Tuesday, April 13, 2010

41 Things to Do Before I'm 42

I like lists. Did I mention this?

Since this first month of my quest involves setting forth my plan, I thought it would be fun to make a list of 41 things I'd like to do this year.

Here they are in no particular order:

1. Take a class in letterpress printing
2. Go to visit my Grandma again (she lives out of state and is 91)
3. Visit a cave
4. Sightsee in my own city for several days
5. Write to someone in secret code
6. Plan a scavenger hunt for someone and follow through and do it
7. Paint something (a project)
8. Mosaic tile something (a project)
9. Sew a piece of clothing from scratch (I started a vest but didn't finish it)
10. Finish the clock I started to make but never completed
11. Paint a wall some color other than off white (every room but our bathroom is white)
12. Buy and wear some funky, impractical sandals just for fun
13. Roll down a grassy hill
14. Try new recipes
15. Make eggrolls
16. Make Cornish Pasties from scratch
17. Make some of my own jewelry (beads, perhaps?)
18. Go to the desert to look at wildflowers
19. Go Antique store shopping in LA
20. Go to the Rose Bowl/Pasadena Swap meet on the day antique dealers are there
21. Bargain for something at a garage sale
22. Try a fruit I've never eaten before (passionfruit, or something else?)
23. Cut up a whole pineapple the proper way (I've read about it but never done it)
24. Give a speech in public on a topic I care about (I've not had the chance to do
this lately)
25. Get something I've written published (either fiction or nonfiction)
26. Take a fiction writing course (I've done it before but want to do it again)
27. Make a Christmas Ornament
28. Paper mache something
29. Try a new board game or two with friends/family
30. Get a few readers on this blog (and have a few of them comment kindly)
31. Try a new hairstyle
32. Dress in a costume in public (I've done this before; I want to do again)
33. Get my face painted like the kids do at carnivals or fairs
34. Bungee jump (or the equivalent fair ride where they fling people upwards)
35. Ride a train longer than two hours--preferably a day long trip or overnight
36. Have a massage and a facial
37. Try at least three different types of cheeses I've never had before
38. Make my own ice cream
39. Make my own bread, with yeast I raised myself
40. Act in a scene or play in front of an audience at least once this year
41. Have a dinner party where more than one couple is invited to our house
(family doesn't count in this case)

If I do these things, it would be quite a year, wouldn't it? Do all this plus get organized at home, make progress on my three projects for this month, and find a job? Sounds like I better get to work!


  1. What an inspiring list! I'd love to join you in about 2/3 of those activities. :-)

    Just thinking: you say that you'd "better get to work" but... many of these things sound like what you really need to do is "get to play" - to give yourself permission to explore and create and experience and experiment, without the need to "be productive": just focus on the process, not the end-product. I know it can be tough to do, but so liberating! And that can be a great way to take a step to get past the whole fear thing you've been working through, too.

    And look what's happened here, just now: you've just taken a big bite out of #30 on your list!

    Now, if you just reply to me in a simple secret code - you can swipe from Wikipedia or come up with on the spot (challenge your readers to figure it out! and give the key in your next post, so we won't get too frustrated if we don't get it!) - then there'll be #5 checked off your list, too. :-)

  2. I guess you are right about "get to play"--I hadn't thought of it that way. My list is all about discovery and play. On the other hand, I also have a big to do list which I need to get to work on too and I think that is where my mind went to at the end--that I want to accomplish this list of more fun things PLUS the list of productive stuff before I turn 42. A lot to do. But at least 41 of the things (this list) will be fun!!

    I really appreciated your comment. I agree that a list like this can be liberating and is probably a step in fighting my fear.

    I'll think about the code.... hmmmm....

  3. Hello,

    Reading the comments on a Happiness Project post, I found 'Real Me at 42' and the coincidence jumped out at me - I'm 42 and also taking a big chunk of time out to reflect on my life. My circumstances are different, but I can connect to a great deal of what you're describing.

    I think this is a lovely list - even accomplishing half of these things would open so many new doors and experiences for you, in a spirit of play and discovery. Especially the things you find most frightening!

    One observation - reading all your posts so far, it struck me that you're seeking to accomplish a lot - you ask a lot of yourself, in terms of projects, goals, tasks, commitments, etc. Would it help you to explore the prospect of doing less this year, to focus on fewer things to do and create more space simply to be and play? More precisely, to sit down with your lists and begin to work out which things you really want to do, that truly fill you with passion, and which are things you feel you ought to be doing. Then cross off everything that falls into the latter category. Believe me, I struggle all the time between 'want to' and 'ought to', but 'ought' has really twisted me out of shape over the years, and I don't want it to govern my life any more.

    I find the Zen Habits blog very helpful for tips on a do less approach, if you think this is worth exploring for yourself.

    Good luck, and look forward to the journey.

  4. I read Zen Habits too, although I used to like it more than I do lately.

    I guess I do ask a lot of myself. It is hard to cut back. I actually have even more I want to do. I have about 10 novels semi-planned, 5 websites, two or three craft projects, etc. Then there is the whole career problem.....and I volunteer major time to three groups in town.

    The problem is actually getting to all of this and getting things done. I feel out of control.

    I'd cut more stuff but I really do want to do most of it. :)

    I am cutting back my commitments, a bit, with one group next month (won't be an officer anymore) but will still serve with it twice a month. I needed to do something....to make room for everything else.


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