For the first time in my life, I’m not really looking forward to my birthday. I’ve got no issue with turning 40 and there’s no point whining about getting older, but I had been planning to have a big party for everyone I know – and I’ve decided I can’t do it. I don’t like being the centre of attention so it’s no great surprise, really! I know lots of other people who will be 40 this year; maybe one of them will make up for it.
Instead, I’m going to spend the WHOLE of 2018 embracing the number 40 by doing 40 things under various headings!
This is all going to test my commitment and project/time management skills, all of which are in need of development. For each of the 17 projects below, I need to do 3 or 4 tasks each month, or 1 or 2 each week, if I’m going to achieve them all. Assuming no duplication, there are 17*40=680 things to do in 2018, which means 1.86 things each day! It’ll take ages just to record it all. In 2017 I set myself two tasks and didn’t do either of them… I’m sure it’ll be FINE.
Here’s the final list of ideas, in descending order of how likely it is that I will achieve them.
- 40 new recipes – this is at the top because although a recipe nearly every week is quite a lot, you can catch up easily by doing a few new recipes all in one lovely cookery day.
- 40 plays or shows or concerts or cinema trips – this takes some organising but some will be organised by other people and all I need to do is say ‘yes’ and turn up. I am winning as I am already booked to see Suggs and my friend’s little girl in a panto. (Together! Not really.)
- 40 outings on a bike – it might be a bit optimistic to have this so near the top, since I am a rubbish cyclist, I didn’t go out on a bike at all in 2017 and I don’t have a helmet, but I reckon if I can make it out once, then 40 cycle rides should be possible. 40 accidents, too, I expect.
- 40 sketches – a good excuse to go to Drink and Draw events more often. Might need a theme to keep me motivated.
- 40 new local (Cambridgeshire) places – this one should just happen naturally but there are lots of museums I haven’t been to, so I will try and put a bit of effort in, too.
- 40 books I ought to have read by now – looking into studying a masters in English Literature made me realise how many classics and other important books I haven’t read. My Goodreads Challenge in 2018 will be 52 books but I’m also doing the ‘Around The World in 80 Books’ Challenge (the option where you don’t have to read 80 books) so I will need to be inventive and efficient in my book choices, especially with number 13 on this list too.
- 40 new drinks – hopefully a fun and easy one, and I promise they won’t all be alcoholic.
- 40 new films – this is where I start to hope for some overlap (see item 2).
- 40 words in a language other than English – I can see me getting to December and not having done this through being indecisive about what language to learn.
- 40 favours – this would be higher up as I like to be useful to people if I can, and I’d like to think I already do 40 favours in a year, but I find people aren’t always very good at asking for help. This is an actual advert to the people I know to book me in for something you need help with – you can remain anonymous on the blog if you wish! (Probably best not to leave me with children who are too little to tell me what they need as I have no clue.)
- 40 lots of positive feedback – this and the previous one were inspired by Kerri’s suggestion of 40 good deeds. If I’m left to my own devices to choose the good deed I’m in danger of helping people with things they didn’t want help with. But surely even I can’t go wrong with positive feedback. I’m thinking thank you notes or online reviews. Love getting good feedback myself, and am hopeless at dishing it out!
- 40 biographies – autobiographies or biographies, but not just books. Films, TV programmes, live shows, anything else that occurs to me – so I can count my ticket to see Suggs in his show about his life, yippee. Not Jane Austen, though (see number 16).
- 40 works of art – I am very much out of my depth when it comes to art so I am going to pick my friend Clair’s brains about how I might tackle this one, as it was her idea.
- 40 happy moments – suggested by Rosa. Happiness is an elusive and random beast, and Rosa is a much more positive person than me, so I don’t really know what will come out of this one. It seems fraught with dangerous opportunities for offending or embarrassing people. It has occurred to me today, though, that in my two years of doing new things, some of the happiest were where I created something (e.g. flower arranging), in a sociable and companionable environment, but didn’t give a hoot what everyone else thought of the thing I had made! Any compliments I got were hugely appreciated and often unexpected but I can honestly say I would still have been happy if everyone had turned their noses up at my finished product. For someone who is generally absolutely paranoid about other people’s opinions, this is quite a revelation. I wonder if it is significant that most of these things involved being taught by someone (I’m not good at teaching myself how to do things) who also provided all the materials and cleaned up afterwards (leaving me to do just the happy bit). Wouldn’t it be lovely to be good enough at something to teach it to a room full of people who all go away totally chuffed with what they’ve achieved? Especially if they remember to give positive feedback…
- 40 brave things – I’m not very brave but maybe that means this one will be quite easy, as so many things are scary!
- 40 Jane Austen-related things – I’ve hijacked this project from my friend Sarah and I’m hoping she’s going to be the driving force, as she has a huge list of places to visit already (and a car). But 40 is a lot of things and although there will be some duplication (biographies, books I should have read, holidays), we will need you to wish us luck!
- 40 days of holidays – this was the first idea I had for this project. I am really struggling with the concept of holidays though! I’ve only been on holiday once without my family or my ex, and that was 20 years ago, so I am starting from scratch. I am going to include weekend visits to friends and family, and days that I spend as if I was on holiday (tourist-in-my-own-town type days or crafty workshops). But I am very poor company for even my bestest of pals after a couple of hours, I don’t want to go on holiday on my own, and I don’t want to go away with a group of strangers, so this one was doomed to fail even before I added 16 other challenges to my life. But I will try!
Please join me! (I don’t mean join me on holiday – join me with a bit of this project.) I’ve had pledges from Laura R, Leona, Emily, Clair C, Emma and Catherine so far. If you want to take part in one of these specific challenges, let me know, so we can help each other. Pick whatever number you want, especially if you have a different big birthday this year. Or choose a different challenge – other suggestions included cheeses, football grounds, new people and castles!
Happy New Year, all.