What Other Type of Person Would You Be For a Week?

This week’s question is from The Book of Questions:

Would you want to spend a week as someone of the opposite sex? someone very old? very beautiful? very ugly? or severely handicapped? If so, which one would most intrigue you?

___________

Tim’s Answer: Tough one. Any of these would be immensely fascinating and enlightening. I think there are two things to think about when choosing.

1) What would be the most fun/interesting?

2) What would be the most useful?

When thinking about #1, one thing I’d keep in mind is that it’s probably a good idea to spend a week as someone in a worse situation than my current situation, because it would be much more fun to come back to being me and be like, “Oh thank god” instead of coming back and being like, “Shit.”

As for #2, I see the two most useful things to gain from the experience as A) appreciation and gratitude for your current life, and B) empathy and understanding for others. Each answer to the question would offer a different mix of A and B.

I think my final answer would be to spend a week as a 96-year-old man. Two main reasons:

First, I could have a ton of fun in public. You can get away with anything if you’re a 96-year-old man. And people’s expectations for you are insanely low, so almost anything you did would impress people.

Second, having been an old man would serve me the most in my current life. If I’m lucky, I’ll be an old man one day—it’s the thing I’m slowly turning into. And I know that when I am an old man, I’ll definitely think all kinds of “It would be so nice/fun/useful to be young again” and “If only I had realized how lucky I was when I had a young body and brain” thoughts. And even though I know now that I’ll think these things later, it would be much easier to permanently absorb the incredible privilege of being me if I could spend a week dealing with what it’ll be like when that privilege is gone.

You can sign up for the Dinner Table email list here to be notified about the new topic each week, and remember to submit future topic suggestions to table@waitbutwhy.com.

  • djyo

    Well if i’d have to be another kind of person for a week…

  • CorbecJayne

    I’d like to be someone insanely rich and respected (they got their immense riches through hard work and dedication). I would find my real self and give him a large portion of my money.

    That way, 1) and 2) are maximized. 1), because it would be fun to live as someone who is incredibly rich and highly respected; 2), because my real self would never have any financial troubles ever again, so, if I don’t mess up badly, my life will be awesome.

  • Fiona Millan

    I take it you get to keep the mind of your previous body… because without that comparison things would be pointless. Otherwise you’d just be an even more confused 96 year old man with Alzheimer’s.

    If that was the case – I’d want to be somebody that has had a middle cerebral artery left hemispheric stroke. It would give me insight into the lives and true needs and experiences of the patients I see everyday as a neurorehabilitation therapist. I’d want to know how I can be a better clinician and which therapies work better than others – kinda use myself as an experiment.

  • Lontar

    Spending a week as the opposite gender seems the most useful to me. The added perspective on the full half of people that I interact with seems extremely beneficial. As a man it’s difficult to know what is and isn’t appropriate interaction, particularly in the women’s rights department. I could use a “day-in-the-life” magic for a lot of my social anemia but unfortunately I’m stuck in my own reality tunnel.

    Just dealing with the physicality of being a woman, knowing what it’s like, and having a proper view on how all that “guy banter” actually feels to hear would probably adjust my behavior significantly. Obviously I’m aware of my shortcomings but with no other point of reference I’m left to self-correct as best I can, and it’s most commonly done in retroactive repair.

    To me the improved interactions with the opposite gender would have the largest impact on my remaining years: professionally, socially and romantically.

    • But the real question is, Which woman would you be?

      • Lontar

        Nobody in specific: a professionally-minded, conventionally attractive woman. Probably in her late twenties or early thirties (I realize as I’m typing this that it’s exactly what I’m looking for in a partner) who is dealing with the “why haven’t you had kids yet” stigma from society. I feel like it’s necessary for me to get some perspective on the what the females of my generation are putting up with and fighting for, while still finding themselves vocationally.

  • Richard Kenneth Niescior

    Is there continuity in your physical being?

    • LouiseShaw

      What do you mean?

      • Richard Kenneth Niescior

        If your body is continued i.e. If I become x and get y, when I return to my original form, will I still be affected by y?

  • 1) somebody of an opposite sex (just to know how that feels)
    2) somebody handicapped, perhaps a blind person (going blind has been my fear since early childhood, plus one of my friends is visually challenged and I would love an opportunity to see… well, not to see… what are the challenges she has to face).

    So would taking “a blind man” be cheating? 🙂

  • Russell Scott Wollman

    My preference would be a week as Dustin Hoffman. Next week I’d be Robert DeNiro. Third week, Meryl Streep. Fourth week, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

  • Wilson

    Really interesting one, if i am retaining my own personality/ thoughts/ feelings but just in the body of someone else i think i would just go for someone my own age but of the opposite sex. I think it would be interesting to see how differently or similar people would treat me purely based on gender, more interesting still i guess i would get the measure of how masculine or feminine i already am; assuming that all my characteristics remained as they are.

