Wednesday, October 21, 2009

1001 days until I'm 40

Yeesh. How did that happen? And it's even less now, because that was Saturday!

A little background is in order. I recently set a goal that I want to achieve by the time I turn 40. To keep the goal in my mind, I added a gadget to my Windows Vista sidebar that kept count of how many days I had to achieve the goal. On Saturday the gadget informed me I had 1001 days, which of course made me think of my "101 tasks in 1001 days" list.

The list which I've been ignoring.

Yet again, I've got things on my list that don't matter to me. At all. And I want them all to matter. I don't want the list to be stuff like 'clean under the bed'! Who cares? I want it to be full of things that make me a better and more interesting person or a better and more interesting writer. (And of course, if something can do both that's fantastic.) I want the items to be fun for me to do, or challenging, or a little strange. I want them to help me live a more exciting life.

So I am re-creating my list. Item #101 is the above-mentioned goal. (Don't skip to the bottom! Read 'em all. :) (Except maybe the first eight- I haven't figured out what they are yet!)

Items in progress are in bold print. When I finish one, it'll be in red italics.

101 TASKS IN 1001 DAYS: October 17, 2009 - July 14, 2012
  1. Put at least 10 hours into the secret project I thought of last week. Nobody on the planet knows what this project is but me and that amuses me. It's NOT writing-related, though, I'll give you that much. :) (0/10)
  2. Make a case for my Palm that holds both the device and the phone headset so I don't keep misplacing the headset.
  3. Coming soon!
  4. Coming soon!
  5. Coming soon!
  6. Coming soon!
  7. Coming soon!
  8. Coming soon!


