*I meant to publish this on my birthday…over a month ago…but with buying a house 2 days after my birthday and all the stuff the comes along with moving, I never quite got around to it. No time like the present, eh?*
I am totally not ashamed to claim my age – to put out there into the world how old I am. I’m not exactly where I want to be, but I’m also not ashamed of what I have accomplished and where I find myself. There may be more grey in my hair (I was looking at it yesterday, and I think I’m probably between 50-75% grey now), and the crow’s feet at the corner’s of my eyes are growing like kudzu, but I don’t really mind so much.
Each year when my birthday rolls around, I like to reflect a bit on where I am and where I want to be. What’s worth it, and what I can let go of. Because of the circumstances of our lives right now, I haven’t had a whole lot of time to do that this year. I do know that life feels like I am on the right path, that despite the hecticness and uncertainty, everything is starting to work the way it is supposed to. I’m feeling a lot of hope right now.
To keep me on track, I thought I’d put together a list of 40 things that I want to accomplish by the time my birthday rolls around next year and Sweet Husband throws me a “Lordy lordy look who’s 40 party.” 40 by 40. I’ll be revisiting this post every couple of months to see where I am, where progress is being made and if there are things that need to be crossed off the list.
- Lose 60 pounds. That is, I think, a reasonable and healthy goal. It works out to be just 5 pounds per month, and that isn’t bad at all.
- Run a 10K. I’ve completed a Couch to 5K program probably 5 times. I’ve even run a 5k a few times. I was super serious about training when I first moved home to Mississippi in 2011 and then the whole incident with the dog happened and I really just quit running at all. I think I’d like to get back to it one more time.
- Read 2 books per month. I’ve really gotten away from reading in the last couple of years – I spend much more time working on/reading blogs that it leaves little time for reading actual books. I’d like to change that.
- Visit 3 National Parks. I’m a huge fan of our National Park System, and it’s been awhile since I’ve been to one, let alone more than that. This might be difficult considering where we live, and if I intend keep this purely to National Parks, discounting monuments, historical sites, battlefields, memorials, etc. If we go to south Florida, which is a wish, then I can easily knock out three- Biscayne, Dry Tortugus, and the Everglades. We could also get Hot Springs if I took a different route home from MO.
- Go on a Girlfriends Getaway. Even if it is just an overnight event. I have some incredible female friends, and it is a shame that I don’t get to see them more often. I’d love to take a trip somewhere – the beach, New Orleans, Mobile, Memphis. Do some shopping, do some drinking, do some eating, do a ton of laughing.
- Go somewhere that requires a passport. Which will require getting a new passport because mine is expired. I got it on a whim when I moved to Mississippi because I wanted to be prepared for whatever might come…and nothing came lol!
- Take a cruise. It’s fairly cheap and reasonable to cruise for 3 days or so out of Mobile or New Orleans. We could easily arrange a weekend get-away.
- Attend a professional baseball game. It’s been way too long since I’ve been to a game. I would prefer that I go see my Royals play somewhere, but it doesn’t really matter who I see…just as long as I go.
- Explore Mobile. It’s a big city that is about an hour from us. I think there’s a whole lot there that we could enjoy.
- Find somewhere to volunteer. I know that my time is limited, particularly if I’m going to still be working in Hattiesburg, but at the same time, I’d like to do something more than I currently am…& I’m not sure yet what I want that to look like.
- Pay off our debt. I’d really like to enter the next decade of my life free of most of my consumer debt – leaving only the car note, the mortgage, and the student loans.
- Create a savings plan. We aren’t getting any younger. I started contributing to an annuity last year, which is great, but we also need more every day savings.
- Have people over on a regular basis for get-togethers. This new house is perfect for entertaining. I really want to actually use it for that.
- Go on regular dates with Sweet Husband. We got out to dinner quite a bit – although that is fixing to change with the new house payment coming – but I’d like to do a regularly scheduled date night.
- Have family pictures taken. The last time we had professional pictures done was at our wedding, which was over 3 years ago. It really is time to do them again.
- Spend a weekend camping. We haven’t been in so long, and I love it. The mountains in the fall are spectacular, and the beach in late spring is awesome. One or the other or both, please.