    Now if you were to be in the body and mind of someone else; like seated at the back of their conscious observing but not controlling my answer would be entirely different. If course it would need to be an actual person but as to the who….i would need to consider carefully. I mean you could choose someone who you thought you knew well but then afterwards you would know their innermost thoughts and that seems a tad imbalanced to retain the relationship. But then who? I may have to come back to this one….even though that wasnt actually the question.

  • Fredrik Engvall

    Tim Urban! He seems to have an amazing brain and he gets to hang out with Elon Musk.

  • Bequel

    I think I’d like to be an autistic person for a week.

    Both my cousin and my SO are autistic, and though I love them both very much I sometimes still lose patience with them. I know that they have trouble with social signals, no matter how obvious I think I am with them, and sometimes they get distracted and seem to forget about me when I really need to talk to them. It’s all perfectly explainable but still tough to reason through in the moment I’m mad without knowing what it’s like, so I would want more than anything to understand that frame of mind.

  • Julie Foulkes King

    David Levithan’s wonderful YA novel, “Everyday” explores this idea beautifully. I wish it would be adapted for stage and produced in every high school!

    Re: the question: I’d like to experience life 1) as a non “US-American”; 2) as a tall man with a sonorous voice (I’m a petite woman) and 3) am most intrigued by living with a severe physical handicap

  • LouiseShaw

    I would be a woman who’s conventially attractive. I’m attractive but not the typical blonde hair, blue eyes, white tipped nails etc, and I don’t follow the type of fashion these women do. I would be intrigued as to what type of men would be attracted to me. I am happy with my husband however I do think men divide women into “types” and would be interested in trying out my hypothesis.

    • Carolyn G

      I am a conventionally attractive woman (blonde,blue-eyed, though lacking white tipped nails and cutting edge fashion sense),and also more intellectually inclined than most people expect of someone with my appearance. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to have a man attracted more by my mind and character than by a culturally stereotyped fantasy image based on my looks. I think you would find that the type of men you would attract if you could change your appearance would be a higher percentage of shallow, predatory types.

      • Michał Zawadzki

        I’d be an attractive woman in her 20s just to troll these halfwits. 😉

        Seriously, though, I’d like to be a child with amazing parents, to see what it’s like to have loving, trustworthy, encouraging and inspiring people around you from the onset.

        There are very few such lucky kids in the society (at least in Poland — I’d say about 1 in 10-20), but they’re just so adorable, outgoing, happy, and curious.

  • Michel Kangro

    This is my personal answer, obviously, and might not fit for most persons.

    I’d want to be my wife. She has PTSD and while I think I am taking as good care of her as I can, I am sometimes impatient with her or get angry. I think having her perspective for a week would help me help her help herself, if you get my drift.

    Also, not in the original deal, but I thought about wether or not I’d want to switch, as in my wife being in my position in that time. I decided against it. I think if she knew how I was doing – not very good lately – it’d bring her down even more. I’d wish for her to experience herself four years ago or four years in the future.

  • C KARTIK

    When I was small,I cried a lot when I found out my ma had pledged her eyes;she told me my opinion would change when I grew up.Having worn thick spectacles for 23 years and having been through lasik surgery 7 years ago,it feels wonderful to view the world with the same eyes I was born with.So,to extrapolate my mother’ thoughts,I’d “like” to be blind for a week to feel what it is to be sightless and then realize how fortunate I am.Almost like the scene from “Kill Bill” when Uma Thurman get buried alive in the coffin and feels fortunate to just breathe when she claws back to the living world.

    That being said,if Batman were real…………………………….hmmm!!

    • James

      Did the lasik work? Would you recommend it?

      • C KARTIK

        Oh yes,more than 7 years since I underwent surgery.No problems whatsoever.Would recommend it if your myopia/hypermetropia hass been stable for a while like a year or so.And of course,the retinas/pupil size etc has to be of a certain size which your ophthalmologist would certify as good enough for surgery.

  • Bill

    I decline to answer as it may incriminate me.

  • Angnakuluk

    From the perspective of someone who is a conglomerate of many minority demographics I have spent a lot of time (as a child) trying to be another type of person. In hopes of gaining acceptance from others I acquired something else significantly more valuable than other peoples acceptance, I’m sure you’ve guessed it but it was being happy with myself. So from the perspective of hocus pocus magic, I wouldn’t even consider being in another person’s footsteps. There is no comparison to living life as someone different because there is no disconnect from that person to ourselves. We just have to find the corresponding values that match those of our desired counterparts, so if I want to see how another person suffers I have to find compassion.

  • Carl

    I would choose to be a slum dog in the streets of New Dehli or in the dumps in the outskirts.

    Then I would be able to appreciate the bullshit traffic I sit in every day in my air conditioned car to go to my air conditioned desk job to get my too big of a paycheck to buy useless crap I don’t need. Until then, I will just continue to hate the fact that I am trapped in this life without appreciating how great I really have it.

  • Commandr Shepard

    I’d be an attractive woman and do all sorts of wild shit with my body.

    • Adam

      Well, someone had to say it…

  • Roy Lu

    As an Asian male I have to be honest to say that it isn’t the easiest race to be in Australia/New Zealand. I wish I could just be white for a week… I have had 2 girls turn me down because “I really like you, but I don’t think I should date an Asian guy.”
    The feeling that if I was born white, I could have avoided school bullying and maybe had more friends than I did irks me…

    • girly freak

      People are stupid!

      I am very sorry for you….

  • Liesa

    I would choose to be a person without my current perfectionism/fear of failure problems. Not because I know I would be happier, but because I guess there would be other things I would be struggling with, and I’m curious what they might be.
    So then maybe I can be satisfied with the perfectionism and not see it as such a big problem.

  • Garb Nitto

    I’d want to be a person living my dream job. A Film Director. I have got to see how it feels to be working full time with the thing I really wanted to do for as long as I can remember. For a 20-something who is just starting out, with a whole world to pursue in front of me, it will be incredibly useful to have the opportunity see things ahead.
    Will it be awesome as I think it is right now, or unexpectedly horrible that I should rethink my life and choose a safer path?

  • girly freak

    I would most like to be a very nice 16-year-old bisexual girl for one week (not during menstruation)! I just want to know how it would feel for a girl to have sex with boys and with girls. There is not much that would be more interesting to me than that! In addition it is very useful to get to know what a girl REALLY wants in bed. So afterwards I would know where to touch my future girlfriend to make her having the best sex of all time. 🙂

    • Vivante

      only problem is–every girl is different, and wants something different. I was always amazed as a young kid about what my girlfriends got off on–when they were drunk, stoned or honest enough to say.

      • girly freak

        Well, that might be true…. but still it would be very interesting 😉 maybe I would just choose to be my future girlfriend for that week, so I get it right 🙂

  • Jerome

    I’d like to be a handsome alien. I’d zip around in my souped up saucer and all the lady aliens will go AAHHHhhhhhhh!

  • GizmoJones

    The older I get, the more irritated I am by Baby Boomer men. Perhaps if I could walk in the comfortable shoes of one of them for a week

    • Adam

      I can’t speak about Baby Boomers, but skip to a few decades later and you’ll get to the period I was born in. As a teenager living in a wealthy area, I feel that everyone’s complaints – be it the “difficulty” of exams or the boredom of school or their annoying parents who won’t replace their phone because that’s 4 in total now they’ve dropped on the floor and smashed – are ridiculous and show how unappreciative people are about what they have.

      I know there’s a lot of difference between the “injustices” Baby Boomers feel and the “injustices” teenagers think they are victims of, but the principle is the same. These people have suffered no injustice; they are luckier than most. Don’t try to empathise with them. Be glad for what you have and wish that they were glad for what they have.

  • d

    I would really like to experience what it is like to be happy all the time. Not question anything, not worry about anything, not care about things you cannot change etc. Basically, someone who has never ever experienced depression. I cannot even imagine what that must be like, while I can imagine almost any other type of being.

    • You don’t, really. I’m in the middle of reading “The Upside of Your Dark Side,” and just read the bit that summarized itself by saying something along the lines of, “In short, this is why we don’t want happy people being air traffic controllers.”

      The chapter really got me thinking. I have a friend who is super happy all the time, and he totally fits the mold laid out in that chapter. He’s not detail-oriented, he’s not precise at all. A few months ago, he kept inundating me with phone calls stressing out over some letter he got telling him to appear in court over some debt. I advised him to go to court. For the past couple of days, he has kept inundating me with phone calls stressing out over some letter he got telling him his wages are about to be garnished, because he didn’t show up in court, and they ruled in favor of his creditor. He has utterly zero recollection of the previous conversations, and of my previous advice that he should tackle this matter head-on. He has completely edited his memories. He lets nothing perturb him. He lets nothing poke its way inside his happiness bubble. He is continually getting blindsided by things like this, and then stressing the fuck out.

      One night, this guy was talking to me on the phone, and he said, “Oh, I love this car. I’m going to come back tomorrow and see about buying it.” I asked him what it was, and he said, “It’s green.” I asked him if it was a Ford, a Chrysler, a Toyota, or what, and he said, “It’s green. It’s a convertible.”

