February 6, 2009

The List: 100 Ways to Shake Up Your Life

Gail Belsky and I are kindred spirits. In her new book, The List: 100 Ways to Shake Up Your Life, Gail encourages women to look outside their comfort zones and try new things (sound familiar?). Each adventurous idea in her book includes tips, links and, often, interviews with real women who have done that list item. The 100 ideas are an eclectic collection ranging from organizing a rally to cliff diving to getting hypnotized to, well, a bunch of things for the over-21 crowd. Since my kids read this blog, I'll leave those to your imagination.

I wondered just how Gail came to write her book and how many of The List items she had tackled so I asked her...

AWB: Hi Gail, thanks for taking part in an Adventurous Women Blog Q & A! I loved your book, and as one who is always trying to find new ways to write about expanding horizons, I'd like to know where you got your inspiration.

I think I was looking to be inspired myself. I'd reached the age where my kids didn't need me as much, and I could think about myself, and what might be out there for me. I started making a list of all the different things you could [do] that would be different and exciting. Big things and small things. It doesn't take a lot to shake things up.

AWB: How did you find the women that you interviewed for each activity?

I sent out an email to the women in my writer's group, and another one to friends, listing all 99 activities. And they sent it on to their friends. I started getting responses immediately. One of the first ones, surprisingly, was "Join a Cattle Drive." One of my writer friends in New Jersey had worked with a woman 20 years ago in Detroit, who bought a horse and moved to Idaho. That's how it went. Then my publisher, Seal Press, sent out a mass email, and women started coming out of the woodwork.

AWB: So, Gail, how many of the items in "The List" have you tackled?

I've done a bunch, but not all of them in my 40's, which is cheating a bit. At some point or another, I've:
Gone Topless
Learned a Foreign Language
Gotten a Makeover
Drastically Changed My Hairstyle
Spent the Day in Bed
Planned a Girls Vacation
Skinny Dipped
Conquered a Fear

AWB: What's YOUR next big adventure?

I'm not sure yet. I'd love to try writing a novel, but I think I'll have to wait until National Novel Writing Month in November. I need the extra motivation of doing it with 5 million people.

This interview rounds out a week of Adventure Club basics. My club will meet this evening to plan a year's worth of activities and I hope after reading Adventure Club Part I, Part II, and Adventure Resources that you are ready to start a club of your own. If you'd rather fly solo then I hope that between this site and Gail's book you've found the inspiration to be bold, try something new and shake up your life. Have an adventurous weekend!

No comments: