1827 days

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In a few hours I will have completed thirty-five trips around the sun. This isn’t a tremendous accomplishment, for the most part I was just along for the ride and hanging on for dear life; and based on the average maximum age of the men on both sides of my family, I’ve got about ninety years in me, so I’m still a decade away from half way there.

Still, a friend of mine pointed out a few days ago that thirty-five is “the age when even the elderly don’t think you’re young anymore.” That kind of hit me.

I’ve spent the last couple of birthday’s a bit depressed or pensive or just sorting stuff out. I’m not really in that place this year. The year I turned 30 my marriage of 11 years fell apart. The year I turned 31 I ended up in the hospital. The year I turned 32 I was unemployed and struggling to find my way forward. The year I turned 33 my daughter moved across the country. And last year I took Sarah back to the airport to fly home after spring break.

Of those years, when I turned 32 (which feels like several blogs and lifetimes ago) I did something I don’t usually do, I made a list of things I expressly wanted to accomplish. I didn’t accomplish some of them because they were essentially abstract and therefore essentially unaccomplishable. But on the other hand, the more concrete ones, like get a job with a specific salary, buy a nice camera, use my passport, scare the shit out of myself…those I did manage to accomplish. In no small part because I wrote them down. I made them concrete. I had something to work towards and compare against.

There are 1827 days until I turn 40.

There are things that I believed would be true about myself before I was 40, things that I feel are now starting to slip away.

What follows is the list of forty things that I want to accomplish before I turn 40:

  1. Be selected for and attend Viable Paradise.
  2. Have a short story published in an SFWA qualifying publication.
  3. Have a novel published by a SFWA qualifying publisher.
  4. Join the SFWA.
  5. Have a short story published in Electric Velocipede.
  6. Have a novel published by TOR Books.
  7. Visit the TOR offices in the Flatiron Building in NYC.
  8. Meet PNH and TNH in person. Tell them thank you.
  9. Meet Catherynne M Valente. Try not to go fanboi.
  10. Meet Neil Gaiman in person. Get him to sign my Sandman #1 and Fragile Things.
  11. Meet Russel T Davies. Tell him thank you.
  12. Write a screenplay for an episode of Doctor Who.
  13. Go to a sci-fi/fantasy related convention (ComiCon, DragonCon, etc.)
  14. Buy a current generation Mac. Bought a 21″ iMac new from PeachMac in March of 2013
  15. Buy a late model-year car/truck. We bought a late model-year Ford Explorer in April of 2013
  16. Buy a project car. I bought a ’95 Saab 900S with a bad clutch and other issues in August of 2012
  17. Buy the tools to fix up a project car. I’ve been buying tools and parts for the last nine months.
  18. Actually fix up a project car.
  19. Take the project car on a serious, multi-day road trip.
  20. Buy a motorcycle or officially give up on that long-held dream.
  21. Buy a decent acoustic guitar.
  22. Learn to play Fields of Gold on the guitar.

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  23. Learn to play Fragile on the guitar.

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  24. Learn to play Saint Agnes and the Burning Train on the guitar.

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  25. Learn to speak French well enough to understand a French film without subtitles.
  26. Learn to read French well enough to read Dumas, Casanova, and Voltaire without a French to English dictionary.
  27. Learn to speak Italian well enough to understand a Roberto Benigni film without subtitles.
  28. Learn to read Italian well enough to read Umberto Eco without an Italian to English dictionary.
  29. Visit France.
  30. Visit Italy.
  31. Buy L-series lenses: Telephoto lens, Wide-Angle lens, Macro lens.
  32. Buy a Speedlight, remote, and diffusers.
  33. Improve my photography skills.
  34. Upgrade my camera to a level appropriate for my improved skills.
  35. Run a 5K.
  36. Run a Marathon.
  37. Run a Triathlon.
  38. Take Communion on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Easter, All-Saints Day, And Christmas in the same year.
  39. Spend a school-year with my daughter.
  40. Buy a house. See this post.

I might not do all of these things before I turn 40, but I’m not going to turn 40 without trying do do all of these things.

[Word Count: 695]

11 thoughts on “1827 days

  1. I firmly believe the simple act of writing a goal down makes the goal much more likely to happen than if it never got acknowledged (for reasons I don’t entirely understand). Does it make you accountable to yourself? Can a numbered list inspire you to do what you might otherwise forget or think impossible? I haven’t figured out the mechanics, just the results.

    Same boat, no better paddle. I don’t know why it works, I’ve just seen it work. So I’m going with what works.

    And so, faretheewell on your 1827-day quest. And please take us with you along the way.

    I promise to update this list and post about any of these being accomplished.

    Happy belated (by a day) birthday!!

    Thank you!

  2. Argh. That first sentence needs a comma or a dash or a parenthetical aside. “I firmly believe the simple act of writing a goal down makes the goal much more likely to happen than if it never got acknowledged (for reasons I don’t entire understand).”

    I went with the parenthetical aside because I loves them…I really REALLY loves them to pieces.

    Sorry for the murky comment!

    Heh, no worries. I leave murky comments all over the place. I’ve had to go back and clarify my clarifications at both Elenore’s Trousers and Fish Food before…

    I’ll never hold a murky comment against anyone.

