It’s mid-January and 2014 is so over. In fact we already did some of the stuff in our New Year’s Resolution. That is if you can call it such for we wrote it like one of those unspecific quick guide to happy living and self-improvement. In fifteen days, since we feel like we’re getting old, we revisited our financial plans and moved our investments, got us life insurance, and settled on a plan on how to pay our annual taxes. We also had our stubborn molar and the last of our milk teeth removed yesterday which should earn us a reward from the tooth fairy. The dentist was even surprised that we were able to keep our front milk tooth for 25 years. Don’t ask us, ask the tooth.

And now while we’re at home [because the papal visit gave us a 5-day long weekend] and struggling with our meals every now and then, we think it’s a good time to discuss this year’s challenge. Unknown to most of the people around us and our handful of followers, we did Project365 in Instagram last year. You’re right, we were quite forced to sign up for an Instagram account ’cause it’s the suitable platform and we took one photo a day. With smartphones, taking a picture anywhere is easy, but getting a picture to say something about your day is not.  So yeah, while we didn’t miss a day we think we only achieved mediocre results. But that’s not going to stop us from aiming higher this year. We are going for Meet 12++.

So what’s it all about? While instagramming we discovered the works of Paolo with the Instagram name freepy. He takes really nice photos but what we particularly like are his Monday portraits where he takes a creative shot of someone he knows and adds about a paragraph-long description to the post. Why we like it? Apart from the fact that we find the concept original, we like the idea that he’s showcasing people he actually knows. A friend, a workmate, an Instagrammer he follows, he even posted a picture of his mom and dad! As a follower it gives you a look into these people’s lives and they start to appear more human as opposed to just figures in a pretty picture. Now isn’t it nice to know bits about people’s lives once in a while? Like maybe that grumpy looking old man you meet at the coffee shop every afternoon who must be a lawyer? Or that lady volunteering to collect donations at the underpass who looks like she can be some student in a prestigious university?

Needless to say we were inspired to do something similar. We meet lots of people every day but we only know them by the most obvious things they do. We can even be good friends with someone in the office but unaware of the things they do on weekends because we simply don’t bother. But isn’t it nice to have relaxed conversations once in a  while? And for that we are taking it as a challenge to go out more this year [’cause we don’t] and actually know people. We are not mean but we are also not the friendly type; we’re kind of wired that way. But we like to think that it is not a hindrance to knowing people.

So what’s the challenge really?

Meet 12++ has reference to programming; we are a software engineer that’s why. In C and other programming languages, the ++ operator is used to increment an integer by 1. In human language, “add another one”. But in the block where we belonged in college, it was used to denote a presence of additional members to a group. If let’s say a group named Geek Squad had new members, they become Geek Squad++ regardless of the number of new members. It’s that simple. So for Meet 12++, we should go on a day out with 12 or more people in the entire year. Ideally, we should go out with at least one person in a month. Yeah, you can call it a date. But the idea is to know something about the subject that is beyond what one can gather by just simply observing them. We should also mixed in some sort of theme like “Lost Connection”, “Man of the Streets”, “That One Friend”, etc. We can chat with a single person or a group but a day out should only count as one. At least one fun activity should be included aside from the interview so that the day can be more interesting. It can be watching a film or a play, attending an art exhibit, backpacking to some place, anything! At the end of the day, the subject may set us up with another person they know who could use some company or just call it a day. When we get back from the day out, we should blog about it (fail moments filtered out unless the subject finds it shareworthy) and make arrangements with the next subject.

We are not sure how this project will turn out. We are pretty unsure of our social skills to begin with. We in fact deserve a socially awkward penguin shirt as a gift. But who knows? There can be some comfort in the company of “strangers”. -aB

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