18 June 2012, 14:29
I want to stop living my life in front of a computer. As a writer, this is easier said than done, but I believe it is worth making the effort.
Yes, it is perhaps a little ironic that you’re reading this online — the very place that I’m encouraging you to step away from. I’m not saying you should quit the internet; I know I couldn’t! What I’m saying is that blogs, Twitter, Facebook & all those things should be a supplement to your life, not the sum of your life.
Here are 100 things you can do instead of wasting time online. Print it out (!!!) & keep it in your handbag. Cross ‘em off as you go. When you do all of them, come back to me & I’ll write another one!
1. Go through your entire closet & cull what isn’t working for you. This includes anything that is the wrong colour, shape or size. It also includes anything that you TRULY KNOW you will never wear. Throw them in a suitcase & trundle it to your nearest consignment boutique. I just did this on Tuesday, & I cannot tell you how peaceful it felt!
2. Call your best friend. Yes, actually have a conversation on the telephone! (Terrifying, I know!) I’m sure your BFF will be thrilled & surprised to hear from you, & you’ll have a great chat. Isn’t it weird that when the phone rings these days, we assume it’s a call centre or that someone has butt-dialed us by mistake? Let’s work to remedy that!
3. Go to the library. If you don’t have a library card, this is the time to get one! There are few things more wonderful than spending an hour or two in the library, perusing the stacks & selecting a few tantalising tomes.
4. Visit a department store & collect fragrance samples. It’s an easy & inexpensive (read: free!) way to dabble with new scents… & who doesn’t want a new smell for the new season?
5. Make a flower crown for the ultimate in summer babe chic. It’s easy, & you can wear it all summer long. (It also easily disguises or diverts from a bad hair day! Double happy bonus!)
6. Make up & practice a striptease for your beloved. This probably doesn’t need a lot of explanation but if you have no idea where to start, I did write an article about it!
7. Stock up on stationery that makes your life happier. Business cards? Postcards? Personalised notes? Why NOT?!
8. Take your dog for a walk. & if you don’t have a dog, borrow someone else’s! Dogs are the best (it’s a fact): they teach us to be optimistic, curious, to trust & be present. We can learn a lot from them!
9. Make friendship bracelets for your BFFs. If you can’t remember how to do it, here’s a tutorial! Bonus points if you use your friends’ favourite colours & tie on a little charm of their initials!
10. Strut around the house in your favourite pair of high heels… Why? Because it will make you feel better about yourself. Our physiology informs our psychology — standing up straight & tall actually makes us feel happier!
11. Take a yoga class. It feels so good to stretch out & limber up. If there are no yoga classes near you, just take a few moments to do some sun salutations in your living room. It’s the ultimate way to start the day!
12. Write down a list of goals, & don’t just scrawl down whatever you feel is expected of you. Make it a list of AUDACIOUS ambitions. Write down things that scare you. Add things which feel so big that you have no idea how they could ever possibly happen. Then put it somewhere where you’ll see it every day.
13. Go to see a movie by yourself. Pick something terrible that no one else would really enjoy. Buy a big bucket of popcorn, & have fun!
14. Visit a farmer’s market & stock up on delicious healthy food for the week. I always feel so happy when I have a fridge full of good choices. Don’t you?
15. Take photos of your best friend. ‘Cause she’s a babe, & everyone likes to see themselves through someone else’s eyes.
16.. Start working your way through that abandoned bookshelf of yours! I know that you, like me, have succumbed to snapping up $1 secondhand copies of absolutely everything. It’s time to start reading ‘em!
17. Volunteer your time at an animal shelter. They need your help.
18. Make your own body scrubs out of brown sugar, olive oil & any essential oils you like! You’ll probably never find a manufactured product that does the trick any better…
19. Arrange your office, bedroom or living room according to feng shui. Here’s how to do it!
20. Learn how to cook something fantastic. If you don’t normally cook anything, this will amaze the people who know you! If you’re pretty gung-ho in the kitchen, then work something new into your repertoire!
21. Buy a book in a language you haven’t spoken in years. Read it aloud to yourself. I used to love my French copies of Roald Dahl stories, especially Charlie Et La Chocolaterie!
22. Practice a make-up skill you haven’t yet perfected: smokey eye, winged eyeliner, cut creases?! Park yourself in front of the mirror with a selection of brushes & a pack of baby wipes, & get to it!
23. Pick up a bunch of plants & start to grow a little garden! If you don’t have a backyard like me — such is the plight of living in Manhattan — grow some herbs for your kitchen!
24. Take a Pilates class. Enjoy the ache!
25. Look at your list of goals, break them down into micromovements, & BEGIN! You know you want to…
26. Surprise your lover by showing up at their work with a milkshake, or something else that you know is their absolute favourite! What could be better than a sweet treat to break up a dreary day?
27. Try to recreate your favourite art on your fingernails. This may require some tricky nail pens & a bit of acetone, but I have faith that you can do it!
