The Inaugural Quest with Unsettled
By Shitika Anand
Confession: I’m a serial to-do list maker.
I’ve had a to-do list for before I turn 30. A to-do list for the long weekend rings in. A to-do list for my career. A to-do list for my love life (please don’t ask how this is coming along!).
To-do lists only purpose is to simplify task management and stay organised. For me they have always existed so I can stay on top of my intentions, manifestations and dreams. But more often than not, they have just remained as lists jotted down on a piece of paper and have seriously lacked accountability. I still haven’t started on those Spanish lessons, as I should have as per a list circa March 2016. When no one but a piece of paper knows about my alleged foreign language ambitions, why should I even bother, right?
After meeting the founders, Timothy and Yoo-Sun, in a hippy-fested Ubud cafe and hearing about their DIEMlife story, I knew this was going to help a lot of us navigate through our life’s goals and ambitions. The founders’ were inspired by Tim’s mother whose personal health became a prime concern a few years ago. After losing her husband, Candy Midgley needed all the love, affection and support from those closest to her and within her network to feel better. To help her navigate through certain emotional and physical health milestones, Tim and Yoo-Sun (along with his siblings) created Quests for her so she would be able to stay on top of every tai chi class she had to attend and the sock drive challenge she joined with her grandchild. Her successfully ticking off Quests from her list and dramatically improving her health inspired the idea of DIEMlife…which brings us to today. This platform documents goals, to-do lists and bucket-list items in the manner of Quests that you can share with your network of family and friends. From there, they are there to hold you accountable for your Quests and support you in your manifestations until they are achieved.
Soon after our chat, Tim and Yoo-Sun decided to host a workshop to test out this platform outside of their “think tank” and on real humans. I became one of the first lucky ones to be involved in this process, and with 22 strangers in the same room. Well, we weren’t exactly strangers… we all were in Bali as part of a working retreat, but all we knew about each other was what we did for work, which city we called ‘home’ and what we liked to eat for breakfast everyday. Communal breakfast tables tend to answer that question. Turns out, a lot of people can chow down spicy fried rice at 8am… #NoJudgement.
The workshop started with Tim and Yoo-Sun asking us to write a purpose statement.
“I want to make someone laugh on a daily basis so I can see the joy around me on a daily basis too. Wouldn’t that be lush?” I penned.
As I giggled at the naiveness of my statement, Carolina next to me scanned the room, confused. In her mid-50s, Carolina didn’t look too confident about writing this purpose statement, and she somehow felt it was a good idea to hide it.
“Interesting! Some people like their privacy; that’s OK, Shitika,” I thought.
Ignoring her apprehensiveness, I waited for Yoo-Sun and Tim to tell us more about these Quests on the DIEMlife platform. I really needed to hear how they were going to be different from my infamous to-do lists.
“Just like to-do lists, these Quests are organized in six different Wellness Pillars – Physical, Mental, Social, Environmental, Occupational, and Financial. You can have anything from ‘Learning how to ride a bike,’ or ‘Say No More’ in your Quests. They can be public, if you want emotional and mental support in return, or private Quests, depending on how comfortable you are with sharing your goals with your network,” explained Yoo-Sun.
With Spanish still on my mind, I started thinking about everything else I would like to be challenged on. If anything, I knew these Quests on DIEMlife would perfectly replace my scattered to-do lists and improve the chances of me actually accomplishing something. In real life. How fabulous!
Now buzzing with all the Quests I would like to document on DIEMlife, Timothy handed out Post-Its to all the participants and had us write down our debut Quests.
“Meditate everyday. Do a headstand. Skype with Mum more. Learn Spanish. Less sugar and wheat in diet. Help nephew buy a new camera. Save money for a birthday trip in November 2017. Do a colonic in Ubud.”
The Quests kept coming along and this method of documenting them on Post-Its was inspiring and a perfect brainstorming session.
I don’t know if it was this method of writing down my goals and aspirations on colourful Post-Its, or having a range of Wellness Pillars to navigate through, but I had 16 Quests written down, and about 10 more boiling up in my head. I looked around the room and fellow members’ Quest boards inspired me even more.
