Before my 2011 project begins in a few weeks lets talk about the seed that eventually grew to become the tree we are about to climb. Just about a year ago the chest nuts were roasting over the open fire, the stockings were hung by the chimney with care and I was dodging an awkward question from my wife. "Will you make a New Year's Resolution with me?" doesn't seem like it should be so scary but I couldn't help but cringe. I hate the New Years resolution. It just seems so forced and disingenuous. It's really easy to make a promise to live a better life while the champagne glasses are clinking and Auld Lang Syne is playing in the back ground but I don't know too many that survive the day to day drudge of the rest of the year to come. I figure that if someone really, really wants to lose weight, quit smoking or make some other world changing life style decision they are going to do so regardless of where they are in the annual cycle of days. So I hemmed and I hawed and changed the subject hoping she would forget about it. She did but I couldn't. The idea that a yearly project could be rewarding if done right stuck in the rafters of my head and flew around like a very persistent bat.
When my wife and I met, very early on in our relationship, she asked if I'd like to watch all of the Academy award winning films for Best Picture, Actor and Actress with her. We started pulling a year out of a hat every few weeks, watching the movies that correspond with that year and awarding each with a number of stars and our own personal reviews.We've watched over 80 movies and it has been not only a great way to bond with my love but a very unique and satisfying way to get an education on cinema. This was the sort of project I could get behind as a replacement for the morally ambiguous and loosely committed to resolution that's usually the norm.
So I knew I wanted to do something creative but had no idea what. I was sitting in my living room eating stale Christmas cookies and just channel surfing. Click, click, click. Munch,munch, munch. I stopped on a random channel so I could run into the kitchen and grab a few more cookies out of the tin. When I got back I noticed I was on a stock car race of some sort. A car had just pulled to a stop and as the driver got out and took of his helmet it wasn't a he at all..it was a beautiful dark haired young woman and it really caught me off guard. Not that a woman can't drive race cars, but I didn't expect it and to be able to do something that no one expects of you seemed really powerful to me. In a random flash I had my quest; to master a skill or ability no one would expect of me.
After hours of thought and polling the people around me I came up with a short list of three. 1. Learn to play the banjo 2. Learn American Sign Language and 3. Learn the game and become a football fan. The former was the most appealing to me but surprise, surprise banjos are actually pretty damn expensive. I bought a sign language dictionary and tried to learn a few signs but with out formal classes it quickly became apparent that mastery would elude me. That left me on the football field and in the last 12 months I not only immersed myself in the game and learned the rules but really came to love and appreciate it. It really did change my life in some surprising ways and was such a rewarding experience I not only decided to commit to another project in 2011 but also to share it with you guys and maybe convince a few of you to join me with Project Me's of your own.