If you have always lived life by the book, you might be starting to feel more than a little bored by your day-in and day-out. Especially after the kids leave home and retirement begins to loom, you might wonder: What is life without a little risk?
No matter what phase of life you are in, you can find excitement and fulfillment with small risks that run counter to the conventional lifestyle. Here are some of the best activities to add to your to-do list for the coming year:
Listen to Loud Music
This is an easy one to get off your list early. Loud music is disruptive, but it is also incredibly cathartic. Studies have found that music played at loud volumes overwhelms the brain, interrupting thought patterns, driving out stress and causing the release of endorphins that make you feel good. If you don’t want to impose upon your neighbors with loud tunes, you can crank up your car stereo, attend a concert or bring a music player into a secluded area, like the woods — but you should avoid turning up the volume on headphones or earbuds, which can have lasting repercussions on your auditory health.
March in a Protest
Protests are such an important aspect of democracy that the right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed in the First Amendment. Protesting allows you to work with other members of your community to communicate your interests to those in power. In most large cities, you can find a handful of protesters outside city hall or in other important government locations every day, chanting for one issue or another. Some protests occur on an annual basis, but most emerge as the community detects a need. You can join groups associated with causes you care about to find out about protests in your area that need your participation. Alternatively, you can organize your own protest if there is an issue you believe isn’t getting enough attention.
It turns out that nearly a century of marijuana propaganda was wrong: Weed isn’t evil. In fact, cannabis use is at least as safe as alcohol consumption, if not safer; research on weed use has found many more benefits than detriments. For example, cannabis is proving to be an invaluable treatment for some of the most severe and devastating diseases, like cancer, AIDS, epilepsy and more. Even recreational users can feel intensely relaxed during and after a 420 session. If you visit a state that has legalized recreational cannabis use, you don’t need to worry about legal ramifications, either. Here’s a link to help those in Massachusetts find nearby dispensaries: https://weedmaps.com/dispensaries/in/united-states/massachusetts
Contrary to media depictions of the cannabis high, weed doesn’t make you hallucinate. To do that, you need to consume a hallucinogen, like psilocybin or LSD. Like weed, many hallucinogens are remarkably safe and even beneficial; according to research, use of hallucinogens is correlated with lower anxiety levels and greater emotional stability. However, the major benefit of hallucinogens is the altered sensations they provide, which can shift your worldview and provide creative inspiration. Many experts believe that simple hallucinogens, like magic mushrooms, will see widespread legalization at least for medical use within the next decade, so you should be able to strike this off your list before you go.
Get a Tattoo
In Western culture, having tattoos has long been a sign of rebellion, but the taboo associated with tattoos is finally starting to fade. Almost half of the millennial generation has at least one tattoo, and most workplaces no longer discriminate against job applicants with visible ink. There are plenty of good reasons to get a tattoo, from cultural significance to personal expression to appreciating art and beauty. You can find exceedingly talented tattoo artists online and work with them to develop a custom design you would be proud to wear forever.
Spend Time off the Grid
More likely than not, you have spent almost your entire life in or near a city with reliable access to electricity, running water and plenty of other people. Before you get too old, you should try to get away from all that and spend time alone, or with only your closest loved ones, for an extended period off the grid. Living off the grid is more difficult than many people expect; lacking constant communication and entertainment requires you to get to know yourself and those around you at a deeper level. Plenty of people enjoy their time off the grid so much that they commit to the lifestyle, or some degree of it, for the rest of their time on Earth.
It can feel good to break some expectations every now and again — especially if the risks of doing so are relatively low. Small things like playing loud music or getting stoned as well as more significant activities like organizing a protest or leaving civilized society behind can help you feel exhilarated and invested in the time you have left, making life so much more fun.