Happy birthday to me! Even though I’m coming to terms about hitting the middle of my thirties, I look forward to my birthday each year because I get to make a new list of goals. I love that people start asking me in December or so what’s coming up on my next list. Without your input I couldn’t stay accountable (yes, yes, I do have a spreadsheet that also keeps me accountable).
Maybe it’s my old age or because this is my fifth such list, but I’ve hopefully honed it so it’s more attainable than ever this year, even though the 34 by 35 didn’t go so badly. I also am including brief explanations below so you can get a sense of why this seemingly random thing is on there.
- Visit Alaska.
I’ll check state #50 off my list this year. Trip is already in the works for June and the summer solstice.
- Go to Burning Man.
I am so stoked to return to the playa with the Decadent Oasis crew. I know my campmates much better, I know what I’m getting myself into, and most importantly I don’t know what kind of experience I’ll have on my second time. Can’t wait.
- Bike in 15 different cities.
My favorite way to get around when I travel.
- Do yoga for 15 days in a row.
Over the past few years, a regular yoga practice has become the norm for me. However, two solid weeks of yoga? That’ll be new. Looking forward to trying it out.
- Do 15 San Francisco stairway walks.
Getting back to the book I set aside during year 34. Can’t wait to explore my city some more!
- Visit 15 different State or National Parks.
There’s so much to see in California alone, and I want to take advantage of it.
- Go on 15 hikes.
Shouldn’t be a problem tying this in with the one above. Looking forward to hiking now that training runs are behind me.
- Create 15 YouTube videos.
I want to challenge myself to do something outside my typical creative comfort zone. I have NO idea what this is going to look like, but I guess we’ll find out.
- Read 15 notable books (award-winners, bestsellers) from the past 35 years (that I’ve not previously read).
While I’ve been good about contemporary lit in recent years, I know there’s books published in my lifetime that I’ve overlooked. Time to change that. Suggestions welcome.
- Reread 15 books.
I’m constantly recommending books I love, but some of them I haven’t read in forever. Inspired by one of my favorite 2014 books, My Salinger Year, for both of my reading goals. The author had never read Catcher when she got her job in publishing and then began to read it annually.
- See 15 bands I’ve never seen before.
Always trying to expose myself to new music.
- Resee 15 bands.
I used to skip acts I’d already seen before, but that can be a real shame. And with bands from “my generation” (God, I’m old) coming back from hiatus this year, it’s time to check out their evolution. Already have tickets for Patti Smith, The Decemberists and Sleater-Kinney. Can’t wait.
- Visit 15 different San Francisco Parks.
I’m so lucky to live sandwiched between Buena Vista Park, The Panhandle and Golden Gate Park, and just a quick walk from the iconic Alamo Square, but I need to explore more of our city’s greenspaces. This is a measurable way to do so.
- Learn about/travel to 15 Bay Area towns.
The other day, perhaps a little tipsy, I declared “fuck any ‘San’ that’s not ‘Francisco.'” Ok, that’s a little harsh. While I am not a fan of suburbs full of big box stores and strip malls, I do realize there are some adorable little main street communities in the surrounding hills and vales. I want to learn a little about each and travel to them, if possible. Again, suggestions welcome!
- Visit 15 breweries.
Easier to get to those suburbs if there’s an incentive. Can you believe I haven’t been to any of the North Bay breweries? And only a couple in the city. I think that’s all gonna have to change. Plus, who doesn’t love a beer tour when traveling?
- Attend 15 separate performances or lectures.
I love that any night of the week I could see a play or an author or a dance troupe. I need to take advantage of this cultural cornucopia more this year.
- See 15 visual arts exhibitions.
A variation of a 34 goal that I really enjoyed. Fun to do in my own town or while on the road.
- Learn about 15 typographers and their works.
A professional goal for this year. Though I’m not dealing with typefaces in my day-to-day, my company does sell typography-based design and technology solutions and I’d be remiss to not know more historical and contemporary type people. Planning to approach this “book report” style and again, suggestions welcome!