28. Embellish something you use every day. Maybe you could stick crystals on your glasses, or paint your bicycle. You could add a bunch of sparkly gems to your key-ring, or put stickers on your laptop. The point is this: our day-to-day existence doesn’t have to be dull. It can be decadent instead!
29. Write in your journal or radical self love bible. Grab a selection of your favourite pens & start scribbling… There is something so satisfying about writing on paper!
30. Draw a picture, even if drawing isn’t your strongest area. I am very insecure about my drawing skills, but have been having so much fun with The Scribble Diary! It’s a great way to stretch your brain.
31. Light candles & have a romantic night with someone you fancy. YEAH!
32. Go out with the intention of saying “yes”. Sometimes when my creativity feels blocked or stagnant, I leave the house with no plan except that I will say YES to the opportunities presented. Last time this happened, I made friends with two men who owned an art gallery. We drank champagne & talked about relationships & one of them gave me a CD of his band. It was fantastic! Try it. Just be open & say yes!
33. Have a reflexology session. Few things feel so sublime. Just do some googling to find the best places near you!
34. Go for a bike ride. My favourite summertime activity, by a country mile!
35. Sit in a cafe for an hour with no agenda at all. Drink some coffee, or not. Do some people-watching. Relax into a seat. Smile at strangers. See what unfolds!
36. Go & see your favourite band play! But if you live in one of those places where great bands seldom tour — like, say, New Zealand — why not host an “almost-live” party? Invite some friends over, turn the music up, & enjoy!
37. Write a love letter to your one & only. Or to your one-of-many! Or your best friend, your mother, your teacher. But top marks if you write it to yourself, seal it in an envelope, & hide it in your room somewhere.
38. Go to the gym. Lift some weights. It’s good for you!
39. Clean out your pantry, fridge, medicine cabinet & bedside table! You will feel like a new person, I promise.
40. Buy fresh flowers & arrange them in vases. Make it a regular habit. Houses feel so much more lived-in & happy when there are fresh flowers & plants dotted around the place! If you want the same effect but less effort, buy yourself an orchid. They require absolutely minimal care & are so gorgeous!
41. Visit a Russian or Turkish bath house. Get some steam & sweat out the toxins. Bonus points if you have someone hit you with a birch branch to improve your circulation!
42. Get a fresh juice or smoothie & sit in the park. Actually, I think this one would follow #41 pretty nicely! The recipe for a perfect day, perhaps!
43. Fix something that’s broken! I have a pair of earrings that have been broken for at least two years. All I need to do is glue the stud back on… & yet, I haven’t. I know you have little projects just like this all around the house! Go do it! (& I’ll fix my earrings… Promise.)
44. Coordinate ten new outfits from head to toe. This will take at least a little bit of stress out of your week! Set them up in their entirety & hang them in your closet. It feels so good to have pre-made outfits ready to go!
45. Meditate. Ommmmmmm!
46. Get a pedicure. It’s always a good feeling… & it’s great to be able to take off your shoes, wriggle your toes & have a bright colour to admire! Go for something unusual & exciting: blue, purple, or electric coral will look fabulous!
47. Go for a walk by the water: ocean, lake, even a stream will do! Breathe in the fresh air & relax.
48. Make a list of 10 places you want to visit in the next 5 years. Call it your WANDERLIST & add to it constantly! Illustrate it with drawings or clippings. Then send me a postcard when you actually get there!
49. Go swimming! Fantastic.
50. Bust out a camera — a real one! — & go use it! If you don’t have one, pick up an inexpensive Lomo & start experimenting. I loved Chloe’s notes on using a La Sardina!
51. Enlist a friend to watch a marathon of your favourite terrible reality show. Some ideas: America’s Next Top Model, A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila, Daisy Of Love, RuPaul’s Drag Race, The Bachelor…
52. Make a new friend. It’s not that difficult. Go on, then!
53. Go to an art gallery. Immerse yourself in someone else’s vision for a little while. Keep an eye on your local art listings, too — you don’t want to miss out when your favourite artist comes to town!
54. Paint your wall with blackboard paint. Or how about your door? It will instantly become a helpful, useful part of your home!
55. Make a zine! Just grab some paper, fold it in half, & start! You can use a typewriter or hand-write it, fill it with collages & jokes, write essays or just make it a devotional to your favourite movies from the ’90s… When you’re done, photocopy it & post it to your friends!
56. Eat a grapefruit outside in the sunshine. Blissful.
57. Go on a roadtrip. Sometimes the best way to do this is pack a bag, grab a friend, pick a direction & start driving. Don’t overplan it too much. Keep it simple & remember to take your camera!
58. Get a tattoo. Don’t tell your parents it was my idea!
59. Organise a clothing swap with your friends. So much fun! Everyone has to bring a few items they don’t wear anymore, you put ‘em all in a pile & everyone (hopefully!) goes home with something new.
