Editor’s note: To challenge

Making a case for making a plan for adventure

No. 23: Went to Burney Falls. Sharon DeMeyer and husband Robert Karch.

The spark for this month’s “Summer checklist” cover feature was a series of social media posts by Chicoan Sharon DeMeyer: “Inspired by a young woman who tried 365 new things last year to help manage her depression, I decided to take on the same challenge this year.” Post #1 in her “365 in 2023” challenge was, appropriately enough, to take part in the New Year’s polar bear plunge at Sycamore Pool in Bidwell Park.

Since then, her firsts have included singing karaoke in public, using a weed eater, preparing and serving a meal at Safe Space shelter, going to the Chocolate Fest in Paradise and participating in a handful of local fun runs.

The beauty of a challenge—whether a daily project like DeMeyer’s or a checklist of items like the Chico summer activities in this issue—is that it can make you act on something you want to do but might otherwise just put off or forget about.

Each year after the holidays, I sit down and make a list of goals for the upcoming year. It’s not resolution-making (though I do that, too); it’s checklist-making, getting all the various unfinished projects—creative brainstorms, house repairs, etc.— written down in one place, and reminding myself about the things I’ve been wanting to do, like visit Sicilian Cafe at its new downtown location (or visit the Tres Marias restaurant that just opened in Sicilian Cafe’s former location). Without the list, much of the stuff that gives me satisfaction and colors my life would be left out.

When I contacted DeMeyer and told her about our plans for this feature, she said that she’d actually participated in previous CN&R summer challenges, which included instructions to keep photo documentation of each activity, which she compiled and saved for her family as well. “Now I have these really great memories of that time,” she said.

About her current project, DeMeyer said that she’s using 365 in 2023 as a way to commit to caring for herself. The public nature of her challenge, with posts made to social media, has brought another unexpected dynamic. “It’s been really interesting, so many people are invested in it. So many people care about it,” she said, adding that many of the new things she’s been trying were suggested by people following along. “It’s been really fun to reconnect with people.”

Jason Cassidy is editor of the Chico News & Review

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