In the heat of a narrow but exciting Kickstarter success followed by all the things that come with starting a small business, I neglected to do a proper recap of my year-long series of 30 day lifestyle experiments. Now that life has returned to a manageable pace, I’ve decided to return to the blogosphere and continue the project that I started over a year ago.
Back in July 2011 I had been talking with some friends about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch as well as This Guy in New York City who went an entire year without producing any trash at all. Both topics are at the extremes of environmental sustainability so it got me to thinking, “How reasonable would it be for a yuppie in Boston to go just 30 days without producing any trash?” It was certainly a challenging experiment and I ended up with a small amount of trash at the end (filled a 1 quart ziplock bag) but it taught me to live with minimal impact to the landfill. Many of the behaviors I picked up during this lifestyle experiment I still continue with more than a year later (French press coffee instead of drip or D&D styrofoam cups, worm composting food scraps, stainless steel travel mug, and others).
Throughout the course of my first experiment, my family and friends suggested other “lifestyle experiments” that I thought would be interesting to try out. So I decided that I’d keep going until I didn’t feel like doing it anymore. As a result, I’ve spent the past 12 months trying new things, meeting new people, and learning a lot about myself in the process. I can definitively say that each experiment has resulted in new behaviors that have crept their way into my daily life and I’m a better person a year later because of it. I’m not sure if 30 days is the magic number or not, but from my experience it seems to be just long enough to make an impact.
Courtesy of Google Analytics, I spent some time going through my most popular blog posts from each 30 day lifestyle experiment. I was shocked to see that my most popular month of blogging (by several hundred views) was my short story reviews on my train commute to work. I attribute this to all of those high school students looking to get away with not having to actually read the story. I would say shame on you but I did the same thing in high school so there you have it. A close runner-up was my new exercise each day, it was also the most fun so I’m glad that people enjoyed reading about it.
I had a great time going through my old blog posts so I’ve included a summary of the most popular posts from each month here, check them out:
- Day 18, Compost Construction for City Slickers (August – Life Without the Landfill)
- Mrs Smiling Traveller Mom (September – One New Conversation per Day on Public Transit)
- Hiking Mount Carrigain, My 48th 4,000 Footer (October – A Randomized Photo-Journal of my 5-9 Life)
- Clothing Inventory and Mini Purge (November – The 100-Item Challenge)
- My First Vegetarian Christmas (December – Meat Eater to Plant Eater)
- Day 27, Paid Someone’s Bill at a Dunkin Donuts Drive-Thru (January – Daily Random Acts of Kindness)
- The Lay-Z-Boy Transformer Adventure Man (February – 8 Hours of Sleep per Night + a Dream Journal)
- Seven Tips for How to Live Young, Urban, and Totally Sober (March – Young, Urban, and Totally Sober)
- The Nightingale and the Rose by Oscar Wilde, a Short Story Review (April – Short Stories on the Train Commute)
- P90X Shoulders, Biceps, and Triceps (May – One New Exercise per Day)
- Urban Meditation Week 3, Aligning My Seven Chakras (June – Daily Meditation)
- Writing a Press Release for Your Kickstarter Project (July – Launch a Kickstarter Campaign)
I found that these experiments have improved my lifestyle in many ways so I plan to continue. However, for 2013 I’ll be focusing my lifestyle experiments on a new-ish topic that I’ve become very interested in: The Sharing Economy (i.e. cohousing, carsharing, community supported agriculture, bartering, and more). I’ve been carsharing with Zipcar since the company started 5 years ago and it has been great, but the sharing topic has exploded since then and there is so much to learn, do, and write about.
As for the writing of the blog, I plan to deemphasize the “daily” aspect as compared to last year. Writing each and every day about my exercises, meditations, dreams, meals, readings etc got to be a little overwhelming at times so I’ll plan to write at least once/week to keep track of my experiences. I do have a full time job and I just started a company on the side so scaling back the rate of blog posting will help to improve the quality of the posts as well as keep my sanity in check. I’ll also be tweeting about my experiences as often as possible. So Like My Facebook Page for the weekly-ish blog updates and Follow Me on Twitter if you want to keep up with my experiments in real-time.