60. Buy yourself fun new underwear. It’s a simple but effective pick-me-up!
61. Have a spa day & relax. If you have the time (& the dosh), go the whole hog: get a scrub, a massage & a facial. If you’re short on time & money, I often find that teeny-weeny parlours will give you a killer massage for a super-reasonable price.
62. Climb a tree. Take a book & a snack. Dangle your feet.
63. Go & watch a production of Shakespeare. The outdoor performances are especially enjoyable!
64. Schedule breakfast dates. I love having breakfast with my friends: it starts the day off on a thoroughly positive note, makes you smile, & often gives you so much to think about all day!
65. Spend a day at the museum. Stare at dinosaur bones, Egyptian hieroglyphs & crazy jewelled swords. Take a walk afterwards & daydream.
66. Drink hot chocolate. You can also make your own non-dairy, non-soy version by dissolving dark chocolate into almond milk. Immensely delicious!
67. Re-read all your favourite children’s books. They’ll transport you back & make you smile.
68. Take a trapeze class. It’s much harder than it looks, believe me, but it’s a fantastic activity! You don’t know excitement until you’ve hung your toes over the edge of a ledge, then swung off!
69. Have your palm read. Take your best friend with you. It’s more fun that way!
70. Make a photo wall. If you don’t have a collection of Polaroids, Instax & photobooth strips, never fear! Just throw your favourite pictures onto a USB drive & take it to a photo-printing machine!
71. Plan a party. It doesn’t have to be anything too high-strung, either. Why not arrange a low-key yet fabulous picnic for your five best friends?
72. Turn your favourite pictures into postcards with Postagram! I am completely obsessed with this idea & have been frantically sending pictures to everyone!
73. Have a one-person dance party in your living room, on the street, at the laundromat…
74. Donate clothing or canned goods to a shelter. Just ‘cause it’s the right thing to do.
75. Play tourist in your city. I often find that I enjoy NYC best when I’m with friends from out of town. They always want to do things that I would normally never even consider, like walking the Brooklyn Bridge or going to the Central Park Zoo. We end up having the best time! Go & check out what your city is famous for. You might be pleasantly surprised!
76. Put on your favourite outfit… & if you’re not sure what your favourite outfit is, you need to start taking regular outfit photos!
77. Dye a piece of your hair bright pink. Don’t be afraid… It’s not permanent!
78. Hula-hoop in your garden, in the park, on the beach… Whatever the case, make sure to listen to some great tunes while you do it!
79. Go ice-skating or roller-skating with someone you think is fantastic. Hold hands & whizz around like maniacs! Wear a sparkly outfit. Do your best Nancy Kerrigan impression!
80. Make it your mission to find every photobooth in the city! Take a bag full of disguises with you & see how many photo strips you can do in a day!
81. Lie in the grass & watch the clouds. Make a list of the shapes you see.
82. Go to a flea market & seek out treasures! You don’t need to have a lot of money for this to be enjoyable; even if you can’t afford to spend a cent, the people & things you’ll see are an experience in themselves!
83. Make out. Preferably with someone you really like.
84. Orgasms. Maybe with someone you really like, but maybe by yourself! Hooray!
85. Rescue an animal! I have written extensively about how much Hank & Dolly have enhanced our lives, & even though adding an animal to your family comes with its share of less-than-awesome moments, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
86. Buy new art for your living room. Take everything off your walls & start all over again.
87. Read Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit. It’s one of my favourite books of all time, with little art assignments & experiments that you can try yourself. I’d call it an essential dose of surreality.
88. Sit yourself on a bench & people-watch. Wear sunglasses so you can have a really good gawk!
89. Customise your suitcase with tape, spraypaint, ribbons, decoupage… It will definitely make it easier to spot on the luggage carousel!
90. Find a fortune-telling machine. I basically can’t walk past a fortune-telling machine without putting a dollar in it. It’s an excellent scam, don’t you think?!
91. Ride a roller-coaster! This might require a little planning but honestly, it’s so worth it. I love a good roller-coaster!
92. Bedazzle something! Yes!
93. Choreograph a dance routine for some kind of boring chore in your life. Maybe it’s the “Doing The Dishes Shuffle” or the “Don’t Wanna Go To Bed Yet Mamba”. How about the “Early Morning Coffee Run Rhumba”?!
94. Make stickers of your Instagram pictures & then put them EVERYWHERE. No, really, EVERYWHERE. I used Printstagram!
95. Buy scented candles. Diptyque are known for being brilliant, but I also love Laduree candles. My new favourites are by Seed — I actually found them in our distinctly non-fancy local supermarket, & their vanilla bean candles are incredible!
96. Eat a popsicle.
97. Cover everything with googly eyes. It makes life funnier. We should all have a tin of emergency googly eyes in our handbags!
98. Give someone a compliment. Make it real & meaningful & a little unexpected.
99. Write your own list of things to do. How meta!
100. Do that thing. You know… That thing you’ve been meaning to do for ages. That thing you’ve been putting off for days, weeks, months. That thing that as soon as I say “that thing” you know exactly what I’m talking about. That thing. Yeah. Go do that.