Tomorrow is my birthday! I turn 36. Which means there are 4 years to go until I’m 40. I’m not particularly bothered about getting older, but I did think this would be a good time to take stock of things and set myself some goals for the next 4 years, and try and achieve some of the things I’ve been putting off. I came up with the following list, which, being me, I broke up into sections. I’m amazed I managed not to colour code it!
1 Write a book. I’ve had several attempts at this (usually as part of NaNoWriMo) and never ended up with anything I felt was worth putting any more effort in to finishing. I think I have it in me… and I definitely do have some ideas that seem good… I just need to crack on and do it, but do it properly with a bit more planning than my NaNo attempts have had!
2 Read 1000 books. That’s 1000 in total, not 1000 over the next few years. Goodreads thinks I have read a little over 700, so 300 in 4 years seems reasonable.
3 Read a non-English book in its original language. I speak reasonable French, some German and a smattering of Italian. It’s therefore probably going to be French!
4 Still be Writing this Blog. I’m really bad at blogging. I do it for a bit then I give up on it. I feel like I’m on a roll this time so I’m hoping to still be doing this in 4 years’ time.
5 Read a Book in 1 Sitting. Before I became a parent, I could read for hours. These days that’s harder to do, but not impossible. I want to make time to read a book and be so engrossed in it that I lose track of time and don’t stop until I’m finished.
6 Run 5k in less than 25 minutes. Not an overly ambitious time… I started running just over a year ago, and once I got to 5k, started decreasing my time. I’m at about 27 minutes so this ought to be achievable.
7 Run 10k in less than an hour. I’m hoping this one will be super easy as I can do it in 1hour 1 minute 12 seconds. I can get pretty close to the hour but have never cracked it.
8 Run a half marathon. Feels like the next thing to aim for as I can run 10k quite happily when I’ve been training enough. I originally just had “run a marathon” but that feels like a big leap so I’m adding a half as a separate challenge.
9 Run a marathon. As a runner this feels like something I want to be able to say I’ve done. I can’t imagine doing it regularly but to be able to say I did it once in my life would be amazing.
10 Reach my ideal weight. It’s taken me a long time to lose most of my baby weight after having Little Bean. I’ve got another 6 or 7kg to go and then I should be at my ideal weight for my height and age (63kg). Which is about what I weighed before I was pregnant.
11 Complete the 100 burpee challenge. I hate burpees. So I’m going to make myself do lots of them to see if I can learn to, if not love them, hate them slightly less!
12 Be able to pull myself up. My upper body has never been strong. Pullups, pushups, rope climbs… I’ve always struggled. I’d like to be able to do one pull up. Just one!
Big Grown Up Stuff
13 Own My Own House. With Beardy Man, that is. We’ve always rented and I’ve had enough of things like landlords wanting their houses back, landlords not repairing things, not being allowed to decorate etc. We’re saving and I think it should be do-able in the next 4 years.
14 Be completely debt free. I don’t think I can do both this and own a house, as the house will need a mortgage… I see it as do this and then buy the house. I don’t have massive debts, but I am paying off a car loan. I cleared my student loan last year and that felt so good… the loan should be gone in a couple of years.
15 Upload and Organise all my Photos. I have so many digital photos, and most of them are sat on memory cards or USB sticks. I really want to upload them all to proper storage. And organise them – just mass storage isn’t enough!
16 Adopt a Kitty. We had a beautiful cat, Lyra, who we adopted from a cat rescue and was with us for over a decade. Sadly she died a few months ago. We’re still sad about Lyra, but we’re about ready to look for a new kitty. I’ve suggested maybe a couple of kitties. Beardy Man rolled his eyes a bit but he didn’t say no…
17 Visit 5 countries I haven’t before. Before Little Bean was born we were both working a lot, and didn’t travel anything like as much as we wanted to. Then we became parents and found travel really hard. As she’s getting older, travel is getting easier and we’re taking her to some amazing places. I think 5 new countries in the next 4 years is do-able.