  9. Buy nothing but essential groceries for one full month. Keep track of the value of what I do not buy.
  10. Celebrate July as my birthmonth each year by doing at least one fun/unusual activity each July.
  11. Create three playlists in iTunes and on the Palm: one to pump me up, one to relax me, and one for when I'm feeling doubtful about my ability to carry on. (0/3)
  12. Do at least eight weekly "hobby/creative" nights with Mr. W, in which we each work on a work- or home-related project that's new and a bit different for us. (If we have to miss a week that's fine, but missing two means the count starts over.) (Begun October 20th, now 5/8, #1: I read a writing book, he did research into new cars, #2: I researched planning and organizational methods, he did work-related research, #3: I built a spreadsheet tracking prices in our favorite online fighting game, Atlantica Online, and he did work-related research, #4: we both researched cell phones, #5: I worked on my signature, he did work-related research)
  13. Each January, rearrange all the pictures in our picture frames and refresh my digital frame.
  14. Find/make an excuse to rent a car for at least a day, and choose something different or fun to drive.
  15. Fly first-class.
  16. Give 20 strangers a compliment. (1/20 - at a running race, )
  17. Give five "I saw this and thought of you" gifts. (0/5)
  18. Go an entire day, including at least some time in public, without speaking, (Writing notes is acceptable if necessary.) See how it feels to be completely silent.
  19. Go back to New York. Stay more than two nights. (Avoid LaGuardia if possible. :)
  20. Go back to the beach near our old house where I fell in love with Harry Potter book 1. Read the last chapters of book 7.
  21. Go through my makeup and throw out everything I haven't used in the last month. No "I might use it someday." You won't. We know this. (This is insanely hard for me... I'm convinced I'll want that lipstick someday!)
  22. Go to a ballet.
  23. Go to a drive-in movie.
  24. Go to a Leafs game, either at home or elsewhere.
  25. Go to a performance of "The Messiah" at Christmas.
  26. Go to a rock concert.
  27. Go to an aquarium. (The one in the living room does not count :)
  28. Go to an opera.
  29. Go to Kuwait to visit Tanya. Try everything, even things I think I won't like. (booked for January 2010! :)
  30. Go to Ste. Annes spa at least three times. (0/3)
  31. Go to the train station with Mr. W or a friend, pick any random train that is leaving within 10 minutes, buy a ticket and go discover the city where the train is going.
  32. Go to three new-to-me restaurants (chain restaurants do NOT count). (0/3)
  33. If the UFC or another mixed martial arts organization comes to Toronto, do everything legally possible to get tickets.
  34. Learn one magic trick with which to entertain people. It must be simple to set up. Show it to at least three groups of people. Never tell how it's done. (0/3)
  35. Leave a ridiculously generous tip for great service. (0/3)
  36. Make a $25 loan at
  37. Make croissants. The recipe I have takes three days but I bet they're worth the effort. Maybe at Christmas?
  38. Make something weird (jam?) in the breadmaker.
  39. Next time I see them at the grocery store, buy Grapples. They're apples with grape flavouring added, and they smell amazing. (They're also $5 for 4, which is why I haven't bought them previously.)
  40. No swearing for 28 full days. (I've done two weeks… can I handle 28 days?)
  41. Pay for someone behind me at a drive-thru. (0/3)
  42. Pick a Guitar Hero song and learn to drum it on Expert. "Welcome to the Jungle", here I come!
  43. Play laser tag.
  44. Post weekly status updates on this list's progress. (8/143 - I'm counting this initial post)
  45. Purge my jewelry so I keep only the pieces I adore.
  46. Read "Life of Pi".
  47. Read "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch.
  48. Read a book on Canadian history (non-fiction).
  49. Read a novel a day for one full week. (7/7) (These novels can help fulfill other tasks if I want.) Done November 20 to 26, 2009
  50. Read the 11 paper books I currently have in my 'to be read' collection. Review them on my blog, and release at least six of them to (4/11)
  51. Read two Pulitzer Prize-winning novels. (0/2)
  52. Replace as many of these as I want with new items on or around the 500 day mark, which is March 1, 2011. (Items can be replaced only if I no longer feel they matter, not if I just can't be bothered.)
  53. Reread "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand.
  54. Roll a 6-sided die 1001 times and see whether the results are random or not. If not, use whatever number comes up most often in some way to pick a lottery ticket.
  55. See at least one Fringe Festival play each summer. (0/3)
  56. See every movie that's released in March 2011 (randomly selected month), regardless of whether I think I'll like it.
  57. See Meat Loaf in concert if he's anywhere near us.
  58. See the "Body Worlds" exhibit at the Science Centre. (real body parts!) Take Mr. W if he'll go, or find some other sucker... err... buddy, or go alone if need be. Completed with HM, November 26, 2009.
  59. See the Arrogant Worms in concert if they're anywhere near us.
  60. Send an anonymous Valentine's Day card.
  61. Send someone an anonymous gift, something they really need or want.
  62. Sleep out on the balcony for one night.
  63. Spend a day at the Royal Ontario Museum.
  64. Spend a rainy or snowy day doing nothing but reading and drinking tea (and maybe eating a bit too).
  65. Take a spur of the moment road trip (one Friday evening, just take off!).
  66. Take at least one "we do nothing but hang out and be together" vacation with Mr. W each year. (0/3)
  67. Take my camera to three separate family/friend occasions. Take at least one picture and be IN at least one picture at each event. (0/3)
  68. Try ten new recipes. (1/10 - crockpot chili, )
  69. Visit 7 cities so their initials make up the word Heather. (0/7) (need two different ones for E and T!)
  70. Watch all six Rocky movies over a weekend. (long weekend? :) (0/6)
  71. Watch the polar bears at the zoo on a particularly cold day.
  72. Write 10 encouraging notes and leave them out somewhere in public.(0/10)
  73. Write and mail a fan letter to Forrest Griffin, referencing that I named the male lead in "Go Small or Go Home" Forrest and that my sister named her cat Griffin. See if he responds.
  74. Write my autobiography, just for my own reference and not for public consumption. Update annually on or around my birthday.
  75. Write my parents a gratitude letter.


