So Long 30s!

My wife woke me up this morning, which is always fantastic, but she ruined my grin when she said, “Are you ready for your last day?” Last day? But I’m not…oh…oooohhhh…it’s the last day of my 30s. That’s right, in about 18 minutes I’ll cross that threshold into mid-life. I turn (heavy sigh) 40. Forty.

I don’t know why this one is so hard—the alternative is certainly worse. And I don’t feel old; I just don’t remember getting this old. I remember being the new, smart kid at work or being able to justify doing dumb shit by saying I was young and stupid. But I’m not young or stupid, at least not anymore. Now I notice people looking at me as an authority, I see the plethora of white hairs in my beard, my knee and ankle pop when I move. I think about shit like my 401K and what’s happening on the news and why is everything so loud? And the hair! My God, where is all this hair coming from?

I think I understand it, the whole mid-life crisis thing. At forty, you’re old enough to afford to pursue some of those passions (even I have a guitar I don’t know how to play-don’t judge me), you can hold your liquor and have a job so that drinking until you throw up shit is over, and you have a pretty good working knowledge of how to pull a woman and make her smile. You can see how, armed with knowledge and experience, you can revisit the desires of your 20s and be FAR more successful. Shit, I have a whole list of things I wanna do in this 40th year that I couldn’t have done before.

Check it out:

The List: 40 Things To Do At 40

  1. Learn to play Hotel California on the guitar – because, seriously, what is the point of having a guitar at all?
  2. Take a train – I love trains. I don’t think you can appreciate the size and beauty of this grand nation of ours without seeing it by rail. The plan is to do a cross country trip and write.
  3. Lose 40 pounds – what do I have to say? It’s gotta come off
  4. Join a book club – I think I need to make some book friends…
  5. Read all the books on my Kindle – Folks, I have a ridiculous number of books on my Kindle. I’m a sucker for a free or a cheap book and both debuts by new authors and classics meet that standard. Rather than hit some random list to check off books, I’m just gonna commit to knocking out what I already have.
  6. Join a writers club – Like the book friends, I need help to keep honing my craft, get some honest critique, and keep growing
  7. Read the Bible – Considering the stuff I write, you woulda thought I’d done this already. Nope…
  8. Finish Come Hell or High Water – I am genuinely concerned about my life expectancy if I don’t finish this book. Aside from the fact that it would severely damage my own impression of myself as a writer, there are a couple folks out there who will put hit out on me
  9. Do 10 pull ups
  10. Do 100 push ups
  11. Run a 5K
  12. Learn to read music – kinda goes hand in hand with that guitar thing. I hate stuff I can’t understand and music is one of them.
  13. See Mount St. Helens – I live in a state that had a volcano erupt in my lifetime. Blew the top off a mountain. I need to see that kind of power
  14. Get an agent – So I’ve been thinking about whether I want to stay self-published or move to something traditional. I think it’s time for me to explore my options…and I won’t be writing angels forever.
  15. Learn to ride a motorcycle – This is the cliché “I-just-turned-40-I-think-I’m-having-a-mid-life-crisis”moment without the 18 year old school girl. Still I wanna see…
  16. See the Hollywood Walk of Fame – For someone so in love with the entertainment industry and desperately trying to get in it, I should probably pay my respect to those who came before me
  17. Go to church. Regularly – Huh? Yeah so…I haven’t done my part in being the example I should be. Gotta fix that one.
  18. See all the Oscar Best Pictures – Movies are stories that we can see, that we can feel and share. I want to see the best ones.
  19. Climb something – a rock, a mountain – My daughter can climb anything. Height has no limit for her. She can reach for anything. And I never want to give her the impression that anything—not life, or a job, or 40 extra pounds—can hold her back. So I gotta climb something.
  20. Kiss at the top of the Empire State Building – Isn’t that the most romantic thing? I’m romantic…
  21. Go to Vegas – I have never been to Las Vegas for anything more than to catch another flight. I guess I should see what all the fuss is about.
  22. Take a ballroom dancing class – I CANNOT DANCE. I can get around at the club or my high school reunion doing my lil two step but dancing is not my forte. But I’m trying to grow up and grow out and that means pushing my boundaries and getting my Rico Suave on. Besides, if I learn how to dance, I might have to go somewhere….
  23. Go to a black tie event – I didn’t go my prom and have attended a handful of weddings and special events. But I haven’t gone to an auction or a charity event or gotten my face in the local newspaper. Black tie events are grown up thing and, if you haven’t noticed the theme, I’m a grown-ass man now.
  24. Learn to cook a perfect steak – Everyone should be known for a signature dish. For me, I love steak and I want to be able to cook one for anyone anytime. Seems like a manly skill to have.
  25. Learn to shave with a straight razor – Talk about taking your life in your own hands. Have you seen Miss Celie and Mister on the front porch when she was shaving him? There’s something inherently masculine about that old-fashioned approach to grooming. In this day of high-tech and immediacy and Mach 5s, I think slowing down a little will do me good.
  26. Go to a gun range and shoot a gun – I’m scared of guns. I’ve been party to a couple scenes where someone has shot themselves, saw a woman get shot right next me. I don’t have a respect for firearms and don’t understand the allure. But I want to confront my fear and try to understand it.
  27. Catch a fish. And cook it – I’ve been fishing once in my life and caught one fish. I want to get better at this so this involves going fishing, catching something and learning how to clean and cook a fish. I think it’ll bring me and The Boy a little closer.
  28. Get a clean bill of health – Funny, I spend so much time making sure everyone else is ok, I don’t ever think about me. Not only do I need a physical, I really need it come back clean. This is about taking control of my health.
  29. Get a promotion – Never got one before. I need to see what that feels like. And I need to do what it takes to earn one, to really go above and beyond professionally. And to get the accompanying pay bump
  30. Get life insurance – Sure, I have some life insurance through my job but it’s enough to put me in the ground and buy some Pringles. I need to bump it up and really plan for the future.
  31. Save for retirement …more – You know that “Aww, retirement’s like 40 years away” feeling you had when you were 20? Yeah, that shit is over. And while I’m saving a little for retirement, I really need to act like a grown up
  32. Read all Shakespeare’s plays – The Bard could spin a tale and they touch the heart of humanity. That’s what makes them enduring tales. I guess I should read them, huh?
  33. Go skiing/snowboarding – I live in a state that is replete with mountains and snow. And I grew up in one the coldest ones in the country. I’ve had time and opportunity but no motivation—I’m thinking it’s time I found out what this skiing shit is about
  34. Go skydiving – “You haven’t lived until you’ve jumped out of a plane,” said no sane person ever. Luckily for me, sanity is a loose concept round these parts
  35. Get a Master’s degree – As part of our Step Your Game Up Series, I applied to grad school in mid-January. Keep your fingers crossed.