18 Cross the Equator. I’ve got pretty close to the Southern Hemisphere – we went to Sri Lanka a while back, which is only a few degrees above the equator – but never got there. Haven’t decided where we’ll go yet!
19 Visit the New Zealanders. This is the one I’m least sure we can achieve, just because of the cost. Both Beardy Man and I have family in New Zealand and I’d love to go and visit them all.
20 Find 250 Geocaches. Geocaching is something I started doing with Little Bean a couple of years ago. It’s fun, but we’re a bit rubbish at remembering to go and do it. We have found about 120 of them. I’d like to about double this.
21 Make and Install a Yarnbomb. So, I have kind of done this already – a few years ago my friend Kathryn did a yarn bomb and I made a few bits and helped attach them. It was cool, and fun, but it was quite minimal, and I want to do a really “wow” one. The ones that cover whole trees or benches etc.
22 Finish my Patchwork Quilt. I saved a lot of Little Bean’s baby clothes with the intention of making a patchwork quilt from them. I’ve started. But it’s a long way from being finished.
23 Learn to Decorate Cakes. I love baking, but I’m rubbish at decorating my efforts. Slapping buttercream and sprinkles on is about as far as I go. I’m thinking I might sign up to an evening course for this, but have never got round to doing it. So it’s on the list.
24 Learn to Use my Camera. I have a good digital camera. A proper one. But I don’t use all the fancy bits, I generally go with the automatic setting and let it do it for me. I want to learn how to actually make the most of all those fancy settings.
25 Have one Christmas where all my gifts are Handmade. By me. I really dislike running about trying to find gifts in shops before Christmas. Sometimes you get nice things, often it’s really hard and I end up giving things I’m not happy about. So I’d like to try making gifts for people instead.
26 Go Wine Tasting. I like a glass of wine, but I don’t really know much about it. I’d like to go on a proper wine tasting and learn more about it generally.
27 Learn to Dive (number 1). This is embarrassing but I can’t dive into a pool. I love swimming but always either jump in or use the steps. I just freak out when I try and dive in. And usually end up smacking my chest on the water. I really want to be able to do this.
28 Learn to Dive (number 2). I’ve been looking at PADI diving qualifications as I like snorkeling and have scuba dived a couple of times and enjoyed it. It feels a like a good step to get qualified.
29 Take Little Bean Stargazing. She loves looking at the stars but we live in a city so don’t see many. Next time we go camping somewhere with less light pollution, I want to be prepared with e.g. star maps so we can talk about what we’re looking at.
30 Spend a Day Volunteering for a Good Cause. I haven’t decided what this is going to be yet but there’s no shortage of options. I’d like to involve Little Bean in this with me.
31 Watch all of IMDB’s Top 250 Films. Beardy Man is regularly horrified that I haven’t seen really famous films. This looks like a good list to work through to rectify that. In my defense, I have seen lots of obscure sci-fi ones!
32 Do Something Awesome for my 40th Birthday. Not sure what this is going to be… probably not a big party as I’m not really a big party kind of person. Something memorable, and fun, with Beardy Man and Little Bean and maybe some close friends.
33 Learn to make Fresh Pasta. Just something I always wanted to do but never have.
34 Learn Arabic. I do a lot of work with GCC natives who speak Arabic as their first language. I’d love to be able to say more than “Salaam Aleikum” to them – and I’m sure they would help me if I said I was learning.
35 Grow my Hair Long. OK so not really a skill, other than mastering my patience! I used to have long hair and about a year ago cut it short. I’m now growing it out (it’s about ear length) as I really miss my long hair.
36 Research my Family Tree. Not really a skill either but I wasn’t sure where else to put it! We have Beardy Man’s family tree, and I’d like to do mine and find out more about where I came from.
You’ll notice that isn’t 40. I’ve left a few spare spaces, as I’ve no doubt that new things will occur me over the first few years of this challenge; I’ll add them to the list. I also haven’t added anything like “finish Gilmore Girls reading challenge”. There are over 300 books in the challenge… and while I want to read about 300 books, I don’t just want to read books on the list! So I’ve left that one off.