Sunday, June 5, 2011

To Do Before 40: An Updated List

I celebrated a birthday last week (don't worry, I wasn't expecting a gift), and it occurred to me that I'm getting frighteningly close to that mid-life milestone: 40.

I have to admit, there are moments when I feel every bit of my age, and then some. My former bookstore job where my youthful coworkers regularly swapped stories about barroom revelries provided many of those moments. And grad school. Almost no one else in my classes has children or can relate to temper tantrums, potty training, and the fact that I had to miss John Green's apparently amazing presentation at the Carnegie because it was the same night as my 7-year-old's sleepover.

And yet there are times when I still feel like a kid myself. I mean, I have homework and writing projects. I get graded and commute to campus. The hubby and I still gear up for Pitt football games. In fact, there are fleeting moments when I look around and wonder, “Who put me in charge of these children? Don't they know I don't have a clue? And this house? Last I knew, I was living in a 7th floor apartment on the 71A line with my college sweetheart and a cat.”

Alas, here I am. And as I approach the Big 4-0, I'm reminded of a list I made back in high school of all the things I wanted to accomplish before I hit 30. I haven't been able to dig up the list amidst all my scribbled notebooks (yes, I still have many, many scribblings from high school...), but I seem to recall a few of the items:

Ride in a hot air balloon
Try hang-gliding
Travel to England
Publish my first book
Become the youngest person to win the Academy Award for best screenplay
Attempt an Everest climb

I achieved precious few of the items on my list. Perhaps it's because these lists tend toward the dramatic. I mean, hang-gliding? Who does that? And Everest? (Well, from what I understand, you can pretty much pay your way up there nowadays, but still.)

At least I made it to England.

Notably absent from the list were things like getting married, having children, buying a house and establishing myself in any kind of stable career that would actually earn an income. I suppose I figured all those things would work themselves out.

And they have. Thankfully, since those have been some of the most pivotal and meaningful developments in my life.

Still, I've decided to revamp the list for 40. Here goes:

  1. Have at least one of my manuscripts accepted for publication by a reputable publishing house.

Yeah, that's pretty much the only thing I feel is missing from my life right now. The rest is icing on an already amazingly delicious cake.

I have two years to do it. Wish me luck!

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