Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Year Long Projects

I’m not sure when my love affair with year long projects began. Perhaps it was inspired by reading all of Danny Wallace’s books, particularly Yes Man, when he decides he’s going to say ‘Yes’ to everything for a year and see how it works out for him. As it turns out, it was mostly a good experience for him. Anyway, I digress…

Perhaps my interest came from watching reality TV (shows like “Frontier House,” “1920’s House,” “1940’s House,” etc.) where the participants had to stick it out for the duration of the show and it wasn’t always pretty.

All I know is I especially love reading about people who decide to better themselves by taking on a year-long project and writing about their progress in a blog and maybe a book later.

My five favorites are: Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine; Julie and Julia by Julie Powell; No Impact Man by Colin Beavan; On a Dollar a Day: One Couple’s Unexpected Adventures in Eating in America by Christopher Greenslate and Kerri Leonard; and Living Oprah by Robyn Okrant.

Each certainly had their points and their struggles covering everything from food to product consumption to simply living your best life. Of course they all learned a lot from their experiments and came out as better people afterwards. However, that’s not what inspired me, but rather the spirit of the project, having a goal and purpose and sharing it with others. I especially appreciate that some of the authors above also had day jobs (especially Julie Powell), but still managed to find time to stick to it and keep a log at the same time.

Even though I’m really no different than any of these people, I’m just not sure I could commit to doing anything day after day for a year. After all, I don’t live life in a vacuum. Things come up (“Life is what happens when you make other plans”), and my husband is only so patient and probably wouldn’t appreciate me staying up extra late to complete the day’s assignment if that’s what it took to get it done.

Plus, I’m not even sure what kind of a project I’d like to do. I tend to have lots of great ideas, some I even start to execute, but then eventually fizzle as I lose interest. Perhaps I could dedicate a year to actually following through on some of these things. I’ll get back to you on that…

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