It's Easter weekend on Vashon Island, Washington. Easter is the Christian holy day celebrating life after death, and the pagan holiday symbolizing renewal. It's celebrated on the first lunar moon after the vernal equinox, the half way point of the sun's timeless journey across the sky that neatly divides the day into dark and light. There is nothing more essential in nature than sunlight, and from ancient times we've celebrated its growing presence in our lives, and the renewal that springs from it.
This was my first winter in Seattle. One of the rainiest cities in America had its rainiest winter on record. I eagerly await springtime and sunlight to pierce my flat mood and the numbing grey Seattle sky. But nature has its own schedule. So a few of my friends and I came up with a list of 131 ideas we could use to get a head-start on spring. While designed for single women, most of these activities work if you're male or married, too. Which 5 activities should I try? No judging! Maybe some of them will work for you, too. When all else fails, combine them -- just like that party game -- with a lover. Happy Spring.
1. Make someone's day. Give an authentic compliment to three strangers you see, every day for a month.
2. Volunteer at a homeless shelter, hospice, food bank, women's shelter, refugee service, or ER room. Join a relief effort.
3. Volunteer to: be entertained at a film festival or wine-tasting; learn at a conference; connect with kids at a children's hospital or an orphanage; connect with the elderly at a retirement home.
4. Sign up for a new online or speed dating service.
5. Invite someone you don't know well to lunch.
6. Have a fling, take a lover, or get a friend with benefits.
7. Be a host and hold a dinner party.
8. Spend an entire day asking questions and listening to others without once talking about yourself.
9. Commit 1 random act of kindness to a friend every day for a month.
10. Commit 1 random act of kindness to a stranger every day for a month.
11. Be curious about people -- strike up a conversation with 5 strangers every day for a month.
12. Dump your boring boyfriend (or girlfriend).
13. Kiss a stranger.
14. Look up someone from your past and reach out to them to express your gratitude for something they did.
15. Go on Tinder and invite the most unique person you find for coffee at Starbucks.
16. Bury the hatchet. Reach out to someone with whom you've had a falling out, and apologize -- even if you're not to blame.
17. Take a homeless person to dinner.
18. Smile, make eye contact, and say hello to every person you see for 1 month. Write about what you learned from it.
19. Adopt a pet.
20. Spice up your sex life -- find a new location, read a book on sex tips and apply them, have sex every day for a month.
21. Form a cooking club with 6 friends. Make dinner for all of them 1 day. Get a dinner from each of them for the next 6 days.
22. Volunteer with an animal shelter.
23. Join an alumni group or book club.
24. Ask someone out.
25. Organize a rally for a cause you care about.
26. Consciously spend less time with people who don't bring you joy -- people who criticize, hijack your conversation, never ask you questions, or complain.
27. Borrow a friend's dog and walk it.
28. Get a part-time job as a barista.
29. Text, call, email, or phone everyone you love and tell them you love them.
30. Every day for a month, pray for someone actively in your life who you dislike. See how it changes your interactions with them.
31. Start a Meetup.
32. Each day tell someone you know you appreciate them. Be specific. Tell 10 people in 10 days.
33. Make a friend with someone who has a different socioeconomic, ethnic, political belief, religion, or nationality than you.
34. Plan a trip to another country or an exotic location.
35. Watch childbirth.
36. Jump out of an airplane.
37. Go on a trek -- Walk the Camino de Santiago.
38. Sing karaoke.
39. Sneak in somewhere.
40. Splurge. Buy something expensive that you've always wanted.
41. Play a prank on someone.
42. Shoot a gun.
43. Ride a motorcycle.
44. Go skinny dipping.
45. Break a tradition.
46. Find your favorite musical group's tour schedule, and buy tickets to see them in another city.
47. Get arrested for something worthy.
48. Swim with sharks.
49. Test drive a sports car.
50. Go dancing 1/week for a month.
51. Stay at an ashram or spend a week at a meditation camp.
52. Go on a safari.
53. Get thrown out of a bar, Starbucks, restaurant, or men's club, preferably a men's club.
54. Go to Burning Man, a TED, or SXSW.
55. Find the best cocktail in your city.
56. Take scuba diving lessons, then plan a trip to a tropical island for your open water dive.
57. Create your very own Eat, Pray, Love journey.
58. Create a bucket list of the things you want to do in life. Think about what you'll be sorry you haven't done if you were to die in 10 minutes, 10 weeks, or 10 years from now. Then do them.