“Oh, even I would like to drink less alcohol during the week,” said one participant after seeing his neighbours’ Quest board. We then started perusing each other’s boards and finding a point of conversation where we could either offer emotional support and assistance in someone else’s Quest.
Carolina was doing really well with her Quests. Despite her initial confusion, I found myself drawn to her Quest of ‘Start writing my book’, and Tim supported my Quest of booking a colonic session in Ubud. Separate ones, of course. This incredibly supportive exercise made a wave across the room. Everyone was cheating from each other, and we were allowed to do so.
This was the moment when I looked around and appreciated how this community feeling of supporting each other through our personal successes is exactly what the virtual world needs more of. Even though we all are dedicated (and somewhat addictive) users of other popular social network platforms where we share every sentiment, every emotion and every meal with people in our network, it’s all so limiting. Aside from a thumbs up and maybe a comment, they lack other tools of support, encouragement and financial aid. And that’s exactly what DIEMlife provided right there in that small room of first-time Questers.
After recognising the Quests – our own and of other’s in the room – we discussed tasks that needed to be carried out to achieve the said Quests. Everything from ‘Googling salsa dance schools in Washington DC’ to ‘buying less alcohol during the weekly shop’ became part of the discussion. What we all found was that DIEMlife helped us list out Quests, and then provided the tools to make them happen as well. It encouraged all participants to think about their dreams and ambitions more actively and encourage those who might be on the same journey.
As the energy in room continued to reverberate, we sensed that all these Quests and their following tasks were bigger than any of us. And its magic was being beautifully curated by its passionate founders. Tim and Yoo-Sun’s sincerity for what they have created not only inspired everyone, but had us all following through our Quests beyond the Post-Its. They’ve not created DIEMlife, but they’re living DIEMlife. I wanted to be best friends with them and get a bigger insight of their DIEMlife world. Do they Quest everyday? How often does Candy take tai chi? Maybe I need to go to NYC and take class with her?
Surely there is more magic in their lives that we don’t know of… and if one session with these two can get my brain working overtime on how to make my life fuller and healthier, then imagine what it would be like to have a daily doze of Tim and Yoo-Sun?
Trying not to get distracted by my instant jealousy of their NYC friends and the sadness that came from realising how much I needed more of Tim and Yoo-Sun in my life, I heard Carolina next to me clearing her throat. As the workshop was coming to an end, she raised her hand.
“Can I say something, Tim and Yoo-Sun? I walked into this room, two hours ago, thinking this was an orientation for new members of this co-working space. At least that’s what was on my calendar. But 15 minutes into this session, I realised I had walked into a private workshop. I had no idea what you all were talking about, even though everyone next to me seemed very excited about their purpose statement and Quests. I didn’t even know what your platform was called… until now. But something really powerful about the way you described DIEMlife made me sit through this,” said Carolina.
Everyone in the room laughed in awe, and then quietly waited to hear more.
“I could have left as soon as I realised I was in the wrong room, but when Yoo-Sun started explaining the platform, I thought to myself ‘you have to stay, Carolina, this is special’. I’m so glad I stayed because now I have the inspiration from the entire room to start writing my book, something I’ve been procrastinating on for years. I didn’t even know I needed DIEMlife, until two hours ago… all the best you guys, this is going to be life-changing”.
Still in awe and wonder, as I tried to digest Carolina’s words and thought how such moments only happen in movies, I looked around the room and realized how everyone was not a stranger to me anymore. I now knew these people beyond where they lived and what they did.
Wendy loved to cook at home for her boyfriend. Sarah was addicted to online shopping (and quite dangerously). Tim wanted to feel more helpful to his nieces and nephews. Noha liked to write poems. Isabella wanted to sketch more during her time in Bali.
This workshop of discovering DIEMlife made us all know each other on a much deeper and wholesome level. Our Quests sparked conversations that we didn’t even know we wanted to have with each other. It also made us want to genuinely support each other in our documented Quests. Even if it was just a chat over a cup of coffee…
Oh and in case you’re wondering, clueless Carolina started on her manuscript a day later.