- Plant a garden. We definitely have the space, and I’d really like to have fresh vegetables available to us.
- Attend a state fair. Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Texas…I don’t care. I want to go to a state fair.
- Ride in a Mardi Gras parade. Because. Why not?
- Experience Mardi Gras in Mobile. It is where Mardi Gras celebrations in the US started. I should go there for a parade…if not Joe Cain Day.
- Finish my tattoo & get “our” tattoo. I’ve needed to finish the tattoo on my leg for the last four? five? years. It’s time. And I need a new one. It’s been too long.
- Send hand-written letters. Every month. I used to do it, and I got away from it. I miss it. I’m going to aim for 2 per month.
- Attend a writing retreat. I miss being around the energy that a group of like-minded people possess. Our local writing project site used to host a fall writing retreat each year, but I haven’t heard of anything like that happening in quite awhile. I might contact them and see about organizing one.
- Have a hand-made Christmas. I’ve been thinking and talking about this for a long time. I just never get myself organized in time to make it happen. It’s almost August. Surely I can pull it together if I start working now.
- Master the Amy Butler Weekender bag. Have you seen this thing? The Sner and I started it a couple of years ago but didn’t finish it. To put it plainly – it is a BITCH. A beautiful, highly functional and useful bitch. I am determined that I am going to do it. With my grandSner’s old sewing machine. It’s going to get done. Dammit.
- Learn how to use PhotoShop. This one has been on my list for awhile. While I enjoy using Lightroom & Canva usually has my needs covered in terms of graphics creation, I’d really like to see if the more powerful PS is what I want and/or need in my life.
- Begin selling my photos. I have been thinking for a long while about setting up a Crated shop, and I’ve been thinking about an etsy shop. I feel like now is the time to start getting serious about things.
- Take myself on an Artist Date once a month. I feel like I could use that creativity boost.
- Attend local photography club meet-ups once a month. I’m always energized when I participate with others who are using their skills to create wonderful images.
- Start the Marriage Series I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I’ve been wanting to do a series about marriage on the blog for a really long time; I just have never done it. I want to get that kicked off this year.
- Submit a piece of writing for publication. Photography has really become my thing here on the blog, but I don’t want to leave the joy of writing behind…and I’d really like to take it to the next level.
- Create my space in the office. There are things I need in there – some shelves on the wall…for electrical equipment like the printers and such. I need a daybed – a place to lounge when the feel takes me or for people to sleep when they come to visit. I’d like to get some art on the walls. Just really make it mine rather than putting my things in it.
- Design a landscaping plan for the house. As much as I like digging in the dirt, I really want to be thoughtful about what we do here at the new house. I want to plan it out – aspects of privacy, aspects of beauty, aspects of functionality.
- Continue my See Mississippi series. I haven’t made it much past the places that are here and close, but I’d like to take road trips to get to the other parts of the state to photograph those interesting places.
- Invest in a good prime lens. I think it’s a next step type-thing, and I think I’m ready.
- Join a writing group. I don’t even know how to begin this process, but I think I really need to. I want to. I crave that connection and support.
- Finish the shawl I’m working on. I was in a groove, but I haven’t been in a really long time. And while it might be pushing it, I really want to get into a bit more intricate crochet, which is, I know…pushing it.
- Visit all of the museums here on the Coast. There are some great ones that I haven’t made it to, which is a shame. I think I should have been there long before now.
- Determine an offering for the blog. I feel like there is something more that I want to do, but I haven’t hit on exactly what it is, but I can feel it sorta taking shape. I’m beginning to get an idea of where I want to head in terms of the blog. It’s just trying to get all of the pieces together and coherent.
- Furnish the house. There are a ton of things I want to do here, spaces that things, things that we have that need a bit of revamping and changing. I’ve got a living room suite in the garage that is just waiting. Part of it is primed, the rest needs it and it all needs paint. I’m ready to get it done.
These lists are a bit more difficult to come up with than I thought when I started it. But. I’m excited about what this next year is going to bring. I’ve got 11 months to get to work and make some real differences here. I can’t wait!