49 Days (and ways) To Be Amazing By New Year’s

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  1. Spend half as much on Christmas this year
  2. Give twice as much to Charity
  3. Start that blog
  4. Get a ‘walking buddy’ and walk three times a week
  5. Make a party plan, and only go (and eat and drink) when you really want to
  6. Start your novel
  7. Write a love letter to yourself
  8. Go to a dance — and dance
  9. Find a new favorite song
  10. Plan to make 2014 amazing
  11. Picture who you want to be in 49 days (and make it happen!)
  12. Get on the Paleo diet
  13. Start Cycling
  14. Go on a blind date with the idea on finding a new best friend
  15. Do something nice for a stranger
  16. Visit your oldest relative
  17. Make a homemade gift
  18. Take a class
  19. Make a Christmas playlist that makes you want to dance all day long
  20. Make Christmas cookies with your best friend
  21. Write a love letter to your dream boy/girl (even if you haven’t met them yet)
  22. Invest in bath bubbles
  23. Buy a new comforter — super soft
  24. Volunteer
  25. Clean out your least favorite room — make it your favorite
  26. Write down one hundred people you are grateful for and tell them about it
  27. Make a ten year plan
  28. Make a five year plan
  29. Make a one year plan
  30. Don’t plan everything
  31. Pick three days between now and New Year’s to be ‘do nothing’ days — and have Ferris Bueller fun
  32. Watch a ‘Reign’ or ‘Blacklist’
  33. Buy a Frank Turner song
  34. Visit this Pinterest page
  35. Watch a TED talk
  36. Visit a state park
  37. Write a poem
  38. Buy a Christmas ornament that speaks to your craziest, awesomiest self
  39. Make your own Christmas cards out of memes
  40. Send Thanksgiving cards
  41. Become an adventurer
  42. Be kinder than necessary
  43. Spend a full day cleaning your house
  44. Smile more
  45. Give away everything you don’t love
  46. Stop apologizing
  47. Start to awe people
  48. Try a new genre of music
  49. Buy Lady Gaga’s song Christmas Tree

from ThinkGeek.com

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Warning! You are Living in the Pop Culture Moment of Your Dreams

I just realized this year that we are living in the kind of time and place we are going to annoy those younger than us about for the rest of our lives.

Now, I know summer movies haven’t been that great.  I almost didn’t write this because of that.  But, I believe the ups are so amazing that we can forgive a few downs.

Personal history — since I was born in 1979, I only have a few decades to compare now to, but I think the last few years have been extraordinary.  The 1980s were charming and the 1990s were the first decade where I really paid attention to pop culture, but the now is so far beyond what I’ve seen before.

When the grand kids eyes glaze over, and they can’t listen to ‘the good old days’ of pop culture anymore — tell them to blame cable TV.  I wouldn’t even be writing this post without its influence.

I remember hearing a little about this show called ‘The Sorpranos’, and then it started winning big awards right out from under the nose of great network TV shows.  Then more and more wonderful series followed.  Now, it seems like I’ve seen so much great TV in the last ten years that just those shows (and the ones I haven’t seen) could last me a longtime, quality-wise.

Just recently I finished the second disc of Girls, season 1, from Netflix.  It’s extraordinary, and yet also ’just what we expect’ from HBO or other premium cable networks.  One network, AMC, has on at the time ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Mad Men’, and the ‘Walking Dead’?  That’s insane.

But the rosy glow you’ll cast this era in has to do with more than TV.  You’ll talk about how radio, for a brief shining moment, was really fun to listen to, and full of art.  You’ll talk about Kanye West and fun. and Macklemore and Mumford & Sons all in the same sentence.

Then some other old-timer will mention video games and you’ll be talking about Rock Star and Valve and PopCap and Bioware and Blizzard for the next thirty minutes.

And all the great movies and books (Harry Potter!  The Road!) and comics and more.

And finally to shut you up, your grand kids will say, ‘Gee, that was interesting!  So why, in one sentence, do you think it was such an amazing time even though bio-cranial entertainment hadn’t even been invented yet?’

And you’ll say, ‘I think it was because this was the beginning of the information age and all these separate groups came together and cross-pollinated and people started to expect more from their entertainment and creators stopped being afraid to give people deep stories full of dark characters and — maybe we were just really lucky.’

And then the kid will asked how Duck Dynasty fit into all this and you’ll tell him to shut up.

Make your life a game

The other day I finally got around to watching a few TED Talks and there were some pretty amazing ones (I’ll talk about a couple of others later), but the one that’s stuck with me most is Jane McGonigal’s The Game That Can Give You 10 Extra Years of Life.

She talked about how, after a severe concussion, she made her day-to-day life into a game to help her get better.  And now, I’ve started using the same idea to accomplish my goals.

My game is called Kat Power, and in it I control a woman (also named Kat Power) through each level (a day), maximizing her Enthusiasm and Energy bars while steering her away things that drain her power like Sadies, Stressies, and the dreaded Sweeties (foods that claim to up her power but really take it away!).  If I get all my goals done, I get the ‘100%!’ reward, and sometimes mini challenges pop up like ‘Get what you need from the grocery store without buying anything sweet’.

The surprising thing is that when you’re ‘playing’ an avatar instead of just living your life, it becomes easy and fun to achieve your goals.

So make up your own game, with power-ups, magic items, avatars and dragons.  And watch Jane’s talks here —

 http://www.ted.com/playlists/8/a_better_you.html