36 by 37: “C” You later

Oh, hello. Remember me, that lady who writes birthday goals every year? Before I publish my new ones, let me reflect on what I did while being 36. I haven’t written much about it here, but as you can probably guess, the fact that 36 coincided with 2016 made it an especially challenging year to accomplish things. When the world is spiraling out of control, who has time to go to sporting events?

Still, I’m a Capricorn to the fullest and I’ll never let you (or myself down). As I mentioned in July, I graded myself differently this year, and it turns out that system landed me at 75% or a solid “C”. I 100% completed (sometimes above and beyond) 17 of my 36 goals, so even by that metric, I did better than last year.

Doing the categories was fun and while I’ll be diverging from that system for 37 (got to mix it back up, yo), it was a nice way to refocus and try some new things. Here’s how I did by category:




Complete at least six modules of six languages in Duolingo.
I can’t rave enough about Duolingo. Although I really did more of a “sampler” style with this goal, it was fascinating to see patterns emerge across languages. Most are Western, but it was nice to cram Vietnamese in at the end.

  • German
  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • French
  • Vietnamese
  • Dutch

Attend six different ethnic cooking classes or special dinners.
Was happy to split this one up quite deliciously between traveling and classes.

Read six books by authors from six different non-US countries.
I can’t think of  a more important time to read about global perspectives.

See six films from six different non-US countries.
Ditto for seeing global films.


Visit six countries.
Life threw me several curveballs after I declared my intentions. I also was too sick, busy, then later, hungover, to go to Mexico when I was in San Diego. Many people don’t make it to three foreign countries in a lifetime, nevermind a year, so I’m not bummed about getting passport stamps from Vietnam, Cambodia & China this year.

Swim in six different bodies of water.
Despite being walking distance from two large bodies of water, I didn’t make the effort to swim in either of them (brrr though). I did swim in the South China East Sea, Russian River, and Atlantic Ocean, so again, no complaints!




See films at six different theaters.
I definitely blew this out of the water, despite Alamo Drafthouse New Mission emerging as a new favorite spot for me in general. Saw more films than this during 36, but here’s the first at each spot:

Special shoutout to #7 – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off during Ferris Fest at the John & Nancy Hughes Theater in Lake Forest, Illinois (a very strange experience that I never quite wrote about). My other favorite screening of the year was probably a memorial showing of Purple Rain at The Castro.

See concerts at six different venues.
Despite only seeing a measly amount of concerts this year, I did manage to keep my venues diverse. As above, listing the first at each spot.

I also made it to Golden Gate Park (Hardly Strictly Bluegrass), Great American Music Hall, and Regency Ballroom for proper shows this year.

Read six books by entertainers.
Sadly it took the tragic death of Carrie Fisher to light a fire to finish this challenge, but hey, it got done. Here’s the list:

Go on six dates.
Maybe it was a self-fulfilling prophecy from my first post but it still stands that “Dating is the worst.” I got the six out of the way quite quickly, mostly from the app world, a couple from real life. Here’s a vague summary of the first six:

  • Totally hit it off, until he got fresh at the end of the date.
  • Super nice, super young, really excited about his logistics start up.
  • No chemistry and later ended up dating a friend of mine that he also met through the app route.
  • I should’ve run when he showed up in a mock turtleneck. But I was trying to be less judgy.
  • We probably could’ve been friends had we not met on a dating site. Ah well.
  • Made Born Again Teen the most-played song in my Spotify and then totally ghosted.


Participate in six performances.
As a Hail Mary, I joined the requested dance party on stage at the end of Misfit Cabaret‘s Christmas Show, to get one point in this category.

Host six dinner parties for six.
While I did have two small gatherings, I never actually hosted a dinner party. I learned there are way too many logistics involved to have five people formally over.




Visit six historic sites within San Francisco
This was my worst category and this is the only one I finished.


Go to six historical society events.
While I did register for more than six events, scheduling on both ends meant only hitting 50% here.

Read six books about historical figures.
As I predicted, I did finish Team of Rivals. I also read the excellent Blood Brothers about the friendship between Malcolm X and Muhammed Ali. And that’s it.

Interview six family members.
I don’t think I can write more without breaking down, but I’m very grateful that the one family member I talked to in-depth this year was my now-late Grandma. We spent a night with wine and notepad when I visited her in August. I wish I’d asked more.

Write six chapters of a memoir.

I drafted one little piece about travel. There’s so much more. Can I just export my Facebook posts? I don’t really want them on there anyway.

