So, my birthday is coming up in about a month. Birthdays aren’t really a big deal in our family beyond age 10 or so and I’ve never done much to celebrate it. When I was married, my ex always lumped it together with Valentine’s Day (if he remembered it at all). Now Ryan always makes a big deal of it (bless her heart) but she’s been too little to bake and up until recently, I had to give her money to buy my present, so… you know (I know you single moms know). I did, however, celebrate my 40th. That was the year my ex told me he wanted a divorce (so he could move in with a 29-year-old), so I went to England for two weeks and got drunk. Well, I wasn’t drunk for the whole two weeks. Oh… wait… ummm… yeah… never mind…
Anyway… it’s not that this particular birthday is one of those big milestones, but it is one that ends in ‘5' and they always seem like mini-milestones. Don’t they? And this one – 45 – seems like an even bigger mini-milestone than the normal ‘5’ birthdays seem to me. See, for the first time in a long time, I feel like Diane again. In fact, I feel a lot like the Diane I was at 25, when I was still invincible – before life kicked me in the ass; before I had any idea that a human being could actually shatter. It’s not that I think I’m invincible again. Lord, no. I know better. But I feel stronger and more at peace with myself than I’ve felt in two decades. That strength and peace were hard-won and came, thankfully, with a little bit of wisdom about life – about love and pain and loss and betrayal and breaking and healing... like I said, about life.
So, given how I’m feeling, it only seems fitting that this year, I celebrate!
Well, the other day, I was having a mooch around Facebook and I found this page, which led me to this blog, where I got this great idea. Actually, it was the blog writer, Dean’s, idea… I just stole it. But I told him I was stealing it, so that makes it OK. Doesn’t it? I think it does.
Anyway, he decided that to celebrate turning (and being) 40, he’s going to do a 40/40 Challenge. What’s a 40/40 Challenge, you ask? Good question, my bloggy buds! He’s going to do 40 things over the course of the year… 40 challenging things (hence the word ‘challenge’ in the title), the success of each providing for mini-celebrations all year long! I thought it was an amazing idea! So, as I said, I stole it!
I did adapt it to suit my own needs (it’s my birthday, I can do what I want to). So it’s (obviously) a 45/45 Challenge for me. And instead of working it from New Year’s Day to New Year’s Eve, as Dean is doing, I’m going to work mine from February 15, 2010 (my birthday) to February 14, 2011.
I’ve been pondering my list of challenges for a couple of days and after reviewing my 2010 goals and my ever-growing ‘bucket list’, I’ve got about 40 so far (a few of which regular readers will recognize). I asked for ideas from some other friends and got some good stuff back, too, so I’m going to list what I’ve got today and ask you all for suggestions to finish it up. I need for them to be challenging but do-able (all at once or over the course of a full year), keeping in mind my woeful lack of funds and physical coordination. Actually, a lot of the challenges I have so far are physical, so things other than running/hiking/swimming/etc would be good. Have a look-see at what I’ve got, think of what you’d put on your own challenge list, and if anything else comes to mind, I’d love if you’d let me know via comments or email. Thanks!
1. Complete the 60-mile breast cancer walk in Chicago in August
2. Complete the 60-mile breast cancer walk in DC in October
3. Raise $5,500 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Fund
4. Run the Sherry Anderson 5K in April
5. Find and run a local 10K
6. Find and run a local 10-miler
7. Run the Patrick Henry Half Marathon in August
8. Submit 3 pieces of writing for publication (they need not actually be published to consider this a success)
9. Learn to salsa dance (stop laughing!)
10. Finish Pillars of the Earth (finally!)
11. Read World Without End (also finally!)
12. Take a cardio-kickboxing class
13. Take a yoga class
14. Skydive in October (yup, I’m really gonna do it!)
15. Swim 10 miles (640 pool lengths) over the summer
16. Wash my car once a month (as opposed to once a year)
17. Get a tattoo (on my left wrist)
18. Hike 25 miles of the Appalachian Trail
19. Do a mother/daughter camping weekend with ‘the girls’
20. Meet 5 bloggy friends (if you don’t want me to visit, say so now!)
21. Bake a loaf of bread from scratch (and eat it!)
22. Walk 1,200 miles
23. Get through levels 1 and 2 of the Rosetta Stone Spanish tutorial
24. Knit a scarf (which will require me to learn to knit)
25. Be a vegetarian for one full month
26. Go whitewater rafting (with class III – IV rapids)
27. Go up in the Washington Monument
28. Go up in the Statue of Liberty
29. See Phantom of the Opera on Broadway
30. Visit Well of Mercy retreat and be still/quiet for 2 days (shut it!)
31. Hike the Old Rag Mountain circuit in the SNP
32. Go ice skating in the sculpture garden at the Smithsonian
33. Give away/donate/get rid of one thing per day for 365 days
34. Reach the weight I was at 21
35. Do 45,000 crunches (it’s only about 125/day… every day)
36. Go completely diet soda-free for one full month
37. Volunteer twice/month at Our Community Place soup kitchen
38. Attend a comedy club
39. Attend a concert
45. Throw a party for my 46th birthday! (It'll be the first in 30 years!)
I can't wait to hear back from you guys. And I'm actually looking forward to my birthday so I can get started! Who'd a thunk it?