The 52 New Things project is not a complicated nor profoundly deep idea. It wasn’t designed to change the world or start a movement. It didn’t happen by design and certainly not for profit. It was born out of a personal sense that there was perhaps more to life than the daily grind of commuting, work, television, repeat.
It came about after a monotonous year with little of note to report, and with little planned for the following year I found myself staring down the barrel of a very empty diary. I debated going travelling, taking up a new hobby, trying a new sport, perhaps moving to a new area of London. But everything I contemplated seemed rather unimaginative and facile. Plus I’m inherently lazy and sport seemed like very hard work.
It came to me suddenly on New Year’s Eve of all times, right after the fifth beer and just before the wheels came off. Why not try something new every week, no matter how small or trivial? I could travel places, grow things, try stuff and meet people in that timeframe, without being overwhelmed by the enormity of one-year-long project or thing. In the space of 30 mins I had drawn up a list of ten things to start me off on the back of a napkin (yes, really) and by the next day I had the name and beginnings of a website sorted.
That was the genesis of this project and I have been consistently overwhelmed by the response around the world. I’ve had emails from people doing similar things from all corners of the planet and it is truly inspiring to see. Obviously I would prefer it if they didn’t find my site by typing “back, sack & crack” into Google but sometimes you take what you are given.
I’m proud that 52 New Things continues to inspire people to turn off the TV and take small, easy steps to change their life for the better. I’ve even prouder to have released a book about my experience (Buy it here!) which I hope continues to spread the word. Get in touch with your own experiences, ideas or comments. Or just say hi.
Nick J. Thorpe