      I have been plagued by depression and anxiety issues my whole life, but I am very precise and detail oriented. I don’t need to understand how particle physics work to feel like I understand the world, but I can damn sure tell you that I drive a 2013 Ford F150 Supercab with the 5.0 liter V8, and it’s the latest incarnation of the Ford Modular Engine, and the same engine with different cams is used in the Mustang series, and the engine features a hydraulically actuated adjustable cam system called Twin Independent Variable Cam Timing.

      I couldn’t tear it all down and put it back together without a lot more studying, but I can damn sure tell you more about it than that it’s red. I enjoy being this way, and it would drive me crazy to live inside the head of somebody who just sees a green car.

      So I get depressed sometimes. At least I deal with life head on, and I understand what I’m up against a lot better than that guy. He has a lot going for him, which is why I’ve been studying him for so long, but in the end, I couldn’t become like that guy without giving up too much of who I am. I like myself, even though I’m fucked up.

      (Book highly recommended, incidentally. This is the most optimistic I’ve felt about being an overly negative fucked up depressive train wreck in years.)

      • girly freak

        First of all: During this whole thing you wrote “I have a friend who is super happy all the time” and “I have been plagued by depression and anxiety issues my whole life”

        get it?

        I mean…. whatever you do, he figured out much better at least how to have a happy life! I would more like to be your happy friend than to be you.

        Second: You do a big mistake during your text. You think that every “happy-all-the-time”-person does the way your friend does. That is wrong. I am also happy all the time. But still I am very very precise and detail oriented and I think about everything I can imagine and want to know everything. I also understand the world (or at least try the best to do so).

        This all is not a reason not to be happy all the time. 😉 Happiness comes from the attitude.

        Third: If everybody in the world would be happy all the time, there would not be a reason any more to do bad things like stealing or killing. Many – if not all – problems in the world would be erased.

        • d

          There is a difference between optimism and happiness. I can have happy, optimistic thoughts and attitude but inside, I am still not happy the way I imagine someone who is ‘always happy’ is happy. Perhaps there actually is no such thing, I mean, even in the example of the friend above, the friend is irresponsible and stresses out a lot as a result – I wouldn’t call that being happy.

          Anyway, I think being positive and optimistic and always on the lookout for the silver lining sounds like a good way to be. The problem with depression is that it is often a chemical imbalance that doesn’t respond to reason, and only partially to medication, so there is really no actual way to feel happy if you suffer from depression. The best you can hope for is equanimity.

          • girly freak

            Depression has a cause like everything else. You need to figure out what it is to become happy again.

            Most likely: Nutrition (like 90% or more)

            Dietary supplement and a vegan nutrition is recommendable. If this interests you, you may write an email to me: michael_oelmann_polf@gmx.de

            This does not need to be stretched here I guess.

        • James

          I’ll let you guys in on a little secret, there is no such thing as a “happy all the time” person in this entire world. Highs and lows are an inescapable part of the human experience. If there were no lows, there would be no highs because you wouldn’t have the lows to compare the highs to. So the highs would just become normal and thus not a high anymore. Many people try to numb and ignore the lows by depending on substances, or to just lie to themselves and tell themselves they are happy all the time but that’s just impossible. Being happy is for the most part a choice you have to make everyday, unless you’re clinically depressed due to brain chemistry imbalances(no optimistic wishful thinking will change chemistry), but EVERYONE still has bad days. Learning to embrace them is part of life.

          Just some of my thoughts

          • girly freak

            Sorry but you are partly right and partly wrong. I guess it is right, that you need to KNOW the lows to be able to understand a high. But it is wrong that you have no possibility to escape from that after already knowing the lows.
            I will try to explain, although for me this is very difficult because my English quite sucks. 😛

            The last time I have been unhappy is about 7 years ago? Maybe 8 or 9 years, not sure. We are intelligent beings. We are able to think about everything we can imagine. I thought a lot about happiness being about 16-17 years old. Thinking about being unhappy gave me the conviction that I don’t want to be unhappy ever again! And this is logical because being unhappy does not improve anything, contrariwise it makes things worse! I understood something then. I am able to manipulate my own feelings just by thinking. Thinking about good things (there are always good things) makes me happy. Whenever something like a low is trying to get me, I just think about good things (in general or about that thing, which would make me unhappy otherwise).

            I guess the most important part of that is to UNDERSTAND that you have the choice of being happy or unhappy all the time.

            Problem being that we are told from beginning of our life that we don’t have a choice. That we WILL be unhappy at least sometimes. But it is wrong!