- Abstain from alcohol for 15 consecutive days.
As I proved last year, setting aside a week each month can get difficult, and a whole month, honestly, is unrealistic. But I figure I can schedule out a two week period without any imbibing. Hopefully.
- Publish 15 blog posts about travel.
I traveled so much in the last year, kept so many little journals, and only posted a smattering of my experiences. I want this to change. Whether it’s about new trips or reflecting on old, I want to share some of those stories beyond coffee-stained, tattered pages.
- Publish 15 blog posts about food.
This shouldn’t be too difficult, since I began writing them again in 2014.
- Publish 15 blog posts about art (music, film, visual/performing arts, etc.).
Added this one as a way to keep me accountable on some of those other goals. Sneaky.
- Go on 15 set up dates.
This will definitely be the most interactive goal for my friends this year. I’m swearing off online dating and taking things old school with the set up/blind date. Whether it’s inviting us both to happy hour/dinner party or the actual transference of contact information for an unchaperoned meet up, I’m down. I need the practice and I’m sure you’ve got a single friend (and if they’re open-minded enough to participate in this little experiment, they’ve already passed criteria uno). Anyway, let’s do this hive-mind!
- Go to 15 events at 18 Reasons.
I missed going regularly last year and truly love this community. Plus, they have lectures and it could be a good place for a date. Multiple birds, one stone.
- Go to 35 classes at the gym.
One of my better decisions in 2014 was to join the new Fitness SF across from our office. I go in spurts of getting to classes though and feel it’s a good way to mix up my routine. If I hold myself accountable I not only get my money’s worth out of my monthly contract, but health benefits too.
- Send mail to 35 different people.
A twist on my previous goal, this one means sending more mail, since it won’t be 25 care packages to my nephaux and 10 random postcards.
- Run exactly 35 miles each month, no more, no less.
Running took up so much of my 34th year (and I have the 525 annual mileage PR to prove it) that I want to reel it in a bit and do more “other” fitness activities. That said, I don’t want to quit all together. I’m consciously not doing any long races this year, but want to keep my mileage consistent. I figured this may be a good approach.
- See 35 films in the theater.
I don’t mind binge-watching television at home, but I love the experience of seeing films in the theater. Not being picky about which movies or which cinemas, just want to get out there and see more.
- Reduce my debt load by 35%.
While I accepted that I won’t be debt free by the end of this year, I can continue to work toward reduction. I obviously need to fund my other goals though, so I’m conservatively estimating a 35% reduction.
- Increase my savings by 35%.
I finally started a savings account back up again last year (in addition to my retirement safeguards, etc.) and need to keep building it.
- Walk to work 35 times.
As a board member of Walk San Francisco, I clearly value my pedestrian status. That said, biking is the fastest way for me to get in each morning. Walking to work will help me approach my day a little differently and first-hand experience the good, the bad and the ugly of San Francisco streets.
- Learn and photograph 35 endemic California flora and fauna.
Shout out to my friend Matt B. for suggesting this on Facebook. What a cool goal! And something to do when I’m in those parks. I never set anything “science-y” so this is a fun one to tackle.
- Eat 35 different ethnic dishes.
This is a combination of suggestions from Dave P. and Brooke. I don’t want to be restaurant exclusive since I do love to cook, but this will challenge me to try things at home and while out. Plus I have some friends who are damn good cooks in their own rights. Let’s eat!
- Learn 35 words in German.
Another professional-related goal. My subteam is all German and while their English is excellent, I want to be able to have some basic conversation skills, or at least vocabulary.
- Talk to 15 different friends on the phone for 35 minutes.
Finally, a thanks to my college friend Michelle for coming up with a variation of this. Another “taking it old school” goal, but who has phone conversations anymore? Why not? And the time frame forces a bit more than small talk too. This one could be fun!
There you have it. The ambitious gauntlet for 35 is thrown. Who’s going to help me out? I (quite literally) cannot do all of these alone.