


My wife and I did #1 – I think it helped, but we had a specific issue we needed to work out and I have never felt a need to go back. My gut is with Brianna, if you feel you need it you probably do – otherwise I would try yoga instead.

I can't comment on #2 😉

As for #3, we did it many years ago at 21. Spur of the moment kind of thing, it was fun, but I have no interest in ever doing it again. You have to decide if you are looking for that kind of adventure – for many its a lifestyle like surfing or skiing or romance-novel reading.

#4 is a tricky one. I always felt it was better to be honest with yourself and try to be a good person than letting someone else tell you how to live. Try to sit down and ask yourself honestly why you are interested, is it curiosity, boredom, true faith, etc. if it feels right then try it, but if you have doubts, you may not find answers – most discussions eventually come down to "there is no answer, just have faith" and some people can and some can't live with it.

#5 the gluten thing sounds interesting. My brother says the problem with modern wheat is that there is far more gluten in it than there used to be because its easier for modern machinery. He recommends purchasing heirloom wheat flour and making your own bread/pasta. Not only is it fun but you will not feel the gluten-problems. It is a good halfway point if you don't want to give up carbs completely.

Making a real change in your life without a dramatic event (heart attack, near-death experience, etc.) is always difficult. But I think it is really worth it to try something new and make it part of your life. I'm working my way into the cooking thing, trying to do interesting, fun and delicious things in the kitchen instead of coming home from work and eating cereal or hamburger helper. It's cathartic and has opened up new areas of interest – and I think thats what is at the core of your article, making a change that will rekindle a joy in life or that spark of fun.

Since this is a repost of an older article, I would love to hear if you tried these or other things and if you found something that stuck!


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