The list in full

1 Sep

Anyone who’s quit booze et al will have encountered that “a lifetime suddenly feels really long” feeling. Cruelly, it kicks in just after the belief that you’ve reinvented the wheel wears off.

Back in 2010, eighteen months after quitting booze, I decided I urgently needed to come up with plan to ward off depression. I set myself the mission of trying something new every day for a year. I nicked the title from an Eels song: Hey Man, Now You’re Really Living.

To quote another Eels song, I’m tired of the old shit, let the new shit begin. In this case, the new shit meant anything from jumping out of a plane, to riding a camel, to working on train tracks in the rain. Developing new habits – or learning new things – is an excellent way to reroute neural pathways in the brain and get your mind off alcohol and drugs.

I distracted myself every day for 365 days. After a bit of a break I even did half of a second year, but I’ve taken those posts down as they didn’t have the same sense of wide-eyed wonder about them. I guess creating new routines had by then itself become an old routine. Here’s the full list of tasks…


Giving meditation a whirl

Ending every email with a compliment

Giving and receiving a home tattoo

Letting strange girls dress me

Enjoying an NRL game

Taking a walk down Port Phillip Bay Pier

Having a Eureka moment

Getting tea leaves read

Suffering acupuncture

Mopping my floors

Eating seafood

Going to Camberwell Market

Becoming an organ donor

Baking muffins

Wearing Ben Wa balls to a Metallica show

Asking strangers to pray for me

Trying Pilates

Riding a steam engine

Lobbing a message in a bottle

Getting the internet to read my runes

Riding the roller coaster at Luna Park

Learning not to intimidate men sexually

Harassing a salty seadog

Making pictures in coffee

Having a go on a horse

Handling a snake

Making a last will and testament

Suffering Zumba!

Following hot guys around the airport

Having a knee trembler on a Yamaha FZ1N


Getting a publicist to make all my decisions

Going to the Deni Ute Muster with PMT

Hugging a tree (and wailing)

Watching Foxtel at Fed Square with a free toastie

Gathering people’s philosophies

Asking the Oracle

Learning about bees

Swimming in the Indian Ocean in my undies

Swimming in the Indian Ocean with dolphins

Examining Perth’s penal system

Shaking at a detox

Making a gnome run

Getting critiqued on a poetry website

Buying and using tools

Analysing my co-worker’s handwriting

Learning to ACT Mindfully

Staring out to sea

Getting sautéed in a Japanese bath house

Ogling workmen

Starting a rabbit fancier’s group

Introducing conker fighting to Strayans

Learning to drive without bursting into flames

Building a fire pit

Being a good neighbour

Taking other ladies’ clothes

Getting a rebetika education

Learning The Secret

Mugging for a magazine cover

Making curtains

Cooking seafood


Learning the ukulele

Learning about immigration

Surrendering to mindless gossip

Performing a cleansing ritual

Getting a helicopter view of the world

Piloting a plane

Building and lighting a fire, totally unsupervised

Walking around a cemetery before work

Taking the Melbourne Town Hall tour

Learning about the local Sudanese community

Learning tolerance at the Crown Casino

Seeking anger management

Looking after a real life child

Volunteering with the local steam train fanciers

Creating a ‘quit smoking or die, fool’ plan

Checking out station pier

Going to the rock chicks exhibition

Turning my head into a Girl’s World

Hanging on, on a Harley

Losing in the National Klop Championships

Shooting Glocks, Magnums, Rugers, shotguns and stuff

Thrashing around at Vaughan Springs

Passing my hazard test, despite Richard Marx’s best efforts

Writing thank you notelets like Mum used to make us do

Choosing my motorbike that I can’t afford for a few years, nor ride yet

Running my driving instructor’s car off the road

Working on a chain gang

Giving my libido a right flogging

Going to the cops museum

Giving my house a grown woman’s touch


Being at the business end of a baby

Living at the mercy of fortune cookies

Taking the Fed Square tour

Getting electrocuted by reiki

Paddle-boarding through jellyfish

Tripping over the Garfield water wheel

Learning an amazing fact at the Bendigo Visitor Information Centre

Getting Bette Davis eyes

Testing out a cow-hugging ruse

Getting breathalysed

Asking, what would Oprah do?

