Irresponsibility Project: It begins

I’ve rambled on before about how I think I’m too responsible. So I’ve decided to do something about it and grow a little. Behold my Irresponsibility Project.

I’ve decided to start with money, as that’s something I’m super responsible about. I’m taking 1/12th of my 2011 gross income (we can call it a “month’s salary” if that makes things easier) and requiring that I spend it irresponsibly. Part of this money might come from the resolution of this (we’ll find out tomorrow morning) or it might not. Either way I’ll be pulling money from my savings accounts and maybe, gasp, acquiring some credit card debt to pull it off. I’ve already brainstormed some ways that this might be spent. My rough deadline for this is by the end of the year, but who knows, maybe I’ll be irresponsible enough to ignore my self-imposed deadline!

Money is only an enabler of this exercise and not the end-all. The point is to stretch outside my comfort zone as a person, to do things that wouldn’t normally do. Last night over dinner Will had some great insights into this whole exercise. He pointed out that while the bulk of the funds probably wouldn’t be spent acquiring something physical, I need to come away with some item representing this exercise to keep: a totem. He also suggested that I need at least one very memorable event as well: an experience.

Other friends have made suggestions too. Jonobie, Chris, and Nick have already chimed in with great ideas (not all of which involved taking them overseas in business class). Jonobie pointed me to this article which maps closely with what I’d already decided: buy experiences not things; many small things rather than one big thing; spend on others not myself.

In truth, spending money in this manner is going to be really challenging. Not because I don’t think I can do it, I’m arrogant enough to think I can do just about anything I put my mind to, but rather hard to ascertain what things are actually beyond what I normally would do. For instance, I would have no problem picking up the tab for a group of friends at a nice restaurant. My monthly budget (warning: responsibleness!) can fairly readily absorb such splurges. At what point does that count as irresponsible for me? Oh well, nothing like a good challenge!

Also throughout last night’s conversation I decided I needed to figure out which boundaries I am willing to flex and which ones I’m not. I don’t have a good answer for those yet. I think it’s worthwhile for me to do some more introspective work to better understand why I feel this is important and hence what I consider a success criteria. However, I’m not going to wait until I have these things all figured out before getting started (which would be my usual inclination) — instead I’m diving right in!

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I'm a gay geek living in Seattle, WA.

4 thoughts on “Irresponsibility Project: It begins”

  1. Irresponsibility project suggestion

    How’s this for an idea . . . form an agreement with someone you trust and let them come up with an irresponsible action for you, with no insight or forewarning.
    Let’s say this person tells you that on day X they will contact you with the mission you are supposed to accomplish within a given period of time (e.g. 48 hrs). You are to complete this mission and collect some form of proof of mission accomplished, and this will serve as your totem. It’s sort of ‘Mission Impossible’, only it’s intended to be successfully completed, with you alive at the end.
    For example, pretend you chose me as that trusted mission source. I call you tomorrow and say that you must tandem skydive before 6pm Sunday, and have video to prove it. That addresses the money part, the irresponsibility part, the adventure part, and the memory/totem part. You come out the other side with a great, memorable experience, accomplished locally in just a single weekend. And you can now check that one off your bucket list!
    Best of luck with your adventure, and enjoy the friendly skies!!


    1. Re: Irresponsibility project suggestion

      That’s a great idea Dan, and have considered something like that. Beyond covering all the aspects you mention, it also stretches my control issues — something most of my friends agree I have too tight a reign on!


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