  3. I think you’ll be accomplishing a lot of these goals in the next 12-18 months.

    Well, that would be progress. It’s not about how fast I finish them, it’s about finishing the majority or totality of them by 40.

    First, we’ll start with photography. Let’s see if you can master your shutter speed (aperture?) to get rid of blurry leg syndrome. I know a pony who has a birthday this weekend. And I’m still too broken to go by myself.

    Already in the plan! :-)

    We’re continuing our house hunt, I keep looking at project cars or trucks, I don’t know that you need many more tools than the ones we already have (Note: I said WE because I came into this marriage with real tools too!).

    An engine lift, a serious set of manual wrenches and sockets, and I’d like compressed air tools as well.

    Pick one language and we can start learning it (always more fun with someone to practice with).

    Alright, we’ll figure this out soon.

    Why not run a 5k by this fall? There are several here between oh, last month and December.

    Perhaps, we’ve talked a lot of fitness already, so we’ll see where we go with this.

    And hopefully we’ll have Doodle bug this next school year.

    I know. We’ll know more about that soon.

  4. I completed 38 rounds last week.

    Happy Birthday to you too! I like to believe that April is an exceptional month for a Birthday.

    The anticipation of aging was agonizing; the reality of being 38 stinks.

    Oy. Yeah. There’s this thing where on the one hand, I’m WAY down with being older and having more professional gravitas, etc. …And yet on the other hand I don’t like FEELING older. I’m just inconsistent that way I guess.

    But I’m OK… just so long as I continue to be carded, I think I’ll be OK.

    Given that you’d pass for 28 without even trying, I’d say you’re still doing quite well. I imagine you’ll continue to be carded for several more years at a minimum. :-)

    Happy Birthday!

    Thanks! And Happy Birthday to you too!!!

  5. Happy belated birthday, sorry I missed the last couple of posts!

    Thank you! Don’t worry about taking a while to read, I’m slow to post, and you’ve been working! Working > Blogs every time.

    An interesting list. I’m actually impressed that you want to do half the stuff on there (things I know I could never accomplish in my entire life, much less by the time I reach 40, but I’d say you’ve got a much better shot than I).

    I’m not really sure which ones you would think you could never accomplish. It’s not a terribly herculean set of tasks…some of them, especially the publishing ones, are somewhat out of my hands and require more persistence than the rest…but none of them are “climbing K2” or “swim the English Channel.” I’d think they’re all pretty doable for someone interested in the same set of interests that I have.

    Some of them are time consuming, and that is one reason why I feel like I need to start “now.” Languages can be challenging, and I want to learn not just one but two.

    I don’t know what’s on your list to accomplish before your next milestone age, but I bet it would be even more interesting, and I think you have just as much chance of achieving all of your goals as I do, or anyone else for that matter.

  6. Dude, #13 is not outside your grasp. Hellooo?!?! You have at least one chum to pal with at this stuff! Tell you what, next year we’ll meet up at either Comic-Con or Dragon*Con. You pick, I’ll be there.

    This would be cool…set up a big group outing to Dragon*Con. I realize it’s a long way for you to ATL, but you’ve got peeps here that would put you up and drive you around. OS is thinking about busting out the Sewing Machine and producing some SteamPunk outfits…we could dress up and have a real go of it!

  7. I’m DEAD SERIOUS about this for next year…I’d even go the costume route. Don’t think I’m going to forget. :) It’s on.

    Alrighty, Dragon*Con 2012. It’s ON.

  8. Oh, I love how you just volunteer my meager sewing skills! I just mentioned that I should or could as there’s money to be made in cosplay costumes of quality. But, that doesn’t mean I have the skills to do that… yet.

    I meant it more as something to work towards, I didn’t mean to over-volunteer…so my bad there. I’ll help, or you can just smack me and tell me to shut up. :-) …or Both.

    Dragon*Con is when? I have visitors galore this fall, so I have to plan my time. Or, are we talking 2012?

    Looks at calendar…I’m thinking 2012. We’ve got my parents here for the BSU game this year…that’s enough stress for one summer.

  9. I believe it is Labor Day Weekend – we’re looking at 2012 (I think my Con budget is tapped out for this year w/ ICC in July). And I’ve got a sewing machine too…a year + to make a good costume? Hmmm…now the gears in my brain are staring to turn!!

    Yep, Labor Day weekend. I’ve got my parents here this year, so that pretty much eats up my “visitor prep” capacity for one summer.

    Gears are a good mix for Steampunk. We should totally do a group Theme. Something to think about!

  10. Kitty, your parents, my Steph, Ak Pony Girl, and Squirrel Gurl. Oh, and probably Mrs. Mom all here at some point this fall. Plus we have to go to Louisville in November.


    I would both smack you and tell you to shut up and help, but you are currently on the phone working.

    W00t!!! Saved by Phone Calls!

  11. #40: Done.

    I have updated the list accordingly.

    Also, what is it about Fields of Gold? I could listen to that on repeat for hours. Now I want to learn it on guitar, too.

    It’s a good goal. If you do, we can jam together! :-)

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