We spend our entire lives attempting to be normal (whatever normal is), but when we get stuck in the rut of routine it can feel like we’re not really living. And it was so, when in a bar ordering drinks and I refused a shot that the dejected punter waving a Sambuca in my face turned to me and said, ‘oh come on, live a little’. This phrase is akin to ‘smile love, it might never happen’. It’s a patronising mantra for those already content with a belly full of exhilaration. Or just a slightly pushy hedonist who didn’t want to waste the £4 of liquor he had spilling all over his hand. Either way, his little gibe stuck and it was then that I took what he said as a challenge (and it did not start with downing that shot).
There’s an entire world out there full of strangers who have no idea who you are and opportunities that are waiting for you to realise that they’re opportunities and grasp them with your clammy, nervous palms. Maybe it’s because I’m reading ‘Yes Man’ by Danny Wallace or maybe it’s because I’m currently freelancing and spending a lot of time in cafes dreaming up scenarios of the people inside them at 3pm on a Tuesday afternoon, but when you live in a city so full of possibility, the world by way of having a bit of fun, that doesn’t involve necking pints, is a rather hefty playground. But why don’t more of us think to play around a bit more inside it?
Feeling alive can come from the even the most trivial things, but sometimes it just takes a bit of prompting to realise how easily you can bag that stomach rolling, well, for an introvert anyway. Disclaimer: Extroverts may do these things on the reggers. Extroverts seek out the stories, the conversation, but when sometimes the biggest thing you’ll do in a day is leave the house, your level of ‘wow, that’s crazy’ is a lot lower on the scale.
So I made a list, tried and tested, of different little things to make you go, ‘WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE’. Some are just a bit indulgent (very indulgent), some will make you feel warm and fuzzy, some, while acting as completely selfless, will also make you feel like a champ, but all will give you a little bit more joie de vivre. Some will sound borderline risky, insane and even illegal, but I’m afraid that’s the price you have to pay to bag a new lease of life. That little buzz, that hidden secret, that childish excitement, it’s there, you just need to coax it out. Turns out most of the things we were told not to do as kids (lying, copying, taking other people’s stuff, make-believe) was done so to make us feel dead inside as adults. Well, I am now your pseudo parent and I am demanding you to unlearn anything you’ve ever been told is wrong and let your spontaneity flag fly.
Try one of these today, hell, even say yes a few more times, but watch the stories and the excitement bubble up inside of you as you nail each one. Typing these I felt like a school girl writing down dares to do, in secret, during maths, and now I’m slyly passing it to you.
Make A Twitter Page, something like ‘@spreadingthelove888’ and just start posting some lovely, lovely things. The internet needs more keyboard lovers not warriors. It will also make you feel slightly like Gossip Girl, but nicer.
One stolen from Katherine Ryan in this week’s Stylist Mag – Whenever you finish a book leave it on a bus, train or coffee shop. Emma Watson has favoured this in the past. But whatever you do, don’t put your email address inside. I made this mistake, putting a little message saying ‘Let me know what you thought of the book’ as well, and my account promptly got hacked a few days later. Maybe your twitter handle instead?
Make notes on post-its or old stationary, write down the things you want to hear right now, or your favourite quotes, or even your lovely tweets from the page above, go for a walk and leave them in places. Like an anonymous treasure hunt. You could even put the twitter handle on there. Self promotion with a little kindness thrown in.
Get a pen pal. A prisoner, a pensioner, an ill child, a stranger. Learn the art of letter writing. Connect with someone who you would never cross paths with.
Order a coffee and give a random name. Rambunctious, I know.
Make posters with a political message that you believe in or a funny quote, go out by the cover of nightfall with some sellotape and stick them up. Apostrophe man would be proud.
Go on a date, with someone you know you are not particularly interested in seeing again, and invent a whole new person. Maybe start with white lies for the first one, then if you fancy a bigger challenge go the whole hog. This works if you’re on a night out too, and the dutch courage usually helps the creative juices (and the recipients ability to believe you). Being from Jersey (a place not many know about) I favour ‘I’m actually the princess of Jersey, but I’m trying to live a normal life here’ – Watch inebriated amazement ensue.
Go to a church of a religion you’re not part of. Or if you’re an atheist like me, go to any church. A service, a reading, a prayer group. You’d be surprised what you can learn.
Random Acts of Kindness
Go to a shop, buy your best friends favourite sweets, magazine, maybe a key ring, send it to them without saying anything. Not even who it’s from.
Buy tampons, pads and chocolate and go to a homeless shelter to give to the ladies.
Go on Just Giving, pick a cause, donate what you can.
Go to a pub, sit in it, on your own, have a drink, have a meal, soak up the ambience, own your independence. Exude confidence, it does wonders.
Take a day off work, go to a theme park.
Get that piercing you’ve always wanted.
The next person that you see in the street that you make eye contact with say hello.
Time to Travel
In 3 weeks time you’re going to Bath or Wales, or somewhere equally random that you’ve never been before. Get on the Trainline and look at the latest deals, book an Air BNB for the night and make a weekend of it. Explore.
If you don’t have the money to do this, look at hotel deals in your local area and just book in for the night. My friend once did this to prepare for an interview. It helped her relax and concentrate.
Camp somewhere. Your garden, down the road. Rough Guides podcast did an episode on this called Microadventures. Have a listen.
Take a week off work with a friend. Try and get as far as you possibly can with no money or £100.
Go to your nearest big train station, pick the next train that’s going, buy a ticket and explore that place for the day.
Book yourself a massage or into your local spa for the day.
Do Something Random
Go and pick strawberries
Make your own soap
Learn the Ukulele
Put on your favourite song and dance to it naked
Buy a disposable camera (remember those?), go on a photography walk
Make a list of 26 things you want to do before your 26th birthday.
Right, that’s all I’ve got. If you have any more that you favour please let me know! But for those of you seeking, I’ve given you the tools. A good solid list of anything I could think of or have tried. So, go forth and feel alive again. I dare you.