  76. Run a sub-30 minute 5km. (Best time: 35:19)
  77. Run at least 1001 miles (1611 km). (74.3/1611, last update Nov 30/09)
  78. Run a half marathon in less than 2.5 hours. (Current best: 2:40)
  79. Complete 100 pushups in one go. (This will likely necessitate at least two trips through the 6-week pushup challenge, as my current trip won't get me much higher than 50.)
  80. Eat an apple a day for 28 days.
  81. Do NOT begin any weight loss program during these 1001 days. DO continue running and exercising and eating healthy food, but there will be no weight loss focus unless at a doctor's command. Write a blog post explaining my reasoning.
  82. Do 5-10 minutes daily of posture-correcting exercises for 28 days.
  83. Eat only raw food for two consecutive days.


  84. Put at least 1000 yards of yarn into the Glorious Violence shawl (this is made of lavender cashmere lace yarn and is being made only at/while watching hockey games and mixed martial arts). (300/1000+, depending on the shawl's size)
  85. Make Glorious Violence mitts if there's any cashmere lace yarn left over.
  86. Hand-dye either yarn or a finished project, possibly the Glorious Violence shawl and/or mitts. Accept and even enjoy the no-doubt-imperfect results.
  87. Have my mother's bag of golden retriever fur spun then crochet her a hat/mitts/scarf set with fur trim. (Sample of fur sent to spinner Nov 5/09)
  88. Knit the "Hand like a Hole" fingerless mitts. Relax and enjoy it so the finished mitts won't be tainted by "knitting makes me tense" vibes.
  89. Put at least five hours into inventing a shawl pattern. I keep insisting that I'm not creative in that way, but maybe I am and I'm just not letting it out. (0/5)
  90. Sew myself a skirt.
  91. Sew myself an infinity dress ( from the pink fabric in my cupboard that I don't remember why I bought.
  92. Turn the Christmas pillow front Mr. W latch-hooked into an actual pillow by Christmas 2009.


  93. Spend at least three half-hour sessions working on my signature so I have a classy one instead of the childish scribble I have now. (1/3)
  94. Reach an average of five hours of creative work per day. If I can't reach five without negatively affecting my work, be happy with wherever I get. (Current: 3)
  95. Turn three of my book ideas into short stories. If I feel like it, they can be posted here or I can try to sell them but that is absolutely not a requirement.
  96. Write "morning pages" (three handwritten stream-of-consciousness pages) for 28 days straight. (0/28)
  97. Write a screenplay, of whatever length feels right, after doing some research into screenplay conventions. No need to do anything with it unless I feel like it.
  98. Write at least three flash horror stories and submit at least one to the Twitter horror stories thing.
  99. Do Julia Cameron's "Walking in this World" program in a 4-week-on-4-week off pattern (the program takes 12 weeks total, so this way will take me 20.) In the off weeks, continue to think about what I've learned.
  100. Do Julia Cameron's "other" program, either in the same way or straight through depending on how I think it'll work best.
  101. Have at least one of my books reach the number one spot on the New York Times bestseller list. This is the goal I mentioned at the beginning. By the time I turn 40, I will have had at least one book reach this lofty height. I am determined. I AM a New York Times bestseller. They just don't know it yet. :)
So there's the list. I like it. A lot. And I think I'll be quite a different person by the time I turn 40!

If you have any suggestions for the missing first eight, I'd love to hear 'em! :)


jdsanc said...

Oh my God I love your list. I love that you want to sleep out on a balcony. Me too, at least now I do. So Rear Window. And the posture correcting exercise. I'm always reminding my daughter to stand tall, but am such a slouch. I've got a birthday coming and I'm doing your list for sure. Got to put voice lessons on there. My voice is so little girl. Signature good, voice bad.

Heather Wardell said...

That's funny... I get compliments on my voice sometimes but never EVER on my signature. Together we'd be a superpower. :)

Jenna S said...

This is awesomme

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