I don’t know what the first “challenge” was, but I imagine it had something to do with conquering a physical feat. Weight loss, or a strength goal; perhaps finding the courage to enter a race or other athletic event.

Then they started getting dumb. I remember a “challenge” involving swallowing a large spoonful of cinnamon; one lighting yourself on fire; and the one where you dumped ice water over your head ostensibly for charity or “awareness” of some disease. (Never mind most of those dousing themselves with ice water did not donate money to the charity, or help the people suffering from the disease in any other way.)

Lately everything is a “challenge” if it involves changing something about your daily routine. There are internet groups for all sorts of housecleaning “challenges.” Perhaps people become more motivated to put dishes away and vacuum if they sign up in some internet thing and tell people that for the next thirty days they are embarking on the Put Stuff Away Challenge, and that they are on Day 3 now, and that while it’s hard, they have faith they can finish.

Probably the dumbest challenge I found – aside from those involving lighting yourself on fire (and possibly becoming one of my next cases) – has been the “Minimal Makeup Challenge.” Not no-makeup, mind you – minimal makeup. As in, “I normally wear heavy makeup, and I’m too self-conscious to go without it, but I want to feel like I’ve accomplished something, so I’ll go for a week using only a few cosmetic products and write an article about how much I learned, or something.”

Stupid things like that used to be referred to as “experiments,” in the event someone found them worthy of mention at all. A woman accustomed to receiving attention for her looks intentionally downplays them and reports how and if people treated her differently. And that is what it is – a social experiment. It is not challenging.

How about the “learn to drive at age 80 because you never had a license and your husband died and your children moved across the country” challenge? That’s an accomplishment. Or the “live as a 20-year-old single father because your wife got cancer and died when your baby was three months old” challenge? Can you imagine Day 17 of that one?! “Well guys it’s tough but I’m hanging in there!” [Selfie with crying baby, stack of dirty laundry, eviction notice and Math 121 textbook]

Your challenge is stupid.

I met someone a few years ago who was doing the “Explain To Your Two-Year-Old Son Why His Twin Brother Didn’t Wake Up From His Nap” Challenge. Not many people doing that one, because they all dropped out. It was easier to yell “Leave your mother alone!” and turn the TV on.

So you totally didn’t wear eyeliner for a WEEK??!!

I checked in with one man six months after the “Cook For The First Time In Your Life After Your Wife of 53 Years Dies” challenge. He was crying so hard he couldn’t tell me how it was going, or what day he was on, and he didn’t even have cool selfies to show me. He just kept going on about how “She did everything for me and I don’t know how…”

Your life and problems bore me.

My work consists of a series of simple challenges. When I get the call telling me I’ve got a body, I don’t ask what/who/how. I don’t want to be warned in advance that they are 300 lbs or are missing a face or limbs. I want to walk into work, unzip the bag, and see what I have today. Troubleshoot. How to fix this. How to hide that. When I prop this arm, the other one doesn’t look right, and I stopped him from purging out the mouth and now he’s purging out the ears. Now the right side of his face is all purple. Now he smells like chemicals. Now he’s fine and I’m done. It is challenging, but then it’s over. I will spend hours to days on your funeral. You will spend the rest of your life dealing with the loss. I do not want your challenges. No one does.

I do not understand the need to seek inspiration and motivation in that which does not matter. I get told by strangers what an “inspiration” I am to them due to my bodybuilding wins, and how I make them feel “motivated.” Why that? If you want to be inspired, why not follow someone who does things that actually matter?

Look up to those who have made real achievements, and seek to challenge yourself with real opportunities for personal growth, not with lame attempts at seeking validation for doing nothing.