59. Audition for something.
60. Sign up and train for a marathon/triathlon.
61. Sign up for an Outward Bound.
62. Sign up and train for a Tough Mudder or a Spartan Race.
63. Climb one of the world's seven highest summits.
64. Replace a bad habit with a good one. Read Charles Duhigg's, The Power of Habit, if you need help.
65. Join a gym and lose x lbs.
66. Read all of the Pulitzer Prize Winning Fiction books for the last 50 years.
67. Enter a photography contest.
68. Go back to school and get another degree.
69. Volunteer for an opposing political campaign and try to understand their point of view.
70. Make a playlist of 20 motivating songs and play them each morning.
71. Do ordinary tasks with your other hand for a day.
72. Go to therapy and solve a problem that's plagued you for years.
73. Ask your friends and family to list your best qualities.
74. Get hypnotized.
75. Go to confession.
76. Conquer a fear. Or conquer multiple fears by doing what you're afraid of. Touch a snake, give a presentation, or take trapeze lessons.
77. Keep a gratitude journal and write what you're grateful for every night. Include the 3 best things that happened that day. Then read it first thing in the morning. You'll be programming your day for happiness.
78. Buy a self help book and commit to following its principles for 30 days.
79. Pray at a new church, temple, or mosque. Join a church if you don't belong to one.
80. Read a spiritual book every night before you go to bed.
81. Take a Landmark Forum class or a seminar to help actualize a goal.
82. Read 20 life changing books.
83. Listen to 16 motivating videos.
84. Clear out the clutter, and organize a room in your house or rearrange furniture.
85. Take tomorrow off and go on a day trip.
86. Swap homes with a friend you trust.
87. Paint your walls.
88. Walk to work.
89. Move someplace else, even for a few months.
90. Redecorate your bedroom. You'll go to bed happier and wake up happier.
91. Plan a girl's getaway or a family reunion.
92. Go on a spontaneous out of town trip this weekend.
93. Change your morning routine for 1 week -- go to a different Starbucks, don't read the
paper, eat something different, meditate or workout in the morning.
94. Turn down the volume on your digital life by un-subscribing to every email newsletter,
avoiding social media for 1 week, checking your email once/day instead of every hour.
95. Make your home smell like a spa.
96. Shadow someone for a day.
97. Get a new job.
98. Sign up for a Meetup for a new hobby.
99. Get a library card and check out 5 books.
100. Every month attend an author event at a bookstore; sign up for a lecture series.
101. Learn a foreign language and plan a trip to practice it.
102. Take a class -- painting, knitting, sculpting, crocheting, art history, photography, wine-
tasting, cooking, social media, sports, dancing.
103. Take a class that celebrates your ethnicity. e.g. If you're Irish, take bagpiping lessons.
104. Volunteer -- to help the 10 most interesting people in the US, and see if they'll let you
volunteer an hour of your time for them.
105. Watch every Oscar winning "Best Picture" in reverse chronological order.
106. Create an online "degree" for yourself by piecing together free online classes.
107. Get a dramatically different hairstyle.
108. Get highlights.
109. Buy Latisse and an eyebrow pencil and give your face a virtual facelift.
110. Whiten your teeth. You'll instantly look healthier.
111. Commit to smiling at everyone you meet or speak to for 1 week, even when you're on the
phone. You'll not only look happier, you'll FEEL happier, too.
112. Hire a stylist and change your wardrobe.
113. Wear something new that you've never worn before.
114. Commit to having excellent posture. You'll look and feel more confident.
115. Change your eyeglasses, get contacts, or get laser eye surgery.
116. Get a tattoo symbolizing something/someone important to you. Crowdsource the design.
117. Buy a wig and wear it out at night.
118. Make a joy journal to capture moments that bring you joy. This is my friend Susan's secret
mood booster. Then go back and look at it whenever you need a mood boost.
119. Make a dream book. Ask people on the street what their dream is, take their photo, and
make a Blurb book from it. (Kind of like Humans of NY)
120. Once a week try a new recipe.
121. Compose a song. Try "Compose Yourself" cards if you need some help.
122. Paint a piece of artwork for your home.
123. Create a dream journal for yourself. Paste pictures in it to help you visualize your dream.
124. Make a quilt from your old t-shirts.
125. Think of 10 new business ideas every day for a month. Pick one, then think of 10 names for
it every day for the next month. In the 3rd month, buy a domain name and start the business.
126. Write a non-fiction book. Start with an outline, then begin the research.
127. Create a blog and post every other day for a month.
128. Make a photo book from your pictures.
129. Write a poem about something for which you have a strong emotional reaction. Then enter
it in a contest.
130. Create a new aerobics or a Tabata routine for yourself.
131. Plan and/or build a dream home.
Which of these will you do? Tell me here or at my website, www.finegrained.net