In thinking about a "hobby" to help me with the list of things that I wanted to change over this year, I started reflecting on some really cool things that I have recently discovered online. I'll try not go into detail about ones that you probably already know about, like The Julie/Julia Project, or hobbies that definitely don't interest me, like 365 Days of Trash or The Year of Living Biblically, or ones that just aren't appropriate for me like The Year of Yes. But here's a list of other inspiring people who found a hobby and started a yearly (or longer) project:
Jonathan Wilson of jawsnap photography is the husband of one of my co-workers. He started his One/Day Project with the goal of taking one unique photo every day for a year and uploading it to his website. He's now in Year 3 of the Project, and takes some of the most amazing photos. I mean, who else do you know that can make pesto look sexy? Jonathan is also the photographer who took these amazing photos (and many, many more) at Brody's first birthday party.
1000 Awesome Things is a blog by a guy named Neil Pasricha, and is all about finding joy in the little things in life, like #995 Finding money you didn't even know you lost, or #585 Figuring out the plot twist just before they reveal it. He posts a new AWESOME thing every weekday. Most inspiring? He started this after his best friend committed suicide, and when he and his wife started going their separate ways. It was his attempt to "get things back on track by talking about one simple, universal little joy every single day — like snow days, bakery air, or popping bubble wrap."
The Happiness Project is also awesome because it's kind of EXACTLY what I am doing with this blog, Time for a Change. Okay, not quite exactly, since Gretchen Rubin had a far more organized approach, as she spent a year "test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happy." But it started with identifying what made her happy and what didn't, and taking small, concrete steps in her daily life to change. Seriously, watch this video: The days are long, but the years are short. The blog includes tips, quotes, interviews and helpful advice like act the way you want to feel. Another one of my favorites is her description of a fight with her husband, and how the Happiness Project didn't prevent her outburst of anger, but it did help her to overcome it more quickly. A lot of good, useful info packed into that one post.
And then there's a different kind of happiness project, 365 Nights: A Memoir of Intimacy. Have you heard of this one? Charla Muller decided to give her husband Brad an unusual gift for his 40th birthday: a promise to have sex with him every day for a year. Actually, don't bother to check out the blog, it's really little more than an uninteresting description of her current speaking engagements. Because there are audiences everywhere that want to ask, "Really? Everyday? No, really, every day???" And I can't claim to have actually read the book, but seriously, it's an interesting, umm, hobby to consider.
And just to round out my list with a "green" blog, I recently came across one that I enjoy. At the beginning of 2009, Angela Barton pledged to join The Compact (a group based in San Fransisco that makes an effort to counteract US consumer culture by going beyond recycling and buying nothing new). This meant borrowing or buying used only, with a few exceptions like food, medicine, personal care items, socks and underwear. She has been documenting her story on My year without spending, and includes pictures and stories from other people that have inspired her, like The Frugal Girl's Food Waste Fridays (pictures documenting any food wasted that week), the Meatless Monday initiative, or the girl who made her prom dress out of Starburst wrappers. Seriously. (And by the way, The Frugal Girl is in itself a very interesting blog, including, among other things, her weekly grocery/meal plans, and some great looking recipes I plan to try out.
Just slightly off topic, I feel like I would be a little remiss if I didn't include a wonderful book on this list, Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle: A Year of Food Life, which documents her family's attempt to eat only home-grown, or when unavailable, locally grown food for a year. If you've never read Kingsolver, you should, and I found the book very informative and inspiring, even if I still haven't started my own home garden. Maybe one day.
I don't know if any of this has brought me closer to finding my own hobby just yet. Unless surfing the Internet counts, of course. I may just have to give up that "Spend less time on the computer" goal.
All right, anyone getting tired of all my links lately? Can you tell I'm having a lot of fun with them? (If you don't know what I'm talking about, click on any of the words that are printed in bold green and it'll take you to the related website. See? Fun!)