Watch six documentaries about historical events.
Opting for the Netflix bingehole this year, I only watched one and it was in the theater – Here Come the Videofreex  about the early days of citizen reporting.




Visit six visual art exhibitions at six different museums or galleries.
Finally a category where I was five for six. It’s no secret that I adore the arts, so I was happy to tackle these goals. Supporting independent art is going to be critical in the coming years, so sign me up. Here are the first six exhibitions I attended:

Attend six performing arts events by six different companies.
Another where I was happy to oblige.

Read six novels published in 2016.
For accounting purposes, I counted translations published in 2016. I also really should’ve said “books” here, since I ended up reading quite a few excellent non-fiction tomes published this year. Ah well.

Take six arts/crafts classes/workshops.
Pushed myself to get this one done and thanks to the friends who indulged me. Could never really top the neon M though.

Attend six author talks.
This was probably the one in this category I worked actively to complete. And really glad I did. I’d actually hoped to make it to more of Litquake this year, but unfortunately 2016 got in the way.


Write six short stories of six pages or more.
ZERO EFFORT. In a year where so much happened, I didn’t write barely at all.



Visit six science museums/nature centers.
A huge shout out to Amber for coming to NightLife with me last week so I could check this one off. Especially since this was another weak category for me. Here’s where I went:


Tent camp in six different locations.
Got a couple lovely trips in during my brief funemployment stint, but then lost momentum. Still, four different camping experiences with friends were a wonderful part of 2016 at Angel IslandSteep Ravine, the weirdest campground in Russian River, and , of course, Burning Man.

Take six hikes of at least six miles each.
When you spend six weeks of the year nursing a broken toe, then fail at lining up regular hiking buddies, it’s a little hard to tackle this like you’d planned. I did do lots of shorter hikes, but the six milers plus alluded me. With the exception of the Bolinas Ridge Trail, I ended up achieving mega-distance, on two urban hikes – the Manhattan Tip-to-Tip (really need to write about this) and Rogue Peak2Peak (in the pouring rain). I also did the Presidio Immersion Trail during my summer break, a lovely and very wild hike here in the city.

Kayak six times.
Another goal that started strong and then was thwarted by 2016 factors (including my broken thumb). Enjoyed doing this three times with strangers, friends and colleagues at Ha Long BayTomales Bay Bioluminescence Tour (DO THIS! It is seriously so freaking cool) and Elliott Bay.

Read six science/nature books.
Unfortunately this fell by the wayside, I think the only two I can count are Girls and Sex by Peggy Orenstein and The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan

Attend six science/nature lectures.
Another one I failed at that I really wish I’d been able to follow through with. There was definitely a strong science lecture element to my bioluminesce tour and I made it to one formal lecture – The Science of Bicycles at Shinola with their kickass lead bike designer, Sky Yaeger, and a scientist from The Exploratorium.




Attend six yoga workshops/retreats.
There was no doubt I’d complete this one. In fact, I went above and beyond.Yoga is still very much the shining example of one of my _ by _ goals becoming a part of my lifestyle. Grateful to have discovered offerings at The Center, which has been a great compliment to my regular practice at Yoga Garden. Here are the first six workshops/retreats I took:

Participate in six organized runs.
With the injuries and scheduling madness of this year, I had to cancel not just one, but TWO half marathons. I burned out on running again, but this time am diligently offsetting it with gym activities. I still managed to do two halves and four smaller organized runs…barely! Thanks to Amber for doing quite a few with me and my other friends for cheering me on, as always.


Go to the gym six times each month.
I am actually not sure that I didn’t complete this. I know there are definitely times where Fitness SF‘s system didn’t count me. But it’s late and I’m not double-checking. I’m at 67/72 visits. Close enough. And should be more now that I have a couple of friends who are into having gym dates!

Go to six different spas/hot springs.
Really failed at the hot springs aspect, but went to four different spas, including my monthly massage at In-Symmetry, a habit I started when I ran the marathon a few years ago.

Attend six sporting events.
Probably the least amount of sports I’ve attended in years. I only made it to one Giants game and I left early.

Read six sports-themed books.
I read the aforementioned Blood Brothers and failed at picking up another sports book.

Considering multiple deaths, broken bones and a devastating political environment, I guess it’s not a terrible 75%.

About Meghan A.

creative & professional creative professional | communications, content & community | nasty woman | adventurer & inspiration seeker | bicyclist & feminist | walk san francisco board | current: Adobe Typekit Product Marketing Manager, former: TYPO SF magic maker
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