Getting Things Started

The genesis of “the list”.

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” – Seneca

I am not a writer of lists. Scratch that. I write lists. I am not a FOLLOWER of lists. I write them, but rarely reference them, or retain them. Once I write an item down I remember it, mostly. Stuck in my head, and in all best efforts sometimes to get rid of the things I’m supposed to do, or forgot to buy at the supermarket, I can’t.

With this in mind, and after spending a lot of time on my daily commute listening to Gretchen Rubin’s podcast “Happier”, I got to thinking about how I manage my obligations to myself and others, and how I might want to change that going into my fourth decade next year. The large and powerful “40” over on the horizon, coming towards me ever quicker, has made me panic. No idea why. I’m not afraid of 40 or what it represents (OR AM I?!?), but I have not slept well, questioned all long-held beliefs at some point, caught myself daydreaming and wistfully sharing lifelong dreams with strangers (or really patient coworkers).

Rather than stew for another year. Rather than go into my fourth decade with the same old nagging thoughts/wishes/hopes/dreams/”can I?”s, I excitedly made a list. I’ve seen others write their lists, and end up on the other side of 40 full of stories, incredible memories, and an overall sense of “take-that-40” when the birthday actually hits. I WANT THAT. The list is composed of 40 things I need to accomplish before turning 40 (summer 2018).

What THIS is, is a journal of said list – going through each item, and discovering the journey between. Journaling is one of my “things”. Having a lot of solo time growing up, I mused and mused in a handful of journals. I was such a good listener to my own thoughts. Without that outlet over the years I have continued to be a good listener, but not a good actioner. Hopefully this exercise becomes a blend of both. I also hope to have my brother join in on the fun. I’ve asked him – rather told him – that we were going to do this blog thing together. He’s busy, has a family and career of his own, but as a means of staying closer and communicating on a regular basis I thought it would be fun. For the most part we get along, and for the most part we challenge each other’s opinions.

I plan to journal about each item – its genesis, what will be difficult and what will be easy about taking it on, and as some items are going to take longer to check off the old list, I’ll journal about the journey. I’ll include photos, quotes, feedback from friends and those who have offered to help me achieve my goals. And above all else, I really want to capture what checking items off an actual list feels like. Doing what I say I’m going to do – FOR MYSELF. These items aren’t for my husband, my kids, my family or friends, or my work – although I do hope that this process will help me improve my relationship with all of them.

Beginning: Like journaling in high school, I loved quotes. I have a well-worn old paperback quote book that I referenced in the age before the internet. It was a companion in writing English papers (what good English paper doesn’t start off with a proper quote?), a love letter ghost-writer, and a muse. I’ll dust this off to channel my inner teen as well.

Quoote Book
Quote book I used growing up – a snapshot in time of the “revolutionary new format…”.

Ending: As important as beginning, each post will end with a word that captures the essence of the post, or a reference resource that I’d recommend on the topic.

Fresh Start

40 Before 40

  1. Marathon
  2. Stock Portfolio
  3. Clean up 401k
  4. Attend live Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me
  5. Invisalign
  6. Pinata with Booze!
  7. Palm Reading or Tarot Card
  8. Play a Round of Golf
  9. Spin Certified
  10. Bike to Work 1x
  11. Tell someone each day how special they are.
  12. Stand with the climate change guy at Roosevelt Circle
  13. Finish a 30 Day Squat Challenge
  14. Try 10 Different Fitness Classes
  15. edX Product MGMT Course
  16. Use all gift certificates!
  17. Donate unused crafting items.
  18. Murder Mystery Dinner
  19. Escape the Room
  20. Facial
  21. Update tattoo(s)
  22. Run 2 miles on track, sub 18 min (soccer double-sessions)
  23. Pre-write/stamp birthday cards for entire year.
  24. Dermatologist
  25. Try spinach. Like really try it. Give it a chance.
  26. Blossoms at the Beebe – support the library more.
  27. Geocache
  28. Organize Family Recipes
  29. Finish wedding album!
  30. Planetarium
  31. Road Trip with Phil
  32. Swim Laps (?) at Y – pretend you are a real swimmer.
  33. Buy Swim Goggles
  34. Clean under the bed.
  35. Write letter to nemesis, burn it, move on.  (Update)
  36. Clean and organize jewelry.
  37. Watch Food Inc.
  38. Kayak (more) (with different people)
  39. Play a full tennis match (keeping score)
  40. Start blog