Enough of the frivolous yearly challenges.
Enough of the daily shenanigan’s with no real benefit to society.
Enough of the gimmicky personal undertakings.
After 14 long years it is time to step up my daily challenge to benefit the very thing I have neglected for so long – my brain. This year my 2022 challenge will attempt to awaken my dormant intellect, and give me a greater appreciation of the fantastic country of New Zealand.
For those unaccustomed to my yearly ritual, I celebrate my birthday on the 31st of December. Aside from reflecting on my life, the past 14 birthdays has always involved the setting of a new yearly challenge. During 2021, while most of the world was dealing with lockdowns, antivaxxers, the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan, climate change, and New Zealand’s Test World Championship victory, I had a different issue to deal with. On the 1st of January I set out on an ambitious musical goal which I completed yesterday – the 31st of December 2021. During that time I became the first person in the world to listen to Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone every day for an entire year.
For those unfamiliar with my yearly challenge, here is a little history. My first challenge started in 2008 with the goal of writing a blog for a year. This saw the creation of the the critically acclaimed Ozymandias Warning blog, my entry into The Herald Romance Writing Competition, and my first book entitled ‘I am Alarmed’.
Following that, who could forget 2009 where I used the same Gillette razor for a year – shaving once per day.
In 2010, I completed one of my proudest personal achievements, wearing the same pair of underwear for an entire calendar year.
The year 2011 marked my first of two failures. A hospital visit in April for suspected appendicitis, curtailed my attempt to see if it was possible to eat 3000 Weet-Bix in a calendar year. Then in 2012 I failed to complete an elaborate push up challenge when I cracked a ribs in a bike crash in November.
To get things back on track I went with the relatively safe option in 2013 of using no pillow and in 2014 I went an entire calendar year only drinking water.
The year 2015 saw me revolt against one of the key comforts of our 21st century lifestyle and live like Wim Hof by only having cold showers.
On a roll with my yearly challenge, 2016 proved to be the easiest with a year away from social media. However, this was followed in 2017 by my hardest challenge yet – run for a minimum of 30 minutes every day. Green vegetables were on the menu in 2018 when ate one brussels sprout a day.
The year 2019 once again had a food theme as I used the same knife, fork and spoon for a year. In 2020, I completed what I can only describe as my most beneficial challenge. In the year of Covid, I got up at 5:11am every morning.
So what does 2022 have to offer. Well, as you can see, my yearly challenges have avoided an obvious area of personal development. I have withstood food challenges, fitness challenges, clothing challenges, bathroom challenges, and even a music challenge. But the one area I have yet to expand is my mind. So in 2022 I am going to become an expert on Aotearoa and read the entire Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
Written in the year of 1966 the first encyclopaedia of New Zealand was published in three thick volumes. An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand was a critical and publishing success at the time, and has been used as a basic reference work about the country since then. Edited by Dr. Alexander Hare McLintock, the parliamentary historian, the encyclopaedia includes over 1,800 articles, 900 biographies, and is written by 359 contributing authors. A total of 37,000 copies were printed. Many of these have been lost in the sands of time but I have managed to secure one of the remaining few hard copies.
The three volumes combine for 2,537 pages of mind numbing facts. This will mean I will have to read 7 pages per day to ensure I start on the 1st Jan with Abraham and then finish on the 31st December 2022 with Zedlitz.
See you in 2023.