            You just need to be unhappy ONCE in your life to know how it is to feel unhappy, so you know that you want to be happy. (If this was when you were 1 year old and you don’t remember that, you need to be unhappy once more in your life of course)

            There is just something like pain that may have an influence on that. That’s why you should not hurt other people (or other sentient beings). But even while you feel pain you may still be happy, it depends on how heavy this pain is.

            To start with that you need to practice that of course. You need to drill yourself to think about positive things when becoming unhappy. In the beginning this is difficult because when you are becoming unhappy, you’re quite touched in the head. But it is just a matter of habit.

            I hope I could convince you (and/or maybe others who read this). I would be happy ( 😀 ), if people answer here to this, finding out that it works. 😉

            • James

              So if you’re mother got diagnosed with cancer and passes away slowly and painfully, it wouldn’t bother you and you’d be perfectly happy by thinking happy thoughts?

              I’m not sure how old you are and I don’t mean to sound offensive, but your philosophy seems very naive to me.

              It may be that we are discussing two separate things. I agree you can experience negative feelings and still be an overall happy person by managing your perspective and not allowing yourself to wallow. But negative feelings and experiences are inevitable, it’s good for you to let yourself feel those emotions.

              Of course there are constantly unhappy people who have a negative outlook on life and will always find something to be down about regardless of how things are.

            • girly freak

              If my mother got diagnosed with cancer and passes away slowly, it would not help her, if I am unhappy because of that. So it would be unlogically to be unhappy.

              I am 25 years old by the way.

              “Of course there are constantly unhappy people who have a negative
              outlook on life and will always find something to be down about
              regardless of how things are.” – My mother having cancer is one of those things to me. This is not a reason for you to be unhappy. Your mother (if she likes/loves you) would want you to be happy. So… why would you be unhappy? We know that everyone will die one day (except Artificial Super Intelligence will rescue us), so we can be unhappy before that all the time. If my mother would feel so much pain, she may just kill herself instead of dying slowly and painfully. If she does not do so, she might prefer living as long as possible, so dying slowly and painfully because something in her life seems to be worth it. Why should this make me unhappy?^^

              In this moment we are communicating about this, there is so much pain in this world. So many suffering people and other animals. And still you (I guess?) and many other people on earth are happy ALTHOUGH this happens.

              You will always find something which is not OK. But there is also so much love on earth at the same time. So many people having sex right in this moment. So many people laughing. And so on.

              This is what I meant saying “Happiness comes from the attitude.”

            • James

              Thanks for the interesting discussion.

  • James Floyd

    Having lived in Japan for the last 8 years, I think it would be interesting to live as a Japanese person for a week. I could be a student (though I imagine that would be very boring) or better yet, a salaryman in Tokyo, either lower-ranking and being dragged out to the bars after work everyday at the expense of spending any time with my wife and kids, or the big boss man, the ultimate receipient of ass-kissery. Or maybe I would be a retiree who divides her time between tea ceremony, ikebana and the like. I think Japanese are some of the kindest and most interesting people I have ever met, but to grow up Japanese or enter the workforce in Japan as a young Japanese careerperson, it’s so vastly different than my Canadian upbringing and experience. I’m no longer shocked about the oddities of Japanese culture in the way Tim was when he posted about his travels in Japan, but one of the many reasons I will never truly fit in Japanese society is because of how unique and multifaceted every minutiae of their culture is. It would be interesting and enlightening to be in that mindset, if only for a week.

  • As a woman staring at 50 I’d love to be a passenger for a week inside an attractive, successful tech genius in his late 20s. Especially one fluent in a foreign language. First, to know how a male at the top of his form feels and fits into his world would likely be eye-opening. Then to have a better understanding of how technology and social media seem to be hard-wired into that generation’s cortex and lifestyle would be useful to me in my business (I own a bar in NYC). And finally, I’d hope that fluency in another language might translate back to when I returned to myself, as well as give me a better perspective on how language differences can actually affect the way you think. Barring that, I’d want to be one of my cats.

    • Vivante

      It would be great if you could be your cat for a week. When you came back, you could write the definitive book about how cats think and why they do the weird things that they do and i could finally understand them!!

  • Raymond Firehock

    Just off the top of my head, I’ll go for a week in the 1 percent. Their lives are as different from mine as I can imagine, but without the downsides of being worse off than I am. I imagine it would take some getting used to, but I would be willing to start with a limo picking me up at my (current house), whisking me to our local airport, boarding my private jet, and going whereever fancy took me. Of course, my personal assistant would see to the six-star hotel (is there such a thing? I bet there is, for the super rich) and my wardrobe would await. Along with local eye-candy…and the week goes on. I am too old and settled to want to be poor or disabled or a different sex or whatever you young’uns are choosing.

