We all know that table at the book store. It goes under many names. Books for college grads! Books to make you think! Books to inspire!
For a long time, I scoffed at such books. “For I, four-years-ago-Meredith, am a special snowflake! My inspiration is driven by the smiles of puppies and fairy wings!” Lately, now that I’ve got a couple years of reality proving to me that puppy smiles and fairy wings are not a renewable resource, I find myself standing over these tables looking for answers.
It’s funny the common themes you find in these books. People love doing things for a year, the most famous example is Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love, where she spends a year, you guessed it, eating and praying and loving. And she does it in cool places too. Other examples include living for a year according to rules laid out in the Bible; each day for a year, doing something that scares you; a year of following in the culinary footsteps of Julia Child; a year of thinking magically. I wanna do something for a year! Not including all those other things I do for a year like eating and reading and finding alternative feul for my inspiration.
But there’s always something that rubs me a little bit wrong about these books. Yes, they’re well written. And yes, the stories are interesting, but you, the author, are telling me- probably– I should do more to live my life fully. But I didn’t get to do that thing for a year! Am I just supposed to take your word for it? Most people don’t have the luxury of having big life experiments where many priceless lessons are learned because they have jobs and loans and families. And that’s just the first world.
Not to belittle the books. It’s always obvious the author went through a transformation and wants to share. It’s just, those are your experiences. Not mine, so I have a hard time relating. Maybe special-snowflake-complex has not worn off.
So not wanting to be left out, I brainstormed what social experiments a grumpy-but-employed twenty-something could do for a year, while balancing all those elements of real life. Because I could tell my loan provider I’m not going to make payments because I’m going to go study tap dance in piazzas across Italy for a year, but I don’t think they’d love it.
- Option A: A year of not wearing stretch pants! Option B: A year of wearing stretch pants!
- A year of high-fiving every stranger!
- A year of not crying into a bag of a snacks more than once a week!
- A year of only eating breakfast (but you eat it for every meal) (you also eat six meals)
- A year of greeting everyone in song!
- A year of not brushing my hair, otherwise known as “the year I had bad dreads”
- A year of cleaning when my apartment needs to be cleaned and not when I get so tired of tripping over things
- A year of trying not to fall down…wait for it…at all
You guys! So many lessons to be learned! Where to begin?! Vacuuming. I bet I should begin at vacuuming.