Inspiration: MoxieLife set herself a 40/40 challenge and is also tracking her list of 40 items on 43things.com. I have put a few items on 43Things before; for the record, I’ve accomplished the biggest and most uncertain, “become a parent,” and even “empty my e-mail inbox,” but still haven’t checked off “finish knitting that sweater,” and one, “see the Northern Lights,” is a life goal that I won’t realize this year unless someone surprises me with a free trip to Alaska. Reading MoxieLife’s entry, I thought, “Hm, maybe I’ll do 43 things next year for my 43rd year.” Then I realized that I’m already a ways into my 43rd year. So I’m going to try it right now.

While I find setting goals a very useful way to get things done, I’m acutely aware that one goal I have is to be a little less driven, and having a 43-item to-do list for 11 months could undermine that meta-goal. I am therefore being careful to include plenty of things that I think are important but that aren’t terribly burdensome–that are, in fact, things I would undoubtedly do anyway (such as tell my daughter every day that I love her)–and things that are already on my schedule, like next February’s CENTER Institute.  Nothing wrong with recording those among the things I want to do this year.

I’ve left myself three blanks for ideas that arrive in the next few weeks (Edited on 7/19 to add them).   I’ll bold tasks and add italicized comments as I accomplish (or abandon, or modify) items. In no particular order:

1. Finish knitting that sweater. The purple swing jacket that’s so close to being done. Do it before the cold weather has come and gone.

2. Take Kay Lynn Northcutt’s preaching workshop at CENTER in February. Didn’t get into that seminar, but had already done #3, and continue to:

3. Read Northcutt’s book before the church year begins and put her advice into practice by channeling more of my spiritual passion into my preaching.

4. Tell, or show, Munchkin every day that I love her.

5. Tell, or show, Joy every day that I love her.  I can’t say I’ve done a daily check-off on this and #4 (for which we may all be grateful), so I can’t be sure I’ve accomplished it, but I’m fairly confident.

6.  Spend more time outdoors.  (More time in Golden Gate Park would be great.) My baseline for this was pretty low, so I’m not pleased with the small amount of time I spend outdoors, but I recognize it’s rising.

7. Make art for two hours every Monday.

8. Walk the Civil Rights Half-Marathon in San Francisco in January. This race was cancelled. I’m working toward another in June; we’ll see if I make it.  ETA: Nope, we have a Board retreat. Looking ahead to other options.

9. Plan a weekly menu more of the time. (Joy and I set this together. It’s good to have measurable goals, and doing this every week is probably unrealistic, so let’s say 50% once we get back to SF would be satisfactory.)

10. Keep in better touch with faraway friends.  (Not Facebook- or Christmas-card touch.  E-mail/phone call/visit touch.)

11. Get to my new weight goal by the end of September, and still be there on my 43rd birthday.  (Weight Watchers and SparkPeople.com are helping!)

12.  Stop biting my nails.

13. During training for half marathon, try out walking barefoot or with “minimal” shoes.  So-so. I’ve walked barefoot for a few blocks here and there. I like it.

14. Meet all my newsletter deadlines because I love our newsletter editor and appreciate everything he does for our church, and I want to make his life easier.

15. Make work filing and desk-clearing an every-few-days task so piles of paper don’t threaten my sanity and physical safety.

16. Visit my sister and her family in New Orleans.  It was great!

17. Blog on here twice a week.  Consistently, no; on average, yes.

18. Convert all my mom’s slides to digital photos.

19. Stop getting on the internet when I first wake up.  Getting better. Now if I’d just go outside instead, I’d be able to tick off #19 and #6.

20. (This is a big one) Finish every sermon by the time I leave church on Friday afternoon. (Every one. No weekend writing/fretting allowed. I promised this one to my wife a long time ago, and have failed miserably, but this year the munchkin will be in school full-time and weekends have to be sacrosanct family time or we will implode. It’s hard enough that I work most Sundays and have occasional Saturday work obligations too.)

21. Take one training walk per week with Munchkin. (While I’ve arranged to do most of my half-marathon training while she is at school, one walk per week is supposed to be at “stroll” pace, and I think it’ll be great to have that time together.)

22. Do all nine steps of Financial Integrity.

23. Have a date night with Joy twice a month (or more).

24. Download recordings of the munchkin off my mp3 recorder (and make more!).

25. Make a list of ten fiction or poetry books I’ve been wanting to read, and read them.

26. Be a more playful parent.  This is one of those goal success stories, the kind where having put the goal into writing helps me accomplish it. When I’m stressed and my daughter’s being resistant, my sense of humor is the first thing to go–just when I need it most.  Over and over since last July, when my humor was slipping away I’d remember this goal and reach for a better way. 

27. Go on several family picnics.

28.  Keep that e-mail inbox down to zero. (Emptying my inbox in 2009 was an accomplishment on the scale of childbirth and I want to keep that rosy glow.)

29. Connect with more LGBT parents.

30. Get Diana Kennedy’s Art of Mexican Cooking and try out a bunch of recipes with Joy.

31. Develop my supervision skills.

32. Keep up my Spanish. (Some tools: speak more Spanish at home, watch Destinos, listen to Como Se Dice CDs in the car, do some written exercises, write Spanish blog entries, read Spanish UU blogs, talk with Spanish-speakers at church, preach in Spanish at First UU of San Jose. If time allows, go to a meetup now and then).

33.  Help keep up Munchkin’s Spanish by speaking to her more in Spanish.  (Other tools:  go to bilingual story time at the library, take out Spanish books, watch Spanish movies, go to a Spanish playgroup.)

34. Take a weekend in Pacific Grove (or somewhere) with Joy.

35. Go to the Asian Art Museum. (I’ve lived in the Bay Area for seven years and haven’t gone yet!)

36. Don’t work when I’m not at work.  This includes worry.

37. Listen better.

38. Make my daily to-do lists realistic. (I have incorporated FranklinCovey planning into my life, which works really well for me, but something I keep doing is making a daily task list that’s too ambitious and ending up staring at several undone items. Better to make too short a list and find myself with time for extra tasks at the end of the day.)

39. Fly a kite. (Did it on April 2, at the beach at Half Moon Bay.)

40. Go to several life drawing sessions. (Done, but I want to keep at it.)

41.  Go to Año Nuevo when the elephant seals are there. (Another “I can’t believe I’ve lived in the Bay Area for this long without doing this” item.) I don’t think this one is going to happen this year. We looked into it–there was even an Our Family Coalition outing there, which sounded great–but Munchkin isn’t quite up for the long walk it involves. I think I’ll suggest it to her as something to get ready for for next year.

42. Grow some veggies in our yard. (Munchkin’s suggestion. When your child says “let’s grow vegetables!” you do it.)

43. Walk in the redwoods.  We not only walked, we camped!  On Memorial Day weekend, at Big Basin. So beautiful.

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