41 for 41

Birthday Sunrise Last month, on my 41st birthday, I did something I've never done before: I wrote down things I wanted to accomplish before my next birthday.

I'm not usually one to laze around not doing things I want to do. I am a list person (there's something about writing down an intention that makes you more accountable and actionable), but I tend not to put timelines on things because, well, I get things done--especially things that are a priority to me. But as I was staring out across Morro Bay from the deck of the cottage we had rented for my birthday celebration weekend, watching kingfishers, egrets, pelicans, and snowy plovers come and go in the early morning hours of my birthday, I had a sense that this year was special for some reason. I can't explain why. There was no particular trigger that made me go, AH-HA! There was just this feeling of BUILDING MOMENTUM...like the moment right before the curtain is raised on stage or the music before Lady Gaga launches into the chorus.

I can't say that this past year has been any more special for me than previous years (it feels to me like every year of my life just keeps getting better and better), but I can say that three things in particular stand out as extraordinary: my veganic garden, my marbling, and budding friendships. I get a sense that what I've learned, and continue to learn, from these experiences are the foundation to something BIGGER. Or, at least, propelling me to some next level. In any case, they definitely had an influence on my list.

Having said that, my "41 Things to Accomplish in my 41st Year" list was driven by instinct, not agenda. In other words, these are things I want to do JUST BECAUSE. And for no other reason. They came from a place where there were no expectations and no boundaries. I simply took a pen in hand, placed a piece of paper in front of me, and scribbled as fast as I could. The list is a product of gut instinct, things I felt I needed to do this year. Some are exciting (get back on the motorcycle!). Some are mundane (purge garage and closet!). Some are really, really scary to me (participate in a show with my marbling!). After coming up with the list, I noticed a few themes: personal enrichment and growth, creativity, the outdoors, and travel--exactly the way I've been purposefully driving my life these past six years of pro-active unemployment. I guess on some level my subconscious knew I didn't need a whole new direction in my life; I just needed MORE of the life that makes me so happy.

I wanted to post this before the New Year so people would know this is not a resolution list. There is no resolving going on here--just a pure desire to pursue, experience, inhabit, and enjoy. And while I'm aiming to check off 41 accomplishments by next November, you'll notice I only have 37 things listed. I intentionally left four spots open for whatever crazy new opportunities pop up in my life.

Because I've learned to fully expect the unexpected on this journey of mine.

41 Things to Accomplish in my 41st Year