Call it a quarter life crisis. Call it temporary insanity. Call it whatever you want, but I call it my own personal "Summer of George". I'm a big Seinfeld fan and in the episode "Summer of George" one of the characters, George Costanza, gets a 3 month severance package. His fiancé died in the previous season and so he's a man with no responsibility or obligation. He says he's going to use this freedom to do everything he's always wanted to do but never got around to or had the opportunity to accomplish. In the end in true George fashion he winds up doing very little though. In another episode titled "The Opposite" George decides to do whatever the opposite is of his initial instinct. I decided to turn my summer into a blend of these two ideas except unlike George I'll actually be completing most of the tasks I set out to accomplish.
I definitely still have responsibilities. My work life has been busier this summer than ever before, so I'm doing all of this in my normal every day life and spare time. Also my instincts have usually served me well so I'm not doing anything too completely opposite of my normal choices, but there's plenty of activities and choices that I've previously been against trying due to a bias or other disposition against.
This all started for me a few weeks ago and may last far longer than the summer. I realized there's so much to do in life and I since I turned 26 this year there was no time like the present. There's so much I hadn't done, so many little things along the way I hadn't tried. Some things are silly and don't matter (like trying pretty common foods I had always thought I would't like) others are a bit more bold (sky diving for example). I decided I wanted to give everything a fair chance.
I decided to put up a list of things I've done or attempted for the first time this summer/year but know that some activities may seem extremely minor (like trying salsa or wasabi for the first time. I simply am not into spicy stuff so I always had no interest in trying it because I believed I wouldn't like it) or overly drastic and rash (I expect to have a tattoo by the end of the summer, I know what I want it to represent, just haven't settled on a design) but all of these activities and experiences are new to me and I've thought about why I never tried them before, and realized that most of the reasons why you choose NOT to try are because of predisposed biases or fear of what others may think or fear of embarrassment. Anyone who knows me, knows I have no problem with embarrassing myself or those around me in any situation (just ask me to go dance on a dance floor. I have no shame! I can't dance but it's still fun anyway). As sophomoric as some of these ideas may be, they're on the list because I've never tried them - some for good reason as it turns out!
Most of my friends know about this SoG and almost every time I hang out with friends or even people I've just met I either cross something off my list or add something new. It's become sort of a shared adventure. I'll have friends text or email me and say "hey have you ever tried ______?" and if I haven't, I'll add it to the list.
My only ground rules are:
1) it can't be something illegal
2) it can't be something that causes any personal or property damage either to myself or others
3) if it involves someone else get their permission and buy-in first
My list so far is below. I'll try to keep it up to date as the year rolls by. As I said, I have no shame, and feel free to poke fun at me and say "how have you NEVER tried that before!" Or "wow, I can't believe you actually did that, why?!?!" It's all about the experience! Life shouldn't be too serious, it should be fun! Take a chance at something and who knows? You might actually like it!
Here are two quotes I saw that I enjoyed that fit in nicely with what my goal is with this personal project:
Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go. — T.S Eliot
The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it. -W. M. Lewis
In no particular order:
What I've Done So Far (began on June 26th 2012)
Tried sour cream
Tried a class at a gym
Tried a tanning bed
Fired a rifle
Tried bacon and ice cream together
Took a sick day (see immediately above: gross)
Tried ranch dressing
Drank before 5pm
Drank alone at a bar
Tried drinking malt vinegar straight
Drank wine straight from the bottle
Tried Nutella pizza
Tried ranch on pizza
Ran up and down escalators the opposite way on purpose
Went a concert for a major band
Swam laps in a lap pool
Tried the Cinnamon Challenge
Went to a major league sporting event as an adult
Drank coffee every day for a week (never had coffee before)
Bet on a sporting event
Went to WV
Saw a horse race
Spontaneous trip to another state
Went to a comedy club
Baked a cake
Ate a crepe
Learned how to tie a bow tie
Had a massage
Ideas Yet to be Completed
Get a tattoo
Get into a fist fight
Try Ethiopian food
Go on a bus tour of DC
Catch a fish, clean and cook it
Play a nerdy card game like D&D
Attend a comic book or other geeky convention
Spend a night outside taking long exposures of the night sky
Any other ideas? Email me or tell me on Facebook!