Flying through the air like a flying pretzel

Perusing the Art Gallery of NSW

Failing my driving test over the most minor of details

Stomaching dinner theatre

Discovering, and claiming, my own beach

Entering a mosh pit stone cold sober

White knuckling in the St Kilda Spinner Jet Boat

Sketching burlesque ladies

Having horrible things done to my head

Rehearsing for my NYE super-task

Updating my vocabulary

Becoming more observant

Threewheel burning

Making a Sudanese feast

Becoming overlord of the fire

Squalling in the surf

Confessing online

Having breakfast with the ducks

Going fishing

Leading the zombie parade to death and/or glory


Sending the smokes up in smoke

Writing to people in the news

Getting spooked at a haunted pub

Gambling alone

Going to see a psychic

Peering at crime scenes

Nosing around the Castlemaine Museum

Indulging in a spot of Sunday afternoon circle work

Joining the Country Women’s Association

Putting my life in the hands of weak-wristed amateurs

Laughing solo

Becoming a psycho Chiko chick

Mining the past

Soft porn and hard landings

Training for a Chinese lion dance

Learning how to find north

Fearing heights real bad

Baring my soul on a dunny wall

Consulting the I Ching

Deciding whether the country-side is a) sinister, or b) non-sinister

Gouging eyes and kicking groins

Being grip and boom girl on set

Picking up domestic skills at Kyneton Museum

Eating curious things

Having breakfast at Vic Markets

Fine-tuning my handshake

Being silly at a tattoo convention

Going horse trekking with a naughty horse

Stalking bats and other stuff

Getting my motherfuggin’ ute


Playing bingo with Andrew WK

Learning to crack a whip

Going to psychic and parma night in Frankston

Putting my stamp on everything

Nailing down my psyche

Dancing go-go

Leaving cryptic messages

Pulling off a complex trapeze move

Getting spooked sideways at the Castlemaine Theatre Royal

Rolling a fag

Healing my embittered soul with song

Staying at the Hotel Windsor for no good reason

Talkin’ bout you and me and the games people play

Kung fu fighting

Streaking in the rainforest

Getting sucked by a leech

Firing a rifle blindly at stuff

Getting my chops with a chainsaw

Bulldozing shit

Milking filthy cows

Driving a 4WD

Hitting the wall with a quadbike

Having my life ruined by jaywalkers

Illustrating a children’s book

Dancing under the stars

Making an outdoor cinema on top of a mountain

Bidding at a country auction


Getting a good snig

Getting Catherine Deveney to teach me how to tell a good yarn

Pulling off a trapeze somersault dismount

Bogging someone’s ute

Playing croquet

Playing at mechanic

Washing a dirty dog

Perfecting how to wave on country roads

Sending a photo of my undies somewhere random

Learning poetry for those after dinner soirees

Piggybacking an adventurer

Diving in a kelp forest

Breaking into Hanging Rock

Learning how to reduce a traffic fine

Soliciting a letter from a stranger


Stalking stinky seals

Crewing in a yacht race

Conquering the quad bike in reverse

Drawing naked commuters

Forcing berets down people’s throats

Learning how to talk to boys

Skipping stones

Driving with my knees

Rock, paper, scissoring a route around Tasmania

Dancing like Jackie Wilson

Being a watergirl at a country footy match

Inventing a phrase and getting it in the public vernacular

Tying knots


Separating art from pretension

Playing two-up school

Being taught pool techniques

Going go-karting with a r’n’r band

Trying automatic writing and freaking out

Submitting a picture to Boars and Whores

Naming someone’s puppy

Baking bread

Cracking a wishbone

Flagellating myself

Getting a makeover in a department store by someone half my age

Getting a gong bath

Trying tai chi

Braving bongos

Roasting things

Bathing in minerals

Laughing boisterously at comedy

Making a graffiti tag

Appearing in someone’s memoir

Learning Indian head massage