You might be wondering why there’s only 35 items on my 40 Things To Do At 40 list. I actually run out of things to say. Tell me what else you think I should do.  The top 5 will be added to the list and I’ll even take pictures of me doing them!

Catch ya later!

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6 thoughts on “So Long 30s!

  1. You must have had Victoria in mind when you wrote #8. I’m with you on #9-11. And if you repeat your top 5 must dos, then you’ll have your 40! Happy birthday, Chris.

    • Thanks Leslie! And yes, Victoria was one of the folks I was thinking about for #8. I’m worried she’s gonna pull some money together and buy a ticket to Seattle…

      We’ll see about repetition–I’m eager to be able to knock the ones I already have.

  2. That’s quite a list for one year! As for #6 – if you’re open to an online writing group, Scribophile is the best one out there. It has both site-wide forums and private groups for discussions of the craft, and the feedback you get on your writing is very comprehensive.

  3. I think that is a very ambitious bucket list. I find it interesting how many people want to jump out of a perfectly good airplane to experience skydiving on their bucket list. It has never been anything I have had a desire to do. Fly the airplane? Yes. Jump out? I’ll pass on that one.

    Let me offer a suggestion I did with my three children when they were younger (the age of your two). I took each one of my kids on an overnight field trip to someplace away from home. Just the two of us. My daughter had a crush on Brett Farve back when he played for Green Bay. I took her to Green Bay for a couple of days. I took each of my sons on separate trips to Washington D.C. One to see the Air and Space museum, the other wanted to go to a pro basketball game when the then Charlotte Hornets were playing the Washington Wizzards. Of course, these trips were easy and inexpensive for me because I worked for the airline at the time so travel was free. What you could do is to incorporate some of you listed with each on of your children. Example; maybe take your daughter on that trip to Mt. St. Helens. Take your son fishing and try to catch your dinner for the evening or an overnight trip to Vancouver, BC just to say you have been in a different country. Excellent chinese restaurants in Vancouver by the way. It will create memories for each of your children and they’ll appreciate the personal one on one time.

    Other ideas to consider for your bucket list. A trip to Washington, DC to see all of the museums and monuments, or Niagra Falls, or the Grand Canyon, Mt. Rushmore, a cruise to Alaska. There are lots and lots of national treasures to see.

    Enjoy the 40’s. Just remember…at some point in your 40’s you will reach the apex of your life. You will begin to recognize that the old saying of “life is too short” will have more meaning. No longer is your future far, far down the road but you will find it to be just around the corner.

    Wow! Sounds like I just wrote a Debbie Downer paragraph. Not meant to be. Just making a point that now is the time act on life, family and yourself and to do the things you really want to do. Believe me when I tell you, the older you get, the quicker time goes. What used to be 10 years is now 5.

    Happy birthday to you. Make sure to post pictures when you are jumping out of that perfectly good airplane.

    • The idea of taking my kids along the way is a good one–and I’m amazed how well you already know my kids. My daughter absolutely would want to go see Mt. St. Helens; my son has expressed interest in fishing.

      The Debbie Downer paragraph made me laugh–especially your recognition of it.

      Thanks so much for the wisdom and the support. I hear you. I’m paying attention.

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