A look at 39 things

So, I am a week away from turning 40 and thought it was a perfect time to take a look at this year’s birthday list: 39 things to do before turning 40.

Here’s what’s been done:


Create a personal vision board.


Create a professional vision board.

Take my birthday off.

Try 12 new recipes.  Not hard, but a good way to insure dish diversity early on in the year.


Redo Happy’s Bedroom.  Happy’s got a big boy room complete with these great masks on the wall and lovely bedding that features these three animals, too.

Get a hot stone massage.  Hot stone massage?  Totally my nirvana.

 Get a facial.

 Try 6 new Charlotte restaurants.  Such a fun challenge– totally encouraged me to try new places.  My three favorite of these new places (and I tried about 8 or 9): Halcyon, Good Food on Montford, and Vivace.  Yums all around.

Go sugar free for 10 days.DSCN3994

Start the You Are Special plate tradition.

 Paddle board. You might recall that I took a Paddle Board fitness class this summer.  Perfect way to end a summer night.

Hear live music.  The Indigo Girls and the Charlotte Symphony.  Also, Japanese drumming.

Remember birthdays.  Sending cards, texts, emails, and gifts makes me happy.

Go to a musical or play.  A dear friend is a Charlotte actor and producer and I had the chance to see her this spring in one of her shows.

Hear an author speak.  Yes!  The lovely, funny, smart, inspiring Anne Lamott.  Good stuff.

Take a cooking lesson.  With the crazy talented Nikki Moore of Food Love. So delish.

Write a new book proposal.  Yep. Sent to the publishers.  Fingers, legs, eyes currently crossed.

Raise $1,000 for Circle de Luz through Run Big Dream Big IV.  Yes- thanks to so many generous people!

 Help recruit at least 60 new m’ijas for the newest Circle de Luz class.  Yep– 67 to be exact!


See college roommates.  They both came to see me for a weekend.  Oh, the laughs.


Do something from Pinterest.    24 books leading up to Christmas.  Such a fun activity (made affordable by shopping through Scholastic Book Club).

Eat from a food truck.  A breakfast crepe!  So delicious!

Here is what is in process and should be done:

Read 30 books for pleasure.  ~ 2 books to go and I am reading one and listening to the other.

Finish cleaning out attic.  In process and a fair chance that we’ll get very close to done if not done.

Write and mail 39 thank you letters.  Writing a couple every day.  They give me the happies.

Complete 39 acts of kindness.  Also doing a couple every day or every couple days.  Also give me the happies.

Here is that is likely not going to get done:

Redo the backyard.  The fallen oak tree has left a proverbial hole in our backyard, and I am eager to make the back porch and back yard more user friendly but just not there yet.

Read 10 books to support personal/ professional growth.  I’ve started several, but since I only read before bed, I am more inclined to grab the pleasure reading that helps wind my mind down rather than the thoughtful reading that winds my mind up.

Run at least 213 miles.  Not a great running year for me (as you might remember, I am a fair weather runner so I really only run from March to October and, at that, 3-4 days a week.  This year, thought, I had a sinus infection for about four of those months and often opted for the elliptical trainer over hitting the streets).

Complete 12 works of art.  So far, I have 2 works of art done.  Maybe I can power through and do a false fatigue exercise– this was an exercise that I would have my Exploring the Creative Process seminar students do where they had to do 50 works of  at least 5 by 7 pieces of art in a really short period of time– to prove to themselves that you can push past blocks and times where you think you have no other ideas because so much about being productive creatively is the doing (as Anne Lamott says, the secret to writing is “butt in chair”).  So, maybe a false fatigue exercise is in my immediate future?

Replace carpet in master bedroom.  This so needs to be done and, yet, financially, it just seems to be the lowest priority.

Take at least 20 yoga classes.  While I did a fair amount of yoga on my own (and with Happy) and took some classes, the idea with this one was to get myself to my local YMCA for some classes so that I got more out of our membership and also got to turn off my mind a bit while doing yoga and have someone else be in charge.  With just three hours to work each morning, I couldn’t give up the time to a yoga class, it felt like, so it didn’t happen.  I’ll try try again on this one.

Take at least 20 Pilates classes.  See above.

Take a workshop.  Time just got away from me.  I often found about cool workshops a day or two before said workshop and my calendar was already booked. Must be more proactive about researching things earlier.

Take Happy on a hike.  Weekends got so full so fast during the good weather.  Will definitely hit my spring/summer list next year.

Find the perfect kitchen rug.  I have really been trying with this one.  I have a picture in my head of how this rug is going to look and, so far, I haven’t found it.  Will continue my quest.

Finish Happy’s “office”.  I’ve got the vision; now it is just a matter of recruiting BF for the manual labor (to build an art cupboard on the wall).  Fingers crossed that this will be done by the end of this year.

Stay in bed until 9 am with no interruptions.  I have a five year old and, when I travel by myself out of town, I leave as early as possible to get home.  So, um, this was a fool’s errand.

Start a 529 account.  I hate doing money things.  I just need to sit down and do the research on this and make it happen.  Before the end of the year, I promise (maybe 🙂 ).


So 22 things done and 4 more well on their way, bringing me to 26 things done off my list.  My joke has always been that I should have started this list in my teens to have a chance of knocking it all out so its a good thing that I am now getting done more things than was my age when I started the annual list.  Truth be told, finishing the list has never been my priority.  Instead, I am much more interested in living the list.  In seeking out these opportunities that make my day to day life a little different, that periodically put me outside of my com fort zone.  This list, over the years, has introduced me to some of my favorite things.  When I wrote down learn how to surf years ago, for example, I had no idea that I would discover that riding water is my absolute favorite thing to do.  When I wrote down raise $10,000 for cancer research almost a decade ago, as my father battled lymphoma, I had no idea that that fundraising would be one of my ways of processing my grief and fear during that time and that I would meet one of my dearest friends ever.  The list is an inducement to live out loud for me and sometimes I need the reminder to be a little more daring, to make every day a little less ordinary.

With my birthday just days away, I am already thinking about the newest items for my list.  So far, it includes some items that didn’t get done this year (that 529 account, finishing the office, finding a kitchen rug, etc), some items that are repeaters (reading 30 books, hear an author speak, make a vision board, take my birthday off), and some fun new things (take singing lessons, go trampolining, make a family yearbook, do something different with my hair, send a book to a solider, upgrade a soldier’s helmet).  Right now, I am 11 items short on my list so lots more brainstorming to do this week.

Do you make a birthday list?  What is on your list?  Maybe I can borrow ideas from your list (or feel free to give suggestions!).

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One response to “A look at 39 things”

  1. Marty Pierson

    Really enjoyed your article.You are an inspiration to many.
    PS – I have shoes older than you! LOL

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