The Big Birthday Next Year.

So tomorrow, I turn 39, which means I’m entering my 40th year. To honor that and to try to make the most of it, I came up with 40 things I want to do. Here is the list I put together over the last few weeks:

  1. I will take a trip with Mom in honor of our 40 years together.
  2. I will create a 40-minute wind-down routine for my evenings to set myself up for quality sleep.
  3. I will spent 40 minutes each Sunday looking at the week ahead and setting up a game plan for how to make the most of it.
  4. I will do 40 Bikram yoga classes in 40 days.
  5. I will read 40 books that I already own and haven’t yet read.
  6. I will hand write and snail mail 40 letters to 40 different people.
  7. I will ride my bike at least 40 miles 40 times this year.
  8. I will take 40 spin classes. (Yes, I realize this is a lot of cycling, but I’m doing an Ironman in June. I need to log those hours.)
  9. I will watch 40 movies through Netflix – and by this, I mean that I will sit down and watch movies and do nothing else. No multi-tasking.
  10. I will schedule and protect 40 nights where I schedule nothing and allow myself either to be spontaneous or have a quiet night at home.
  11. I will donate 40 pieces of my clothing.
  12. I will give away 40 non-clothing items that I own.
  13. I will donate $40 a month to the Calling the Circle Foundation.
  14. I will write 40 poems.
  15. I will go 40 days without spending money on anything but utilities, gas and groceries.
  16. I will give away 40 books I own.
  17. I will submit 40 queries to magazines.
  18. I will spend 40 hours in state or national parks.
  19. I will read a book about Ronald Reagan, our 40th president.
  20. I will try 40 new recipes.
  21. I will do 40 pushups and 40 crunches a day.
  22. I will send thank you notes to 40 people I don’t know – writers, musicians, artists, people on the street who randomly do nice things, etc.
  23. I will have a drink one-on-one with 40 different friends.
  24. I will go media silent (no Internet, no TV, no cell phone) on 40 days throughout the year.
  25. I will read 40 short stories.
  26. I will try out 40 new coffee shops.
  27. I will visit South Dakota, the 40th state to join the union. (Anyone up for a trip to sort of a random place?)
  28. I will solicit postcards from 40 friends.
  29. I will get rid of 40 items from the various “miscellaneous/junk” drawers in my house.
  30. I will get rid of 40 items from the “miscellaneous/junk” closet in my office.
  31. I will put 40 cents each day into my change cup and buy something fun for myself at the end of the year.
  32. I will make 40 cards, in the fashion of SoulCollage.
  33. I will do a 40 day fast from television.
  34. I will do a 40 day fast from all sweets.
  35. I will start 40 conversations with strangers.
  36. I will make a list of 40 things I like about myself and post it on my bathroom mirror.
  37. I will identify 40 marathons I’d like to run in the coming years.
  38. I will make a list of 40 cities in the United States that I’d like to visit in coming years.
  39. I will make a 40 item bucket list and do one item on it.
  40. I will write a mission statement for myself for the second 40 years of my life.
Exhausting, right? That’s what I thought too. What was I thinking weighing myself down with such a list?
It’s been a hard few months. I’ve felt somewhat alone and without direction. I’ve taken some great trips and done well at work and had a wonderful week celebrating my birthday over dinner with a different friend or two each night this week. (Thank you, friends.)  But this list – I think I was trying to distract myself from the fact that I’m aging and how I alone I feel by giving myself an enormous list of things to do. They’re good things, but I don’t think this list will change anything. It won’t change how I feel. I think only time will.
So here’s to the start of my 40th year. So much could be different a year from now. I look forward to being there and looking back on what time offered in that year.  My fingers are crossed that it’ll be amazing.