Last January, we created a project called 48 Great Dates, whereby we were going to alternate the planning (and execution) of a weekly date for 48 of the 52 weeks in 2019. From the get-go, our endeavor to do something “fun” was anything but. We found that either the planning part was a hassle or the “do something fun” part led us to do things that were somewhat fun but actually took us away from doing something we really wanted to do. Example: Going to play indoor mini-golf on a beautiful January day when we really just wanted to be outside.
After a few weeks of headaches with the dating game, we decided to change the rules. We opted instead to just try to do something together, without interruption, at least once a week. We could plan it in advance, or not. It could even be something we were going to do anyway – like go to a festival or pick peaches at the U-pick farm. This seemed to work out better (in the beginning) but even with the modified rules, we lost interest.
Now let me clarify. We lost interest in the dating game, not in doing things together or in each other. What we actually learned was that we didn’t really need to “date”. We weren’t disconnected or failing to find time for one another. We spend at least 150 of our 168 hours each week together. Even when one of us is writing (me) and the other is working out (Angie), we are in the same space together. I can see her jumping up and down in front of the TV and she can see me giving her annoyed looks from across the room as I try to concentrate.
All jokes aside, we love each other tremendously. We tease each other relentlessly – it’s just one of our things. And we do so many things together – from washing dishes to putting a jigsaw puzzle together – that dating seemed so contrived.
We managed to put together a montage of 38 outings or activities that you can loosely call dates in 2019 but quickly decided that this was a project we would not repeat or recommend (unless you are actually in the dating phase of your relationship or are indeed trying to rekindle a spark that has gotten buried in the busyness of life). You’re welcome to read about each date (the good, the bad, and the indifferent) on our 48 Great Dates page and see if there are any ideas you might like to use. We did do some fun things, a lot of which would be great to do as a family or “just because”. Many of them, we’ll probably do again ourselves (we just won’t be calling them dates).
For the other nerds out there who love numbers and statistics (like me), here’s the details of our project:
- We spent a total of $492.55 on 38 dates.
- 13 dates cost $0.
- On average, we spent $13 per date ($19.70 per date if you factor out the free ones).
- Our most expensive date was #24: Camping in Crossville ($65).
- 19 dates took place outdoors and included U-pick farms, nature walks, and letterboxing.
- 9 dates took us to places we might not have visited otherwise, including a book signing at Whole Foods, the Tennessee State Museum, and Abraham Lincoln’s Birthplace Museum.
- While it seemed (to us) that many of our dates revolved around food, only 6 dates were all about dining out.
- 5 dates took place at home and included movie night, making tamales, and a spa day.
- My favorite date: #13: All Ablaze for Good Food
- Angie’s favorite date: #27: Pickin’ Again – Peaches!
Though we might not repeat this dating project, we didn’t come away empty handed. We learned a few things along the way. First, we learned that creating a 365-project simply for the sake of having a 365-project doesn’t work for us. We have many, many goals and ideas for the direction of our life as a minimalist couple. Taking on a project that’s’ not necessarily aligned with those goals is somewhat counterproductive. Midway through our dating project, we found that we were just doing things because we said that we would, so we stopped. We still did the things we would normally do for fun but we rerouted the time and energy wasted in planning dates to other parts of our life. Second, we realized that we have fun together doing nothing. Angie and I could both be curled up the couch reading a book and we’re just as happy as we are when we’re out on the town.
And last but not least, we learned that what makes our relationship successful isn’t the amount of time we spend with one another or even how that time is spent together. It’s wanting the same things in life and having common goals.
As you know, we have decided not to do a 365-project in 2020. Instead, we’re focusing on a couple of goals – some fun, some serious, but all important. Be sure to check those out at in the post New Decade = A New Take on Old Ideas and leave a comment below with your thoughts on 2019. Was it a successful year for you? Did you complete a 365-project? We’d love to hear your story!