Help me find a big, scary, exciting and rewarding project or challenge to take on!
December 27, 2011 6:01 AM   Subscribe

Two years ago I started doing stand-up comedy, which took me very far from my comfort zone and was hard work but was hugely rewarding. One year ago I took a one-way flight to Thailand to start a solo backpacking trip, something I'd always wanted to do but which terrified me - this was also hard work but fantastic and life-affirming. These were both huge things for me. I want to begin something similarly big/difficult/scary/rewarding/exciting/life-affirming this year that will live up to those first 2 years, but what?

I'm in my late 20s, male, in a long-term relationship. I live in Glasgow, Scotland. I'm not in great shape. I'm a currently unemployed computer programmer, so lots of free time. Any and all suggestions welcome, however wild. Thank you!
posted by Kirn to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (18 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Nothing specific, but the last two "big risk" activities you did were solo adventures, so maybe you should try something equally terrifying that absolutely requires a lot of social contact? Working on a charity project with a group of others you don't know (like Habitat for Humanity here in the States) or the like?
posted by xingcat at 6:03 AM on December 27, 2011

Write and stage a play.
posted by glaucon at 6:46 AM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Have a baby.
posted by milk white peacock at 7:19 AM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Mentor a fatherless child. Anything like Big Brothers/Big Sisters in Scotland?
posted by jabes at 7:31 AM on December 27, 2011

I want to begin something similarly big/difficult/scary/rewarding/exciting/life-affirming this year

Given that you're not in shape, but want to do something big/difficult/scary/etc., start running and sign up for a 5k race.
posted by deanc at 7:36 AM on December 27, 2011

The Edinburgh Marathon 2012 is accepting entries right now. On Saturday 26 May the 10km, 5km, International Breakfast Run, Mascot Race, 5k wheelchair and 5k hand-bike race will take place, and the next day, Sunday 27 May, the full marathon, half marathon and team relay take centre stage. Pick one!

On your marks, get set.... GO!
posted by HandfulOfDust at 7:58 AM on December 27, 2011

I came here to say train for and run a marathon. A 5K will not feel like a huge accomplishment - think bigger, aim higher. A 5K can be a stepping stone to a full marathon.

Do a big hike - Mt. Kilimanjaro or the Inca Trail or something grueling that has an end. And of course, train for it. It will still be hard, but will be doable. You have to go through the fire and feel the burn to feel the achievement.
posted by valeries at 8:21 AM on December 27, 2011

Start a successful business.
posted by irishcoffee at 8:39 AM on December 27, 2011

Thanks for all the answers so far guys. A lot of people saying running - I drop in and out of running for health, and while a marathon is definitely big and difficult, it's not really *scary* to me - I'm sure I could do it with sufficient effort. glaucon's suggestion "Write and stage a play" is more along the lines of what I'm thinking. Please keep them coming though, thank you for the responses so far!
posted by Kirn at 8:48 AM on December 27, 2011

Are you a good cook? If not, you may find it terrifying to cook Thanksgiving dinner this year for a lot of family and friends. I did it two years ago and it was incredibly stressful yet satisfying to pull it off! You have plenty of time to get up to speed for next year.
posted by Dragonness at 9:30 AM on December 27, 2011

posted by sammyo at 9:49 AM on December 27, 2011

We can't really guess what will be scary to you. What makes your heart flutter?

Go through yoga teacher training and become an instructor.

Become a dive master.

Get a motorcycle license and buy a bike. Go on a long bike trip.

Open up your relationship.

Do improv or sketch comedy.

Travel with absolutely no luggage, not even a little bag.

Volunteer at an orphanage or with people living in extreme poverty.

Take a vow of poverty or minimalism (<100 belongings or similar).
posted by valeries at 10:58 AM on December 27, 2011

Take up boxing. Enter tournaments.

Anything that involves competition comes with risk of failing dramatically and publicly and is kind of scary (at least for me) - there are tournaments for memory, chess, scrabble, poker, bridge, tennis, debate.

Roller derby.

Audition for a choir.
posted by valeries at 11:07 AM on December 27, 2011

Seconding "Get Scuba Certified".

1) It's scary at first (at least it will be in Scotland - cold dark water brr.).

2) You have to overcome any claustrophobia you might have in water like that (like we have here in CA) - so it is good for exercising mind control, and takes some mental toughness.

3) You will make new friends

4) You will discover a new world that you can experience all over the planet. Where you can fly.
posted by bluesky78987 at 1:13 PM on December 27, 2011

Do something mentally challenging. Go for some professional license, language proficiency certificate, or similar credential.
posted by holterbarbour at 4:32 PM on December 27, 2011

Invent a better mousetrap

Create a new sport

Manufacture a news-worthy hoax

Perform a sexual act that you find disgusting

Publish a political treatise

Start a blog under a pseudonym and share your darkest secrets

Go to the Amazon and take ayahuasca with a shaman

Pick something you're bad at and do it every day

Follow the observances of every major religion simultaneously

Get stung by every insect listed in the seminal Schmidt Sting Pain Index

Submit yourself to non-lethal Inquisition-era torture under medical supervision

Circumnavigate the world in a boat (track Magellan's course, or not)

Sail the Northwest Passage

Destroy your most precious possession

Sell your soul to the Devil

Go spelunking

Stay mute for a month

Wear earplugs for a month

Close your eyes for a month

Be lame for a month

Practice nudism for a month

Adopt primitivism for a month

Switch genders (not sex, mind you) for a month

Arrange a meeting with the Pope

Plant 1,000 trees

Read Tokugawa Ieyasu

Walk the coast of Scotland

Serve as a prison counselor

Become a Real-life Superhero

Sell your car and bike everywhere

Write a letter of apology to everyone you've ever wronged

Give your significant other total artistic control of a new tattoo

Program for a non-profit organization pro bono

Roll a globe on the ground (spinning on a fixed axis biases the latitude) and stop it with your finger. Go there.

Take a vacation from MetaFilter (I know--this one can be tough)
posted by troll at 3:51 AM on December 28, 2011 [3 favorites]

Teach programming to poor kids two nights a week and blog about it, then use the blog entries and other notes you take to write two books: your experiences and so on (the human part) and a simple text book for others doing the same thing. Eventually you could start teaching teachers in your local school system how to do what you do using your book and by having them sit in on your classes.

Meanwhile, join an ABC where you can take up old-fashioned punch-in-the-face boxing two or three other nights a week. Do the same thing -- write about your experiences daily (blog or otherwise), back it up with some local boxing history or interviews with local boxers and trainers (active and retired), and then put together a book along the lines of "a year of getting punched in the face". Make sure you get daily pictures of yourself so we the readers can also read your body and face.
posted by pracowity at 8:58 AM on December 28, 2011

Thanks everyone, loads of great answers.
posted by Kirn at 6:09 AM on December 31, 2011

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