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.
Attend six different ethnic cooking classes or special dinners.
Was happy to split this one up quite deliciously between traveling and classes.
- Cuisine Wat Damnak Tasting Menu
- Saigon Street Foodie Tour
- 18 Reasons
- Member Dinner featuring a Palestinian spread prepared by Bi-Rite’s Sam and Samir Mogannam
- Italian Street Breads Class
- Malaysian Pop Up Dinner
- Cookies from Around the World Class
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.
- We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria)
- Adios, Cowboy by Olja Savičević Ivančević (Croatia)
- Dumb Luck by Vũ Trọng Phụng (Vietnam)
- The Vegetarian by Han Kang (South Korea)
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (born Ghana)
- NW by Zadie Smith (UK)
See six films from six different non-US countries.
Ditto for seeing global films.
- A Girl In the River: The Price of Forgiveness (Pakistan)
- What We Do In The Shadows (New Zealand)
- Assassination Classroom (Japan)
- Granny’s Dancing on the Table (Sweden)
- As I Open My Eyes (Tunisia)
- The Lobster (Ireland)
IN ORDER OF EFFORT
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:
- The Revenant (Alamo Drafthouse)
- Pretty in Pink (AMC Van Ness)
- Room (The Clay)
- Spotlight (Embarcadero)
- Here Come the Videofreex (Roxie)
- Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World (Castro)
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.
- Annie Bacon & Her Oshen (Amnesia)
- Infamous Stringdusters with Nicki Bluhm (The Fillmore)
- Waxahatchee (The Chapel )
- The Cure (Madison Square Garden )
- Annie Bacon & Her Oshen (Bottom of the Hill)
- Jane’s Addiction (The Masonic)
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:
- M Train by Patti Smith
- Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon
- The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
- Modern Romance by Aziz Anzari
- Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
- Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
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.
IN ORDER OF EFFORT
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.
- Hyde Street Pier
- El Polin Spring in the Presidio
- Coit Tower
- Fairmont Hotel
- Portsmouth Square
- Cable Car
IN ORDER OF EFFORT
Go to six historical society events.
While I did register for more than six events, scheduling on both ends meant only hitting 50% here.
- Barbary Coast Trail Pt II (San Francisco Historical Society)
- Billy X Jennings Black Panther talk at Tenderloin Museum (California Historical Society)
- Barbary Coast Walk III (SFHS)
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.
ARTS & LITERATURE
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:
- Looking East: How Japan Inspired Monet, Van Gogh, and Other Western Artists at Asian Art Museum
- Luke Butler, Afterimage at Jessica Silverman Gallery
- Vision Not Victim at Rayko Photo Center
- Neon Robot Iceberg at Fort Mason
- Farmers Got Power at GalerieQuynh in Ho Chi Minh City on the incredible Sophie’s Art Tour
- Typeface to Interface at SFMOMA
Attend six performing arts events by six different companies.
Another where I was happy to oblige.
- Endgames Improv at Stage Werx Theatre
- SF Ballet‘s 2016 Program 1 at War Memorial Opera House
- Star Star Roadhouse‘s Stardust at Burning Man
- Company C‘s Arcane at Cowell Theater
- Circus Automatic‘s Into the Mouth of the Wolf at Great Star Theater
- SF Opera‘s Madame Butterfly at War Memorial Opera House (shoutout to the Bacon-Mulders for family members landing in two of my categories!)
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.
- Adios, Cowboy by Olja Savičević Ivančević
- All The Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
- The Vegetarian by Han Kang
- The Conjured Woman by Anne Gross
- Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
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.
- Type Camp Neon with Shawna Peterson
- Impossible Project Emulsion Lift Drop-In Workshop at Rare Device
- Intro to Silverpoint Workshop at Root Division
- Workshop SF‘s Drink Anchor & Make Stuff at Makeout Room
- Gingerbread House Night at 18 Reasons
- Typekit Teambuilding Screen Printing at Grease Diner
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.
- Rebecca Traister at JCCSF
- Valerie Lester at Type@Cooper West Lecture Series at SFPL
- Anne Gross at Speakeasy Brewing (and bonus at my book club)
- Litquake: Straight No Chaser, Writers at the Bar at Vesuvio
- Litquake: Who’s Laughing Now? A Night of Funny Females at Doc’s Lab
- Jessi Klein at JCCSF
IN ORDER OF EFFORT
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.
SCIENCE & NATURE
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:
- Chicago Botanic Gardens
- Rotary Nature Center at Lake Merritt
- Muir Woods
- SF Botanical Garden
- Tryon State Park Nature Center
- California Academy of Science
IN ORDER OF EFFORT
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 Island, Steep 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 Bay, Tomales Bay Bioluminescence Tour (DO THIS! It is seriously so freaking cool) and Elliott Bay.
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.
SPORTS & LEISURE
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:
- Hearts, Hips & Relationships workshop with Jean Mazzei at Yoga Garden
- Coming Home Retreat with Karen Macklin at Green Gulch Zen Center
- Radical Self Love Valentine’s Workshop with Autumn Feldmeier at Tantara
- Yoga for Cyclists workshop with Dustin McAllister at Yoga Garden
- Mayan Awakening: Cacao, Fire and Yoga Ceremony with Monica Graves at The Center
- Yoga for Grief Workshop: A Special Holiday Gathering to Honor Loss with Li Yin at The Center
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.
- SF Half Marathon
- Bird Dog Run (a wonderful part of my friend Steph’s wedding)
- Bridge to Bridge
- PDX Half Marathon (plus)
- City Beer Run at Bare Bottle Brewing
- Thanksgiving Day 5k
IN ORDER OF EFFORT
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%.