Saturday, January 3, 2009

The challenge

I got an email a few weeks ago inviting me to be part of an interesting challenge for the new year.

The message began by pointing out how most of our lives have become somewhat humdrum, focused on the day to day: the kids, the jobs, the getting through.

"Not that our lives aren't wonderful, and the envy of roughly 99.99% of the world's population. They are. But how many more years do we have left to do something to make our days extraordinary?" it asked. "I'm not talking about some insane midlife crisis stunt (though, more power to you if that's what you need). But I'm also not talking about your typical New Year's resolution ... What I'm looking for is a pledge to do something extraordinary next year - literally, out of the ordinary - but achievable. Somewhere between losing that extra five pounds, and winning a Best Director Oscar."

Given how much I've been soul-searching of late in the wake of Emilie Lemmons' death, this couldn't have come at a better time. I first thought about vowing to stop feeling obligated to sample the cake at every children's birthday party I attend, but I suspected the idea was to aim a little higher.

So at the risk of jinxing myself (there's a $50 bottle of something in it for the person whose aspiration is voted the coolest, after they accomplish it), I submitted the following three Quixote-like stabs at achieving extraordinariness (a word I just coined on the spot and am rather liking):
  1. To play the cello in public again
  2. To have a byline in the New York Times (I have to keep up with my brother Matt, you know. Who's recently been gaining ground on my brother Daniel.)
  3. To build a loyal following for this blog that actually includes people I don't already know.
I'm thinking of the three, the last might actually be the most doable. What do you think? And what's your extraordinary idea for '09?

Update: The challenge has already been won, in my mind. She wasn't actually one of those competing, but it would be hard to find something more extraordinary, or inspirational, than what Leslie Nordin is doing, wouldn't it? Rock on, Leslie!


  1. Nah, just give up now. It was a good blog while it lasted though. :)

    Your brother, matt

  2. You laughed when you heard I had taken up belly dancing...but I've resolved [gulp!] this year to *perform* at least once. Will you come watch me wiggle?

    Congratulations on your new bundle of joy. May the blog bring you all the thrills, chills, trials and irreplacable tribulations of any vibrant offspring!


  3. do the cello thing. It was always oddly sexy...

  4. i know this may sound silly but 'one' of my ultimate goals this year is to NOT have another baby (not joking:)! i'll share the rest of my goals at a later date.

    jen, you go girl!!!

  5. Hi Jen,
    I'll definitey add you to my list of people to read. I've aways found your insights to be thoughtful and concise--I look forward to visting you here. I love the idea of the challenge and wish I had it in me to focus on the extraordinary this year...I'll settle for feeling ordinary again in the wake of our sadness in '08--in fact, maybe achieving wholeness in '09 will be my challenge. But I absolutely relate to the feelings behind the drive for the extraordinary and believe that if anyone has it in them, it would be you! Best of luck -Brenna