    • Pen Guin

      The Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai is a 7 star hotel.

      • Raymond Firehock

        Great. Maybe I’ll stop over there en route to Hong Kong, which I have always loved.

    • JayOh

      I feel like that isnt very interesting though. I already know what that would be like. You can do whatever you wanted for a week. Awesome, but I think you’d need more time than a week to really understand what a 1%er life is like overall. Like once the novelty of some your luxuries wears off.

      • Raymond Firehock

        Probably so. Can I have a month instead? Return to just me might be hard after that, but maybe I can keep my new clothes….

    • Rob Armstrong

      you had me all confused for a moment there. i was wondering what a member of the Hells Angles or Fourth Reich were doing taking a limo to their private jet

  • David

    I would be Jeb Bush, because it would only take a week for me to spend all of his money on hookers and blow, and completely destroy his presidential campaign in the process.

    • Vivante

      Good boy!! Go for it!!

  • WW

    I would want to be my husband. Because he is the one most impacted to my behavior. If I live as a week as my husband, I would understand better what stresses him out during the day, what makes him feel happy, etc at a much deeper level than from just living with him and talking to him. Then I know that I can make a change in a life when I return to my own body. And improving his life and our relationship would give the biggest obvious benefit to me as well.

    • Sam

      That’s the most selfless answer I’ve ever heard

    • Pepperice

      Ooh. I really like this idea. I think I choose this one too. My husband and I are very different, and we do get frustrated with each other occasionally. I’d also like to know what it’s like to have his good points, like how to be super organised and how to just figure out logical solutions like that, and why it’s so important to him for the house to be clean.

  • JayOh

    an attractive man. hate being ugly, I’d go hit up the clubs/bars for a weekend to experience what its like getting female attention

  • Sarah R.

    I’d like to jump from body to body in each of my employees as they interact with me so I can learn from them what it’s like to work with/for me. While I want to learn how to be better at interacting and working with each of them, I’d also like to learn how to better recognize their gifts and brilliance so I can do my part to let it shine.

    • Korakys

      The hardest part of being a boss is learning to let go and trust your workers.

      • Sarah R.

        So true. You have to take care of them in the beginning so they learn the ropes. It’s learning how to convey what is needed and expected so that you can trust the results that makes it easier or harder to let go.

  • Savannah

    Ironman, or the real world equivalent. Oh wait, that’s Elon Musk! So yeah, him. Just what it’s like to think about so many things at once, be ridiculous smart, invent cool ideas, just be pure awesome and I think most importantly, be able to make change.

  • Adam

    A normal person of the same age as me [~16] but the opposite gender [female]. I’d be interested to see what a normal week is for them socially and what differences being female makes to life.

    I assume that we have at least some of their thoughts added on to our own, because otherwise we wouldn’t know where this person lives, who their friends are, what the password to their phone is etc. If we get enough of their thoughts, I might actually understand how a normal teenager’s brain works, rather than the objective, science-based, (academically) intelligent brain that belongs to me. How does a normal person defend their religious beliefs – how carefully have they thought them through? What’s their opinion on things that are controversial but really shouldn’t be, like climate change, homoeopathy or GM crops? How do they view people like me – do they make fun of nerds or respect their intelligence? What is a normal teenager’s relationship with their parents like (or I might choose someone with a single parent to see how it’s affected them)? What’s their opinion on the law; how do they justify drinking alcohol when underage or doing drugs? Why are they only achieving a C in their exams – is it a genuine lack of natural intelligence or just (as I strongly suspect) a complete lack of effort? What is their view on politics (I’d like to go into a Conservative’s brain and see how they justify it)? How much do they talk to and communicate with their friends via text, Facebook, Instagram etc.? How happy are they – how grateful are they for what they have?

    • girly freak

      That would be very interesting for me, too – total agree.

      By the way: “how do they justify drinking alcohol when underage or doing drugs?” – alcohol IS a drug, so to be correct you need to say “other drugs”; and to me there is not just the question of how they justify drinking alcohol when underage, but of how they justify drinking alcohol in general. There is no age where alcohol is good for you.

      • iKeir

        Dude, correcting other people’s grammar really isn’t the best thing to do when yours is wrong, too.

        ‘Total agree’ should either be ‘total agreement’ or ‘I totally agree’.

        Haven’t you got better things to do with your time than correcting grammar?

        • girly freak

          I did not correct his grammar… I know that my english grammar sucks. 😉

          That was a correction of the content.

        • Adam

          For the record, I appreciate any correction, however pedantic (as long as it’s not hypercorrective). And as for the “Haven’t you got better things to do with your time than correcting grammar?”, I think that makes you quite a hypocrite: haven’t you got better things to do with your time than correct the behaviour of those who correct grammar?

