Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It Doesn’t Cost to Look

Forget about cheap thrills — what I want now are free ones. In this economy, things like sailing or singing lessons will have to wait. Just because I can’t buy doesn’t mean I can’t shop.

The other day, when I was feeling a little low, I went online to look at beach houses for sale in Rhode Island. With the economy taking a nosedive, I took virtual tours of million-dollar homes. It felt good — but not nearly as good as the idea of calling a broker and actually inquiring about them. For added fun, I thought, I’d offer cash, sight unseen. I didn’t act on this fantasy (that would have been mean and a little perverse), but I had a great time thinking about it.

Thumbing through The List, I counted 37 shakeups that cost nothing, including a few of my personal favorites: Tell Someone Off; Spend the Day in Bed; and Escape. And there’s the really big shakeup: Switch Careers. I did that already, years ago, when I left my magazine job to go freelance. It was scary, but I’ve done so many great things because of it. I’ve written one book and edited another. I’ve become an adjunct professor. I’ve edited two small websites and written for one huge one.

So what if I switched again? What if I went back to working in an office? Would I be able to find a job that took me somewhere new and exciting — especially these days? Who knows. But I can shop without buying and find out. And it doesn’t cost a thing.

Have you had any free and fun shakeups lately? Let me know.


Anonymous said...

Shaking up your routine is incredibly powerful. Yes! Yes! I especially like the one about telling someone off. Okay, so I don't necessarily want to do that just for fun, but I think the real message is to stand up for yourself and stop being a doormat. Whew..lots to think about with that one right there.

Sarah said...

I have an upcoming one that relates to another item in The List - breaking with tradition. A while back I heard a great story on NPR about alternative gifts for the recession holidays - there was a woman who, instead of the regular gift exchange, had her large family exchange photos of each other. Each year they picked a different holiday-related item and posed with it, then they made copies and gave them out to each other. She ended up keeping a scrapbook with all of the different, often funny, photos over the years. Isn't that a cool idea?

It inspired me to go at holiday gifting in a more creative way. I decided to see what I can do with the stuff I already have around the house instead of purchasing new stuff. So far, I've finished knitting a scarf that was languishing in the closet as a gift for my niece, and I'm making origami cranes (from scrap letterhead salvaged from work when we moved addresses) dipped in leftover rubber dip (what you use to re-cover the handles of tools) to give as cool tree ornaments/window decorations. And I have to say, it's MUCH more fun than braving the crowds at the local mall.

gail belsky said...

My new thing for the holidays this year is buying off ebay. I've never done it before, and it was a real kick.
This year, my siblings and I decided to do a $10 grab bag instead of exchanging $75 gifts.I decided to give mine a '70's theme, so I bid $4.49 on a vintage Smiley Face mug. When I won, I was so excited I went running around the house going, "I won, I won!"
Shipping brought it up to $9.50, but I cheated, and bought some '70's era candy to stick in it. (Remember Gold Mine bubble gum in the little sack?)

Anonymous said...

Well I haven't read your book yet - but it definetly sounds inspiring considering we have titled '09 as the year for change. I just had a recent break up with my girlfriend and it has not only inspired me to put my life forward but it has left me with anxious desires to better myself. (as she likes to put it) One in particular is transforming a collection of our conversations (we had met on myspace - I saw her picture and knew she was the one) into a nonfiction story. We have a collection of instant messaging conversations totalling over 12 months of amazing insight into two ppl, past experiences, ex's, and basic themes of women. It can be truly be inspiring. Bound up and ready for editing and publishing, it has accumlated dust on my desk at home. Months later and many trips to see eachother - we have unfortunately broke up. So with a story to tell and improvements in myself, I have a list that is quite growing as the days go by in this cold and brisk January. To add, working out has been a great time filler and definetly has helped to get my mind off of her.

If you have inquiries on the progress of a book yet untitled and published, I can be reached at fowlerc@nycny.net

Anonymous said...

to shake anything for yourself is very empowering but i know so many too afraid of giving it a go so i've sent the url from facebook to all my friends and they've suggested we start a club - "Daring,Active,Rebellious,Eves"
the name says it all. be great to see if anyone could come up with something even more exciting? just think the girls could use some encouragemnt ot get out and shake their groove!!!
this book starts it all but i dont thnk it ends there!!!