In early fall 2014, I was looking at my “goals” for the year and lamenting the fact that I would fail to meet most of them. I thought to myself, “Why didn’t I put some attainable/bucket list things on the list, like seeing more sites near where I live or taking an adult swimming lesson?” Something made me think of my friend Jen, who had done a bunch of “30 before 30″ things leading up to her 30th birthday. She got a tattoo, pierced her nose, etc — things that were attainable. My 2014 goal list had included things like “run 1,500 miles,” which I couldn’t do because I was injured.
So I opened the notes app on my phone and typed, “See Alcatraz at night.” Then: “Invest in the stock market.” And the third one was: “Take a swimming lesson.” They’re things I can actually do, and things I want to do (well, I dread the swimming one a bit, but it would be good for me). Then I got the idea to start this adventure in February, and I named the note “Three Dozen Things.”
Over the next few months, I kept adding to the list. I deleted and edited lines — “make kale chips” became “try three dozen new recipes,” which I later limited to “dinner recipes.” As weeks and months rolled by, my list lingered around 20 items and I began to think I was being too ambitious and should just scrap the whole thing. Then I came across a pre-Christmas sale that just so happened to be part of an item on my list: “Subscribe to Outside magazine and read every issue for a year.” The first issue would arrive right around the time my list would officially start. One minute and $10 later, I had committed to it.
And so, for the first time since I unlinked and revamped most of my website more than four years ago, I made a change. The new section, 36 Things, is right there in plain sight for all to see. Every line is waiting to see if I can accomplish it.
Because it’s always fun to look back and see how ridiculous I was, here are a few predictions as of February 2015. I suspect the hardest item on the list will be “Kick my snooze button habit.” I think “Try three dozen new dinner recipes” will make me curse when I realize an egg scramble and stir fry don’t count (since they’re not new), and “Cook a turkey” may involve the fire department. Either the turkey or “Eat in a nice restaurant by myself” will be the most awkward. “Knit a scarf” will probably invoke memories of childhood frustration. At some point, I’ll probably have to spend a chunk of time reading several back issues of Outside magazine all at once in order to catch up. The same will hopefully not be true with losing 15 pounds, or else I’ll be on a water-only diet next January. The century bike ride will hopefully be a little redemption from all of 2014’s unfinished business, the piano song memorization will probably be a struggle, and blood donation may ultimately wind up being the most meaningful — and 14 years overdue.
At any rate, here goes the adventure. As friends said last weekend when I told them about it, I might very well be insane.