I can’t remember how I spent birthday number 10, but for my 20th I threw my own birthday party at a local Abilene restaurant and invited my friends, after which we went to a classic movie at the refurbished Paramount Theatre. Year 30 was spent with a newborn in our home watching Logan’s Run and feeling happy that I was neither in that sci-fi world nor relegated to the 1970’s hairstyles sported in that movie. And year 40 was spent realizing that I am – oh my goodness! How did this happen? – FORTY!
I don’t lie about my age or particularly dread the aging process (unless I watch a Depends commercial or catch myself noticing a nice-looking guy half my age). However, age 40 hit me like a buffalo stampede. I was left bewildered and wondering what had happened to so much of my life. Where did it all go? Some days seemed to drag, but the years revved by.
I fell into a contemplative state worthy of a monk or a philosophy student. I figured that I was about midway through this game we call Life, and I needed to regroup and figure out how I was going to play the second half.
So I started a bucket list. But I hate calling it that. I’m nowhere near kicking the bucket! Forty isn’t one foot in the grave! It’s just a few steps closer to the cemetery – you know, where you can kind of see the headstones now but not yet read them (especially not without my glasses). So I counted up my to-do list and found that I had over 30 items. I numbered down to 40 and titled my list “40 Things to Do after 40.”
It’s now merely my “40 After 40” list. Here are a few of the items:
- Write a novel
- Learn to tap dance
- Sing at a karaoke bar
- Host a costume party
- See Shakespeare in the Park
- Write a blog
- Ride in a small private plane (open cockpit would be great)
- Attend the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, New York (tennis)
- Read War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
- Own a gazebo
I’ve researched tap dance lessons in my area, need to check the upcoming Shakespeare in the Park schedule, and have to wait for a while on the gazebo (they cost $$). Others are in the works as well. Of course, if anyone has tickets they want to give away to the next U.S. Open, I’d be happy to take those off your hands!)
I’m proud to have crossed some things off my list – including that first novel, starting this blog, and delving into another Tolstoy book with more characters to track than all the roles from the recently cancelled All My Children.
By the way, if you looked at my list and wondered why at past-40 I have never been to a karaoke bar, I can’t explain it. In fact, I’ve been told I sing well enough, so it’s not fear of utter humiliation that prevents me from going. I simply haven’t gotten around to it. Perhaps at the next writers’ conference I attend, I can find some brave people to scout out a nearby karaoke place and help me check yet another item off my 40 After 40 list. I’ll start working on my rendition of “I Will Survive” now. (Am I allowed to ad lib lyrics, such as, “I will survive . . . the book pitch”? That might be a crowd-pleaser!)
Do you have a similar list? How’s it going? What are some of your must-do items for your lifetime?