          Yes, it is true that alcohol is a drug – I meant “[illegal] recreational drugs” (e.g. marijuana).

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Alcohol is poison, not a drug.

  • Wakefiled

    Tom Brady.

    I know I’d come back after a week and think “ahh crap” but still… I HAVE to know.

  • suzanne

    I wish I’ll be Padalka / Kelly / Korneinko. Whoever of them, the ones that are now in ISS

  • Zimm

    I think I would be my ex-girlfriend. We had a tumultuous relationship and a decade long back and forth unhealthy friendship after that. It became evident after many years that it wasn’t a good relationship and that we were both leaning on each other for the wrong reasons. I allowed myself to be pulled along — at a distance — and it negatively effected my dating and social life. Somewhere in all of that there was love, which stays with you even after all ties are severed. I would like to be her for a week and experience the hard life she has led, and why she did a lot of the things she did.

    On the flip side, I would like to be my girlfriend and see how she sees me, what annoys her about me, and she she really likes so that I can be a better boyfriend to her and understand her on a deeper level.

  • DeeDee Massey

    John Malkovich, of course

  • Isha Sharma

    I’d pick a week in the life of an infant. I have little to no memories of what it was like when I was so young, and I’ve always been fascinated by what’s going on in a child’s mind.
    This might be useful to medical practice if I could transfer the memories when I get back to my normal body.
    But if not, I’d love to see the perspective of a white man in his prime years…being a woman of colour this transformation would be insightful.

  • Beebles

    A black woman.

    As a white man, this is the exact opposite of me and two things that I will normally never experience. Women everywhere deal with a ton of things everyday that I can’t even begin to comprehend, and black people struggle with racism which a white person would have a tough time empathizing with if not experienced personally.

    Also, I think we all are wondering what it’d feel like to not be the sex that we are, in more ways than one. Don’t pretend like you aren’t a little bit curious.

  • Luisa

    I would want to be blind. I often think how we take our senses for granted. I had a slightly simulated feel of what is like being deaf, when I moved to a country I couldn’t speak the language. Being unable to communicate, even if I did hear, was life changing.
    i can’t even begin to think what would be like to not see.

    but then again, if you choose anyone that is not blind, and you can finally know if other people colors are the same colors you see…

    • Luisa

      Just realised that it means someone would see for the very first time, through my eyes. That is even better! To be able to provide that to someone is even better than any experience I might have

  • Jill Dicen

    I think I’d like to be a spy like james bond, but the female version. To be able to kick some serious ass, have cool gadgets, be rich, gorgeous and live a life of intrigue. (Sigh)

    • Rusty Shackleford

      And have promiscuous sex with your enemies? 😉

  • Ralph Hat-Farmer

    This is a really hard question, theres a lot of options which’d be fascinating. Does the person have to be living, or can be from any time? I guess this question boils down to what group of people or person do you feel you would most benefit from understanding better.
    Maybe someone with a very different mental makeup and way of viewing the world – someone on the aspergers spectrum for example. Or someone at the height of their field – like a great mathematician, artist or philosopher. Or someone with synathaesia – where the senses are mixed up, and you taste colours, see sounds, etc.

  • Melisa

    I think I’d want to be POTUS for a week, to really know what someone in that position has to deal with on a day-to-day basis. But just for a week.

  • Ines

    I think the most useful person to be for a week would be whoever represents the group(s) I’m most biased toward; having to live as someone I instinctually dislike would help humanize them in my mind and make me a better person when I went back to being me.

    • Clara

      What if they turned out to be a terrible person and you hated having their thoughts and making their choices? Might it make you more biased instead of less?

      • Ines

        I don’t think that would be very likely. If I’m having their thoughts, then I understand the motivation for their actions, I might disagree with it, but I still change from thinking that they’re terrible just because they’re terrible to thinking that they make poor decisions but there are reasons behind them. But if they are just objectively awful and they do terrible things just to because they can, then my bias won’t really be bias anymore, it’ll be a justified fact.

  • Rob Armstrong

    i think a member of the intelligentsia of either ISIS or North Korea. getting to know either of these groups from the inside would be fascinating and learning more about what their members are like and actually believe in and what they dislike about the groups they are associated with would be a nice change from what can only be assumed is a biased western media representation of either organisation. having an insight into their world view would be incredible

  • Brian Doyle

    I’d be a 14 year old boy in one of the (sadly many) war torn cities of the world. What’s it really like to live through a week in his shoes (not that he’ll have actual shoes probably)?
    How does he envisage his future or are thoughts about the future not even relevant to him?

