Frankly, it feels too soon for me to know exactly what I've gotten out of this Quixotic quest of mine. Perhaps in a few months I’ll be able to see it, but right now I’m just relieved to be done. For, while I definitely believe in the invigorating power of trying something new, I would never recommend committing to it daily. I find it ironic that I began this project because I was in a rut and the sheer routine has become a rut unto itself.
Likewise, I don't have enough distance from the mid-life crisis that inspired the whole thing in the first place. I think Dante put it best when he wrote, “Midway on our life's journey, I found myself in a dark woods, the right road lost. To tell about those woods is hard - so tangled and rough..." Like Dante, I’ve descended in order to ascend, but I still feel like I’m on an uphill climb.
Part of the problem is that this project was born in part out of the recession. Long before Wall Street reacted to the subprime mortgage crisis, I watched my savings disappear into a sinkhole of a real estate investment. The financial conditions that constrained me in the first place are worse than before, so I still don't have the financial freedom I'd like. (I know, who does?) I’m still lucky enough to make my living as a writer, but it’s not enough to live it up.
As a result, I’ve strived for cheap thrills, managing to spend roughly $725 total on this project, an average of $2 a day. But that, too, was part of the point—to prove I could find adventure within limited means. Anyone can splurge on an expensive trip or toy or react to a midlife crisis with a scorched earth approach to your life. But my goal has been to change my life without exchanging it.
I'm happy to report that trying something new each day has provided temporary relief to my ennui, enough so that I’ve decided to continue on this journey by committing to one new thing a week, which I will post each Friday.
I'll post two other days, as well:
Each Monday I will continue to motivate myself to persevere (and hopefully you, as well) by ruminating on a Thought for the Week. (see below)
Then, on Wednesday, I'll post a link to my and Floyd's new blog adventure for 2009: The Mesmer Project.
The German physician Franz Anton Mesmer introduced "mesmerism" in 1774. His ideas and practices led to the development of hypnosis. One who mesmerizes is one who keeps us spellbound with their stories and ideas. These people captivate our imaginations and propel us in new directions.
Therefore, this Wednesday we'll ask the first of the five most fascinating people we know five questions in order to understand what makes them tick. Subsequently, we'll also ask each of those people who is the most fascinating person they know. Which will lead us on a journey to find the most fascinating people in the world--who speak English.
Much in the way I sought adventure here at home when I couldn't go finding it elsewhere, we've decided to bring the most fascinating people to us. And to you.
So check back on Wednesday to meet our first mesmerizing person. In the meantime, I'll be pondering this Thought for the Week, the one that informed both the project I've completed and the one I'm about to begin:
"IF YOU CAN'T GET OUT OF IT, GET INTO IT."