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Published: February 21st 2013
If you're trying to be miserable, it's important you don't have any goals. No school goals, personal goals, family goals. Your only objective each day should be to inhale and exhale for sixteen hours before you go to bed again. Don't read anything informative, don't listen to anything useful, don't do anything productive. If you start achieving goals, you might start to feel a sense of excitement, then you might want to set another goal, and then your miserable mornings are through. To maintain your misery, the idea of crossing off your goals should never cross your mind.
-John Bytheway, How to Be Totally Miserable
Welcome back to my blog! If you are a new reader then surely nothing seems awry. However, if you are an old companion, then you must realize how historically rare it is for me to actually write one of these. I do intend to be more diligent this year and produce more posts though. I also realize that I've said that nearly every year for a while now, so it is what it is. I do want to tell you though that this year might just be a bit different, in that I already have rough drafts of two additional posts ("Why Being a Communications Expert Makes You a Terrible Communicator" and "If It Walks, Talks, and Lives Like A Hipster, It's Still Not A Hipster"), so stay tuned for those. Also, as always, I'm happy (nay, excited) to take requests for topics. Topics pertaining to the outdoors or anything else about which you might want me to speculate. That's enough of the future-posts sales pitch though, and it's time to get into the real meat and potatoes of this post - my recent 28th birthday.
For those of you who are long-time readers, this paragraph is going to be mostly backstory, so feel free to skip it if you so desire. New (or highly forgetful) readers of course have that same choice, but I might recommend reading on as this part kind of sets the stage for the rest of my post. You see, it all started long ago (2 years) in a galaxy far, far away (Patagonia actually, so still pretty far but certainly within our own galaxy)... **This is where all people from my generation imagine Wayne and Garth wiggling their fingers and making "doodlydoo" noises. And if you didn't get that reference then go watch "Wayne's World". It's a solid flick.** I was sitting on a beach a few days before the end of our sea kayaking course when suddenly my birthday happened! This one was my 26th birthday, but aside from that not all that dissimilar from my 28th birthday a week ago. Strangely enough, I shared my birthday with one of my co-instructors on that course, also in the field with me. She was turning 29. She explained to me that for her whole life she had been coming up with birthday goals - one for each year of her age - to complete before her birthday the next year. That year, she was going to come up with 29 goals to complete in her 29th year. Being the mathmatical mind that I am, I informed her that actually she would need to do 30 goals for her 30th year, as turning 29 marks the end of your 29th year. A few days later when she was speaking to me again she reluctantly agreed. Anyway, from that day on I've been making lists of goals for my birthday, because I thought that idea was really neat. Before I get into what my goals are for this year, I would like to examine my list from last year and see how well I did (spoiler - not great):
28 Goals in my 28th Year - Revisited
1) Get my waist size down to 34 or below for at least 4 months
Fail. However, I am gradually decreasing in size and as of right now am a size 36, which is smaller then I've been in a long time.
2) Swim 2 miles in one go
Fail. I stopped trying. Bummer.
3) Run 28 miles in one go
Fail. See #s 1 and 2.
4) Do 100 pushups, 30 pullups, 200 situps, and 100 squats, each in one go
Mostly fail, but not totally. I did the squats and nearly 100 situps. Progress was made.
5) Learn to roll a kayak.
Success! Now I just need to get my off-hand roll down...
6) Learn to tie a "Monkey's Fist"
Success! I do still need lots of time to do it, but it has been / can be done.
7) Learn to ride a motorcycle
Fail. I never made time during a weekend to take the class.
8) Learn to cartwheel
Fail. Despite practice, this still elludes me
9) Learn to juggle (3 balls minimum)
Somewhere between fail and success. Certainly I'm better then I was a year ago. Would I call myself a "juggler" though? No.
10) Learn the American Sign Language Alphabet
Success! Some letters still mess with me a bit, but I think I've got it nearly down
11) Show $10,000 in my bank account
Fail. So much fail on that one. Moving along...
12) Meditate for at least 2 hours
Success! It took me a lot of practice to get to that point, but now I'm pretty comfortable with just myself for company. This one actually helped me to make some of the big decisions of the year.
13) Sucessfully build a friction fire at least 3 times
Success! But they're really hard. I'm going to bring lighters on campouts.
14) Read a whole book in Spanish, minimum 40 pages
Double success! I actually read two. The first, a book of fairy tales. The second (because I wanted slightly more complicated but still with tons of repetitive silly themes and characters without any depth whatsoever), Twilight, Book One. It's ok to laugh...