    • Jeff

      That’s deep man

  • DrSuess

    I’d like to be taller for a while, and for 2 reasons.

    Sports: I’m 5’8″, which is an inch shorter than the national average in the US, so, not sooo bad. But I play many sports, and the advantages that go along with size, reach, leverage are significant. Long drivers in golf; power hitters in base/soft ball; defence men in hockey; basketball. I’d love a week to play all my favorite sports as a guy of about 6’3″. Yes, I know there are outliers in all those sports who are ridiculously talented and have made despite being shorter. But, they are the outliers. I’d like to know how and how much it changes my game.

    Work: although a week wouldn’t likely be enough time for the full effect to take place. We all know that there are multiple types and forms of obvious and subtle discrimination in the workplace. For guys, height is one of them. Research has shown huge advantaged to being tall. The percentages of CEOs that are over 6′ compared to the percentage for the general population are significant. The same comparison made at 6’2″ are staggering. Malcolm Gladwell, among others, has researched this phenomenon.
    http://gladwell.com/blink/why-do-we-love-tall-men/
    I’d like to see if I would be perceived differently at work than I am now.

    I also expect I’d find things that suck…. I can buy clothes off the rack. I can fit in any car. I have never had to duck through a doorway. Still, the experiment would be enlightening. 🙂

    • James

      Interesting, I guess as a tall guy I take my height for granted sometimes. Never really thought it made a difference socially or in the work place but I suppose I couldn’t really know that

  • Jay Kay

    Slight twist to the question… I have a reasonable idea what it is like to be handicapped… mostly visually impaired as growing up,. my father was blind… it gave me a great ability to move in the dark, not needing light to “see” and then be able to teach people how to ski. Favorite was teaching a guy from Texas how to ski the trees. Yes he was blind. Sighted people can’t do that.

    Now to answer Tim’s question, I’d be someone successful (like Elon Musk)… if I could retain just a little of that experience of what it is like to be him or someone like him, then I’d have a good shot at being able to change the world.

  • paradox

    i would really like to be chris hadfield during his first spacewalk above earth with the aurora below me and see it with my own eyes (https://youtu.be/6YOz9Pxnzho), or maybe neil armstrong or anyone who went to space

  • Chiel Wieringa

    (warning: generalizations ahead)
    I’d “like” to be a successful psychopath (not the “relatively dumb serial-killer” type, but the “dangerously smart starting wars and people still love them for it” type) for a week to truly understand “their” world so I would know better how to spot them and deal with them. At this point in my life I just hate “them” because “they” seem to rule the world and do a great job at ruining it. Maybe if I understand “their” motivational world better the hate will go since I hate to hate.

  • LouiseShaw

    I wouldn’t want to keep the new body / face, no. But I would want to remember my experience so I could know if my hypothesis that more men, but men I might not want to date, as in shallow, predatory men, would be interested in me.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      They very well may, but that doesn’t make it any less superficial.

  • Rusty Shackleford

    A black guy. Or live inside the mind of a white supremacist… Just to see their thought process.

  • Spencer

    I’d have to say a black guy, my age, in roughly my same social class. As a white, middle class male (raised protestant), I’m about as average of a person as there is in this country, so very little-to-no discrimination comes my way (aside from potential affirmative action situations where they already have “too many” white guys to hire me, but to the best of my knowledge I haven’t run into that). I’d like to think that I haven’t been given any advantages just because I’m white, but I can all but guarantee you that I have. What they are, I have no idea, but I think this week long switch would really open my eyes to A) the preferential treatment I get, B) How judgmental, to downright racist, the US still is, and C) what prejudices I have that I’m not even aware of (hopefully very few, but I can’t really know)

  • Shourya Y

    I’d probably choose to live my week as a guy with synesthesia. Or someone who has been born blind since birth, and how now developed his sense of hearing to such an extent that he can echo locate his way around. Or a tetrachromat (people who can see more colours than you and me!)
    Basically any person who experiences reality WAY differently than we do, I’d like to be for a week.

  • Jack Mackenzie

    Putin. I want to know what’s going on in his head.

  • Cankrist

    A Wall-Street executive. I’d take snapshots of his illicit activities and blackmail him for cash.

  • I would love to be in the body of someone who is really physically fit. Like, someone who can do do a triathlon for fun. I’d hope that knowing how good it feels (because, it must feel good?) to have my body in such peak condition would motivate me to look after myself more.

  • Ali

    A man that gets laid a couple of times a week would be a nice change. (Thus spake a tired, married man with small kids)

  • Jeff

    I would be some one who’s been blind and deaf for there entire life, to feel whats going on in there head as well a maybe a kid with autism.Maybe by understanding what its like there can be way to treat it.

Home Archive