What I Learned From a Year of 12 Experiments

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I see that my last post on here was oooh about 2 years ago. I never wrapped this project up the way I should have, reflecting on all the previous 12 Experiments. In true Sarah fashion, I dove head first into the next phase of my life and mostly forgot about this little project....except I didn't.  

Every few days, I think about the 12 experiments. How fun it was. How nice it was to tailor my curiosities for small chunks of time just to see what would happen. How nice it was to have a deeply personal project that had nothing to do with my career or money. Nothing to do with anything other than for fun of it. Now, almost three years since the start of these experiments (ah!), I'm ready to go over these experiments and the level of impact it has left on my life today. I'm surprised by some of the lasting effects. 

1. A Month of saying “Yes” to Everything

These days, I  feel like saying "NO" to most things in order to say “Yes” to what I really want. I've gotten better at saying no. I remember the month of saying yes was a bit of a snooze fest other than impulsively flying to LA and randomly ending up at a very strange OM Meetup.  Besides that, I mostly ended up just meeting people for drinks all the time. My main realization since then is that I want to learn to say yes to the right things and no to mostly everything else. 

2. A Month of Digital Detox

I lovveeed this month and I wouldn't mind a reboot. Since that experiment I have regularly taken trips where I disconnect from technology. I have erased most notifications off my phone and just yesterday, I deleted about six apps I no longer need. For a while, I blocked FB off my normal browser so if I wanted to go there, I had to open safari and take the extra annoying effort to get there. It worked like a charm. I was actually pretty interesting/scary by how often my fingers hit the new tab and started typing "fac.... " over and over again. Like multiple times a day! 

3. A Month of Sparking Joy: Decluttering with Marie Kondo

It's funny to fast forward and see which experiments have changed me the most. I feel like Marie Kondo might have rewired my brain. My home is pretty curated still and I'm very sensitive to things that do not spark joy. I love her philosophy so much and I use it in my home life as much as much as reflecting on what sparks joy in my life in general.  I've learned to declutter jobs that do not spark joy, or relationships that do not spark joy. She's kind of a genius. 

4. A Month of Radical Acceptance. (Really it was just Meditation )

I'm not sure why I gave it such a grand title but it ended up being a month of meditation. That experiment was difficult for me to articulate since it was mostly inward contemplation but I've gotten much better at the idea of "accepting reality as it is."  Meditation slips in and out of my life but I can say for sure that life is better when it's there. I've gone to two more silent meditation retreats since and I try to meditate daily for about 20 minutes. Sometimes I'm consistent and sometimes I go weeks without. It's like eating vegetables, I know its good but its also boring right? I'll say that I'm extremely grateful for finding it and having the practice in my life, no matter the level. 

 5. A Month of Dance: Dance everyday! 

Ahhhh my most favorite experiment! I loved it so so so much. I miss dancing. I still know how to two-step although I don't go out dancing much anymore. But it's like riding a bike, once you learn you can't unlearn it. So far.. It feels good that I have that skill up my sleeve though. I'm currently on to more musical pursuits. I'm playing the violin! 

 6. A Month of Money: Stick to Budget and Get More Work 

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My money game is outta control! It’s so in control it’s outta control! Learning how to budget during my month of money for realz changed the game. Since that experiment I've completely paid off all my debts, saved up a hefty emergency fund, cut my spendings, and started investing like a true baller. WHAT! It seems so dry and boring to talk about money but I feel like seeing money in my bank account allows me so much freedom. Freedom to sign up for the right course, to take trips, to say no to projects that drain me. It's one of the most positive aspects of my life and that motivates me to keep going. I still feel like the Queen of Chicon street but this time instead of balling out all the time, I see the $$$ growing in the bank and that makes me feel balllllllerr as fuq. 

7. A Month of Photography: Take Personal Pictures Everyday 

You know what, I still struggle with this one. I have concepts in my head all the time but I can't ever seem to execute it. I don't know if its because I've associated my camera with work but it makes me sad that I don't take creative pictures and I want to change that. 

8. A Month of Cooking: Cook Something New Everyday 

I still cook but mostly boring stuff out of necessity, I would love a cooking reboot. Maybe more of a healthy or vegan cooking month. Just to prove to myself that I can be creative with food while still being healthy? 

9. A Month of Mornings: Wake Up Really Early and Hate Myself

This was a complete fail, it lasted about two days. Let's face it, I'm not a morning person. 5:30am was disgustingly early. I wanted to throw up in my mouth every morning. It felt like having to catch a 6am flight everyday. Never ever again. At least I know that now!  My new goal is to have a life where I just don't use an alarm clock at all.

10. A Month of Photography Again: Second Attempt at Shooting Everyday

Ditto above.

11. A Month of Zero Waste: Create as Little Trash as Possible

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This one has also had lasting effects on my life. I still use unpackaged bar soap, I buy Kevin's dog food from the bulk section. I buy way more things without packaging. I compost all my food and recycle more. I actually really really loved this experiment and want to figure out more ways to consume less waste. I shop completely differently thanks to my month of zero waste and sparking joy. I used to walk into target and leave having spent $100 on bed slippers, candles, and god knows what else. Now I barely walk into stores at all and think twice about my purchases.  

12. A Month of Rejection: Putting Myself Out There to Overcome the Fear of Rejection 

I'm not sure what was going on in my life but this one seemed to trail off and disappear without much attempt. Some experiments I think I did because I felt like it was a good thing to do, while others I really really wanted to do. This one felt a bit forced and I couldn't wrap my mind around it. Also maybe by month 12, I was ready for a break….a two year break!

Can you tell the experiments have been on my mind? Maybe it's time for 2019 reboot? Maybe I feel bad for not wrapping up my experiments in a pretty little bow when it was all over. So yeah, my theory proved that experiments are good. They are great! You can try things out and if you really love it, you can extend it. It's a psychological work around to get yourself going without overcoming the massive hurdles the ego throws at you to prevent you from trying anything. I'm forever grateful for this experience and I'm forever grateful to myself for following through. And thank you for anyone who followed along, encouraging me through the process. It would have been 90% less fun without you there.  Am I giving an Oscar speech?