15) Kill, dress, and eat an animal (a fish doesn't count)
Fail. And I just had to go and put that fish caveat in there. Would have had it otherwise.
16) Take the GRE
Success! And I did pretty good on it too.
17) Apply to at least 3 graduate programs
Fail. But it turns out that those plans have been put on hold for a little while. You know, life deciding that your plans for it are silly. That seems to happen a lot to me...
18) Kiss somebody new (without getting slapped)
Success! Yep, that one worked out pretty well.
19) Go on a personal backpacking trip of at least 2 weeks of 200 miles
Fail. Once again, I didn't make time for it. I just kind of assumed that it would happen on its own. No more of that!
20) Go sky diving
Fail. This one made it onto this year's list though...
21) Read at least 15 new books cover to cover
Easy success! I did this in the first few months. I like to read.
22) Watch less than 10 hours of television/movies per week (on average)
This one is complicated. I'm not sure if I accomplished this or not, which seems to indicate a failure in the goal writing itself or at the very least one in the record keeping of a certain goal-setting 27 year old.
23) Attend a contra dance
Fail. Not yet.
24) Go to a cigar bar, in a suit, and drink scotch while smoking a cigar
I'm going to call this mostly success. I was wearing a tie after all...
25) Get above 12,000 feet on land
Fail. And it makes me sad. I only got up to about 7000 feet.
26) Write at least 12 new blog posts
Fail. You all know that.
27) Build a center console for my truck
Mostly fail, but I did rip out all of the moldy carpet and then decided that I didn't want to invest too heavily in that vehicle.
28) Perform at least 20 random anonymous acts of kindness
I like the sentiment behind this one but it's kind of a silly goal. Not because of the goal itself, but because of how it is written. What defines an act of kindness? Can something be truly random if it is my goal to do it. It's not objective enough to determine success or failure. I can do better than that.
So those are last years goals. Not my finest completion statistics, that's for sure. Hopefully I can do better this year. So without any further rambling, I give you my 29 goals for my 29th year:
29 in 29
1) Drink something older than me
I get to already say "Success" with this one. I had a Scotch that was aged for 28 years at my birthday party on Friday. Woohoo! Probably for the best that I chose Scotch and not, say, milk.
2) Complete the Bourbon Trail
3) Visit my friend Chris in Miami
4) Scratch off a new area from my "Scratch Off the Places That You've Been" map
5) Get to a size 32 waist
6) Compete in the Fig Adventure Race
7) Change my own oil once
8) Go skydiving
9) Take my motorcycle lesson
10) Write at least 12 new blog posts
11) Learn to cook something that I can't pronounce
12) Get a full, professional massage
13) Go to a hot yoga class
14) Camp out and eat pizza at Miguel's
15) Sleep in my hammock at least once
16) Get a KY Fishing License and go fishing at least once
17) Fly my kite at least once
18) Go rock climbing
19) Get a live bundled Christmas tree and plant it later
20) Go to Brown County State Park
21) Do the Wild Cave Tour at Mammoth Cave National Park
22) Run 29 miles in one week
23) Be a vegetarian for at least one month
24) Paddle a stand up paddle board
25) Get in salt water at least once
26) See a race at Churchill Downs
27) Go skiing
28) Obtain a new sleeping bag
29) Shave my beard into a mustache for a week
So Constant Reader, that brings us to nearly the end of this post. I know it has been quite long, and if you are still reading then I know that this last bit is meant exclusively for you. You see, for the past two years I have, alas, failed to complete all of my birthday goals. This year however, will be different. And I'd like your help. This year, I'm providing an incentive in order to encourage me to finish. In fact, as part of it I'm providing an incentive for all of my friends to encourage me to finish! Here's how it works:
*Every time you complete a goal with me, you get a point. (For example, if you go to a hot yoga class with me, you get a point.)
*For the ongoing goals, you get a point for helping me accomplish bits of it. (Suggesting a blog post or visit just one of the distillaries on the Bourbon Tour)
*At the end of the year, presuming that I complete ALL of my goals, the person with the most points can have an adventure with me, on my dime of course. Depending on who wins we can either recreate one of my goals, eat at a super fancy restruant (like Ruth's Chris or something), go paddling in the Boundary Waters for a week, visit Disney World, go hiking in the Rockies, or come up with something equally exciting. Only happens if I finish all of my goals though. So that's it. That's the challenge I'm issuing to try to finish all 29 goals. In advance, I want to thank you for helping me out. Should be a pretty fantastic year I think.
This is Soarpheat, signing off. Happy trails all!
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