Inspired by Thinkery's "50 Things Before 50" list, I am starting my own, this birthday week. Since I'll be fifty in only three years, there are no time constraints. Please share your lists too.
OK, here goes, off the top of my head:
1. Learn to surf. This is a challenge, living in the center of a huge continent, but I heard there are women's surfing classes somewhere on some coast. At least look into this.
2. Go to a Star Trek convention, before all the classic stars die. (Too late for DeForest Kelly and James Doohan.) Buy badges and gadgets and wear/carry them home on public transportation.
3. Mount the pottery tiles my sister brought me from Mexico as a backsplash behind my kitchen sink. Don't hyperventilate.
4. Go to City Hall; meet my council member. Gold star for asking him out to lunch.
5. Go to the State Capitol; see the State Legislature in session. Gold star for figuring out who my representative is.
6. Sign up to be an "election judge" (volunteer poll worker) for the 2008 elections. This time, bring snacks that will provide the calm I require to help voters who start screaming. Do not eat the rice krispie treats.
7. Get married. No, wait--all I actually want is a wedding like Julie Andrews' in The Sound of Music, complete with a 50-foot train and nuns in habits. Skip the seven kids.
8. Wear the teeth-guard that stops my teeth grinding in my sleep. (It's a nifty little thing that fits over my upper, front teeth so my jaw can't clench. But I don't wear it.)
9. Repeat my fortieth birthday party in London on my fiftieth birthday, in 2011. (I invited everyone I know to tea in the Russell Hotel in Bloomsbury, in 2001. Eight friends and family came, and it was a blast.) You are invited.
10. Make documentary movies. Since I was a kid, I've wanted to be a filmmaker, which seemed an impossible dream. Now, I could edit films on this very laptop.
11. Learn how to be visually creative on the computer. What you see on this blog is about as far as I've gotten in exploring its capabilites. Change that.
12. Prepare for a good old age, like Maude in Harold and Maude. Key: keep my head open and my joints bendy.
13. Live for a Good Death, while I'm at it. (This is a Catholic concept that deserves a wider audience.)
14. Load songs on my new teensy iPod, my first ever. (Maybe Sally will help me on Saturday).
15. Ask for help. (This scares me.)
16. Offer help. (This scares me too.)
17. Buy a new microwave. Don't get the crappy brand this time.
18. Visit Chile. Check out the surf near Pablo Neruda's last home. Gold star for asking Ariel Dorfman or President Michelle Bachelet out to lunch.
19. Get a driver's license.
20. Drive cross-country in a big old bomber. Hmmm... or drive to Chile.
21. Acquire a vintage Jaguar car. Alternatively, acquire a lover with a Jaguar.
22. Climb down into the Grand Canyon. Spend the night in one of the cabins down there.
23. Breathe in the rain forests of the Pacific Northwest.
24. Practice non-aggression when I am annoyed. (Ha!) Practice some more.
25. Buy new wool sweaters. Turn the ratty old ones into felt (wash in hot water) and make mittens with it.
26. Keep expanding my capacity for compassion. Keep relaxing my tendencies toward self-defensiveness. Expand. Relax. Repeat.
27. Keep exercising my body, even though, frankly, I'm not that jazzed about it.
28. Enjoy food! First goal: buy steel-cut oats instead of oats chopped into dust. Give myself more time in the morning to cook them.
29. Don't forget crusty bread, runny stinky cheeses, red wine. And sauteed dandelion leaves in the spring, dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, and black pepper.
30. Keep sending my brother birthday cards, even though he more or less hates me.
31. Make a list of the top ten Star Trek episodes. Make a list of the Ten Best Worst Episodes too.
32. Don't be so embarrassed. As Helen Fielding (author of Bridget Jones) points out: people aren't paying attention anyway. They're thinking about what you're thinking about: themselves.
33. Make art!
34. Have a love affair with someone who is is a native speaker of another language, and learn that language. Preferably a person who has to return to their far-away home after a year or so. (In Chile, maybe. Or on Vulcan.)
35. Get bifocals.
36. Buy a ticket for a flight into outer space. Or make one.
37. Try cassava greens.
38. Invite friends and family to collaborate on photo projects, now that we all have these easy-peasy digital cameras.
39. Call the career counselor. Find the perfect job that engages and directs my brain but doesn't cramp it. Something like problem-solving on Star Trek screenplays. Or assisting Bill Moyers with interviews. Or getting paid to ramble in writing. You know what? I'd like to work collaboratively on a magazine. Maybe an online one... Maybe start one.
40. Keep on blogging.