The Real Day 1 – On the Calendar for Sure

Alright, here is the real day one.  That first post must be a mistake.  Because its January 1st, 2011.  The first day of another year.  A lot of people don’t put much weight on January 1st – just another day on the calendar.  I kind of agree.  I think the first day of the year should be on winter solstice – the shortest day of the year – and that IS a very important day.   From that day on it only gets better and better, and it doesn’t even end on Summer solstice in June!  It keeps getting better and better until some point in late July when you realize you hit the peak of summer about a week ago.  But that doesn’t mean it gets worse from there.  Quality of life kind of hovers at one spot, in a great plateau through the rest of July, August, blissful September, exciting October – if it weren’t for November it would continue right along until the day before Christmas.  But November ruins the whole thing most years.  Anyhow, winter solstice should be the start of the new year, but its not according to the calendar so I’ll just accept January 1st instead.  This year I’m going to try and tick off a bunch of boxes on the proverbial bucket list.  I came up with this one evening just before the New Year and realized that it fit so nicely within each month of the year that it only makes sense to break it up along the same lines.  Matt Cutts, head of the Google Spam team blogs regularly and he did something similar last year – a little personal challenge or social experiment for himself each month.  I liked the idea, even though I find him a little annoying.  So here is my list, lets hope I’m not setting myself up for failure…

January – Write a blog post every day. I think this should get the ball rolling and help me flush out some of these ideas.  I’ve started plenty of blogs in the past (as the previous post, 9 months ago can attest to).  So I’ll try again.  Its just a month, right?  I can do that.  I will write about anything and everything as I please.

February – Live on less than $200 for the month. This is actually what spurred this whole thought process.  I’ve often wondered how little I could live on in a month, partly because I don’t believe many people when they complain about how hard it is to make ends meet.  A couple caveats – this doesn’t include rent or my cell phone bill.  But all other expenses are included, and I will start from scratch in terms of what’s in the pantry.  Plus, I’m not going to let my budget run my life – I’m still going to have fun and do most of the things I normally do.  One challenge will be finding cheap booze.

March – Donate my time, full-time. I’m going to make the time (in my free time and hopefully some time off work) to give my time to people who need it.  For 40 hours a week I’ll offer my muscle and mind to those who need it – community groups, seniors, youth, whoever could use the help.  Maybe I’ll have a sailboat by then and can teach kids how to sail.  I could really rack up the hours doing that.

April – Run 300 kilometers.  This doesn’t really require much explanation.  300 kilometers in 30 days only requires a fair schedule so maybe I’ll get Kevin to help me with that.  I’m training for a triathlon in June and running will be my weakness, so this will hopefully build a good last push.

May – Raise $10,000 ($5,000) for a local charity. Damn, I’m already making changes to this plan.   $10k is the goal, but it does seem a little daunting.  I would be super-happy with $5k.  I love what The Land Conservancy of BC does, but I’m not sure and I have plenty of time to figure that out.  Also, my birthday is in May, which should help with my classic amateur fundraising strategy.

June – Paint a mural. Murals are very under-rated.  The metropolises of Berlin and Chemainus are full of them and it adds so much character and fun to an otherwise gray wall.  I have to find a wall, but maybe I can canvas for that (sweet pun) from local businesses along with the money raised the month before.

July – Sail around Vancouver Island. Its just so beautiful its hard not to include this!

August – Eat only very local food. I think this one will be harder than it sounds.  I’m a man of convenience, as evidenced by the empty cans of beans on my desk.  Of course August is a good time of year for this challenge.  I’m envisioning lots of salmon and fresh fruit and vegetables from farmer’s markets.  I guess I would get my carbs from potatoes?  Don’t I need to eat wheat or rice or something – I’m not going to find that here.

September – Ride my bike to Mexico. This is a great time of year to do it.  The hardest part may be the logistics of getting time off work in July and then again in September – but maybe I won’t be needed!

October – Read a classic book each week. This should be a great way to unwind after a month of riding.  Perfect for the beach too!

November – Write a book. November is National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) – which, now that I look at it written like that – looks a lot like Nanaimo.  An omen?  Nanowrimo is a support and motivational tool/community that aims to just get ‘er done.  I hate that phrase.  But the idea is quantity over quality – just do it and then worry about how good it sounds on the second and third re-write.  I have a feeling there are no second and third re-writes for most people, including myself.  I tried this once before and the first 5,000 words are trapped on an archaic laptop that I bought for $50.  I was disillusioned enough by Beech to think I could go on holiday with him and still get some word done.  I will try to find the computer and the story and post it if I can.

December – Meditate for an hour a day. Maybe with meditation I’ll be able to undo a year’s worth of work.  I know meditation can be a powerful thing, and it will surely help me get through the holiday season.

Well thats a year.  2011 down.

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