I had a number of crazy ideas over the past few years. They are crazy in the sense that they are not all considered normal among the general population.
Some worked out, some didn’t. Some were a bit bumpy as we experimented. Some worked for a short time, and then didn’t for the long term. No matter if they worked out of if they didn’t, we learned from every experiment.
Our first crazy idea was to sell our house and rent an apartment instead. That worked out great… for a few years. My wife got a little antsy and we tried home ownership again. Our initial experiment changed us more than we realized, and after just a year in our second house, we sold it and moved back to a rental apartment. That’s where we are today, and things are going well again.
Our second crazy idea was to purge our stuff and become minimalists. My wife, our daughter, and I have all done this to varying degrees, with me being the most minimal, my wife the least, and my daughter somewhere in-between. We discovered that each person has different levels at which they are comfortable.
Our third crazy idea was to get fit by rethinking fitness. I started out with a simple regimen of jogging, pushups, and situps. That worked well, and after a few months I decided to push it farther. My wife and I started a 90 day session of P90x. After 90 days we were in the best shape of our lives. However, we found the time commitment of the workouts to be too much. We abandoned our fitness routine. Fitness has been a tough one to maintain, as I haven’t found a good way to make it fun. Instead it always seems like a chore. Even though I like how I feel when I’m exercising regularly, I don’t enjoy the act of exercising.
Our fourth crazy idea was to change our family surname. We changed it from Watermolen to West, and this is one of the best things we have ever done. It wasn’t so much that we hated the old name, it was more that it was a series of small hassles that repeated over and over again. Every time I gave my name to someone, I had to spell it. This was often followed by some small joke by the other person along the lines of “I bet you got teased as a kid.” We wanted to simplify, to have a last name that was easy to pronounce, easy to spell, and wouldn’t be mocked or made fun of. It is so pleasant to have those small hassles disappear.
My fifth crazy idea was to commute to work by bicycle. This is completely normal in some parts of the world, but in the US in general and in my city especially, it’s very rare. My city actually ranked as one of the worst places in the US to bike commute. I commuted to work daily for about a year. I stopped in the winter because it wasn’t enjoyable to bike in the cold, and I never went back to it. Like exercise, the ultimate decision to stop was due to the time impact. The commute to work was an hour each way as opposed to 15 minutes by car. I would rather spend that time with my family, or doing other things I enjoy more. Even though I stopped commuting by bike, I’m glad I tried it. I’m more comfortable using my bike as transportation and I still occasionally ride my bike to get groceries.
My sixth crazy idea was to start my dream job of life coaching / clutter coaching. This is ongoing, and I haven’t spent as much time growing this business as I would like to. Part of the reason is that this crazy idea came just before we bought a house and spent that year in flux. Now we’re back to renting and I’m hoping to work on this more. Another impediment is that I started taking medication for ADD, and I’m enjoying my day job more since I can focus and stay on task for longer periods of time. I’m still working on this crazy idea and hope to continue develop this along with my blogging and writing.
Today, I don’t really have any crazy ideas in the works. I might classify learning to play the ukulele as crazy idea number seven, but that one seems less crazy than some of the others. Even so, I suppose it’s unusual to learn to play an instrument later in life, so it likely fits in with the others.
Lastly, I want to share an interview I did last year with Laura and Mark of Enjoy Life Slowly. I didn’t share it at the time, because life was in flux after returning to home ownership, and I wasn’t feeling good about it. In the interview we mostly discuss our crazy ideas, so it fits nicely with todays blog post. The interviews page is here , and the link to my interview is here.
If you want to read more about all of our crazy ideas, you can visit our Crazy Ideas in Action page.
The key lesson I want to share in this post is that it’s important to experiment. By trying new things, you stretch your idea of normal. You might find an entirely new life philosophy that changes the way you live the rest of your life. Even if your ideas are not “crazy”, experimenting with different experiences in life will help you grow. It prevents you from becoming stagnant, and keeps life interesting.
What experiments have you tried?