Having a go in a glider

Driving in the gutter

Learning how to trespass responsibly

Conducting the birds

Pulling a pot in a country pub

Holding my first wild snake

Getting busted by the pumpkin cops

Having a good old streak in the desert

Bothering bees

Jumping the border


Eating an eel

Putting gas in my ute and watching it leak back out again

Learning to drum unmolested

Going to glee club

Writing a murder ballad about Hamilton and being nice to Nhill

Trying African food

Buying some art from a homeless bloke

Getting my portrait drawn

Being more welcoming

Having my first feijoa

Learning about the Australian bush

Stalking people

Drinking in a pub in a paddock

Driving naked

Making a wish at St Columba Falls

Restoring a swamp forest floor

Laying bush tracks

Hooning around an Arabian stud farm

Wearing fish socks

Shooting arrows

Getting cupped within an inch of my life

Sliding five storeys through a shopping centre

Getting my ears candled

Being a barber

Getting my dream analysed by It’s Fate magazine

Having my fortune told by the Mouth of Truth

Penning a cautionary tale

Recreating an old family snap

Racing crabs

Getting life tips from an Idler

Doing a prayer in a Catholic church


Bounding up buildings

Tapping for worms

Beating my brother at something

Unearthing my first love letter

Retaking my Brownie Guide vows

NOT exploding with rage at my disconnected upload

Geocaching at the seaside

Getting allergy tested

Getting my face read

Making a snowdog

Smashing a telly

Cutting hair in a rainforest

Diagnosing psychopaths

Making a vision board

Holding a garage sale

Thanking a Gloria Jean’s franchise profusely

Going to a rally

Cuddling pigs

Writing to the prime minister

Letting a newspaper dictate my destiny

Tapping myself with Emotional Freedom Techniques

Being taught the Fibonacci Sequence

Inviting readers to design my bumper sticker

Joining the Real Hot Bitches ’80s dance troupe

Writing to a stranger in a magazine

Going to work in the nuddy

Going to work on my self-righteousness

Learning etiquette from a piss peddler


Going gospel

Gawking at Viennese art & design

Going down the Royal Derby

Prompting curious outbursts in other people

Going to see the alpacas

Roadtesting an anti-energy drink

Putting my sleep spindles to work

Throwing myself a pity party

Replying to sex spam

Being in a Hello magazine-style shoot

Shellacking my nails

Visiting the Pancake Parlour

Employing a personal shopper

Booking a flight at random

Writing inspirational stuff on public toilet walls

Stalking my lost youth down Luna Park

Streaking in Streaky Bay

Driving in SA and WA

Making a Wolf Creek contingency plan

Seeing a UFO

Becoming a human lie detector

Riding a camel

Getting marooned on a deserted island

Going somewhere that sounds interesting (but isn’t) just for the hell of it

Going to Hooters

Visiting 52 Suburbs

Recreating Puberty Blues

Going to the Justice & Police Museum

Rooting ’round Razorhurst

Going to the Aroma Festival


Reassessing the ibis

Documenting my day in haiku

Going to mass

Hanging out with marines

Pootling down the Brisbane River

Going to a suitcase rummage

Going to GreazeFest

Getting stroked to death in my lunch break

Wearing high heels to work

Eating sea urchin

Eating jellyfish

Going to a peep show

Going to the ban live export rally

Sulking at drag queen karaoke

Riding on a ride-on lawnmower

Touring Sydney fish market

Having Tantric sex

Sharpening knives so that I might prepare for a dystopian future

Totally banning ‘x’, ‘o’ and ‘;)’

Entering competitions

Getting psyched at a university opening day

Being blooded into Dungeons & Dragons

Giving my roadworthy vehicle its first bath

Learning three important life lessons from Bear Grylls

Making beer at Mountain Goat

Riding a Jet Ski

Having my aura read

Kayaking all over the place

Falling out of a plane

Blowing shit up

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