2018 is dead. Business as usual did a last fart somewhere around August, but it was just the final few cubic inches of air leaving its body anyway, if we’re honest. Gender stereotypes are basically over. Dog food is made of insects now. None of the old rules apply anymore, so it’s time to do something new. Don’t worry, we’re not about to suggest you jack it all in to become a Buddhist high-rise window cleaner or an artisan denim dyer. But there’s absolutely no point in being stuck in a rut in a world turned on its head. So here are some small, fun ways to try something new and whizz things up a little.
Become a superfan of a local group
Somewhere out there is a local band with a tiny-to-modest following that would have their entire 2019 made if an honest-to-god superfan started turning up at their gigs. Just start showing up wherever and whenever they have a gig and dance your face off. You, for your trouble, get the warm glow of supporting the local creative community and before you know it you’ll probably find yourself smack-bang in the middle of the local music scene (and maybe a mosh pit).
There are few things in this life that taste as good as a loaf of bread you baked yourself. There are even fewer that say to a guest ‘this is how much effort I put into making food for you’ quite so effectively. And the smug points, those are off the scale. Plus, it’s better for you. Plus, it’s a surprisingly great thing to really nerd out about. Even more bonus points for the fact it’s super-cheap. Yet further points for the fact that supermarket bread is garbage and you’ll get to stop eating it. All the points, basically.
Host a poker night
If you can host your poker night in a cellar and wear a visor, even better. If you can drink some cheap beers while you’re at it, better still. We won’t advise you to start smoking cigars, but maybe a bit of steam for ambience? No, OK, maybe not. But poker’s fun, it’s sociable, it probably improves your maths skills, and it’s a good excuse to serve excessive amounts of nibbles. Just print off some Texas Hold ‘em rules and you’re good to go.
If moving more means going to the gym or busting a gut at a crossfit session that’s fine, we suppose. That’s not really what we mean, though. One of the common factors among residents of blue zones (those are places where people get to be really old while remaining in amazing shape – think Japan and the Mediterranean) is that they move a lot. They don’t ruin themselves running up mountains, they just do frequent light exercise such as walking, gardening or fishing, and it helps them live longer. You’ve heard that sitting still all the time is almost as bad for you as reading YouTube comments, so find something that gets you moving more, even if it’s just getting off the bus a few stops earlier or dancing on the spot while you take all your phone calls.
Watch Bob Ross
It’s weird how well Bob Ross’s televisual painting lessons work. Any American child of the 80s will remember the afro’d painter’s soothing tones. Thanks to the wonders of streaming technology, however, whole new generations are discovering him for the first time. Listening to him is going to get you at least 34 per cent closer to blissed-out nirvana. We know people who watch him for hours on end without ever even thinking about picking up a paintbrush, just to get themselves a little closer to the womb they left 30 years ago. If you do pick up a paintbrush, though, you’ll be amazed at where Bob Ross can take you with it.
Marie Kondo a Crush
Bekah discovered the life changing magic of applying the KonMari principles to Robert Pattinson. Somewhere in your life, though, you have a Robert Pattinson of your own. Maybe it is, in fact, Robert Pattinson. Maybe you’ve been carrying around a weird Rupert Grint crush since The Deathly Hallows Part One. Maybe it’s the girl who works on the floor below you who always wears spectacular heels. Somewhere in your life, though, is a crush that has passed its sell-by date and it’s no longer sparking joy. Get it out of your house.
Don’t even plan it. One morning, when you’re already out your front door and on your way to the bus, or about to take the exit for your office, or a few subway stops from the coffee shop where you work, just decide not to go. Go somewhere else. Take a random turn and see where you end up. Call work and tell them you had car trouble, or your water pipe burst, or you’re stuck in the bathroom (no-one wants more details when you tell them you can’t leave a bathroom). Then just do something – anything – different. See how it feels, smell the roses and enjoy your stolen time.
Befriend an old person
As a society we do a chronically bad job of looking after our old folks. At best we just don’t engage with them very well, at worst we shove them away in homes and ignore them when they’re deeply in need. You don’t have to take full responsibility for the life and livelihood of your cranky neighbour – just maybe drop in on them to see whether they need anything from the grocery store every now and then, or invite them round for coffee. Or, if you prefer, find a local program that will put you in touch with someone who needs a bit of company. You’ll probably find that they have more to offer than you think.