Monday, October 17, 2011

101 Things to do Before You Turn 40

by Kristin McCracken
The Year I Turn 40

Well, it happened. I turned 40. And the crazy thing is that I survived. I guess a week in Jamaica with my closest friends and family was enough to ease me into the next decade. I couldn't have asked for a better time; surrounded by my favorite people. If any of you follow me on Facebook, you'll remember that back on July 3 of this year I started a countdown using this very book. 101 days to calculate how much I have accomplished in my 39.9 years. I think I did pretty good! The complete list is below, but the final breakdown was 76 out of 101. Not bad! There are a few out of those 25 that I may never try (like #20: Camping and I just don't get along.) But there are also a few I might sneak into this new decade (#59 would be glorious). This was a very fun little exercise, but now I need a nap to recuperate from last week's dream vacation...

#101: Quit your book club. CHECK! In the 90s I was in an awful one and am still scarred by Charming Billy and Santa Evita. 1-1

#100: Bridge the Baby Chasm. CHECK! The book says be there for your friends with children and "Be the hippest auntie there is." Enough said!! 2-2

#99: Admit to everything. "A candid woman is a refreshing thing... 'Fess up and move on." CHECK! 3-3!

#98: Throw an Oscar party. NOPE. Since I see about one movie a year, this wouldn't work. But a Red Carpet or Tony party... 3-4

#97: Make out with the best man. CHECK! But I won't say who! ...4-5

#96: Eat the worm. "It's said to hold magical, mystical powers of happiness beyond belief." Unfortunately, I haven't experienced that one yet. Yuck. 4-6

#95: Build a nest egg. Well, if 401(k) counts, then check. But according to the book, it's more like real estate and investments, so no. But I'm taking this one anyway! 5-7

#94: Take your parents out to dinner. Check! 6-8

#93: Date a 25-year-old, one last time. "Find a boytoy and have one last fling." Sounds like something I need to do in the next 93 days...any takers?? 6-9

#92: Put a lid on it. Stop gossiping. I've tried. Never gonna happen. 6-10

#91: Karaoke. Um, I own a karaoke machine, so CHECK! Although *some* say that I'm no good, I say I have a song in my heart. 7-11

#90: Host. "When entertaining friends, think of their comfort first...make sure there's plenty of beer and food and that each sleepover guest gets clean sheets, towels and a washcloth." CHECK! Just ask Marcy Bricker Ritzert! 8-12

#89: Scuba Dive. I've snorkeled, but have yet to scuba. Perhaps in Jamaica, mon?! 8-13

#88: Document your life. Well, sort of. Probably not to the extent the book suggests. But I scrapbook and ask the elders questions, so I'm gonna take it. 9-14

#87: Stop the tchotchkes. Instead of 'things' give your friends experiences...massages, pedis, gift certificates, etc. Check! I think I have enough cute frog stuff and my pals enjoy the bigger picture more than that beach-scented candle :) 10-15

#86: Serve on a jury. "It's a disgrace that so many people take pride in shirking their duty when they instead could be part of an amazing, complicated human microcosm..." I couldn't agree more! CHECK! What a great experience. 11-16

#85: Play poker. The book says learn how, so since I already know, I'm taking it. But I don't like it...not a fan of betting on cards. But euchre, now that's my jam. 12-17

#84: Musically upgrade. "A grown woman should have a sophisticated and diverse musical library..." CHECK! My music ranges from Bon Jovi to Broadway musicals to Bach. 13-18

#83: Yell at someone. "sometimes expressing your anger is called for." CHECK! I kinda love yelling:) 14-19

#82: Remove it. As in laser hair removal. Would love to, but mama needs to save her money first. 14-20

#81: Lose the snooze (button). Get up the first time the alarm goes off. Um, never going to happen. I've never been a morning person, not since birth. 14-21

#80: Pierce something other than your ear. Nope, I scar too easily. 14-22

#79: Strain your brain. "play Scrabble...read a book and look up the unknown words." Am I a total dork if I confess I have a dictionary in my nightstand? Don't answer that...I get this one. 15-23

#78: Rent the classics. Learn the dash, class sass and moxie of old movies. Natalie Wood happens to be one of my favorites...CHECK! 16-24

#77: Pay off credit card debt. Done! I actually can't sleep if my credit cards carry a balance...and I have lots of cards! 17-25

#76: Think outside the box. As in a box of hair dye. Good lord, I haven't home-colored in 20 years! New color every 5 weeks too. This one's a cinch. 18-26

#75: Do something romantically cheesy. I'm kinda glad I don't have anyone to "go on a hot air balloon ride at sunset" with. That makes me throw up in my mouth a little. 18-27

#74: Drop $50 on a bottle of wine. Most definitely have not. Maybe $40 in a restaurant, but never for home enjoyment. Actually, my taste buds quite enjoy Two-Buck Chuck. 18-28

#73: Date a musician. "Go to his gigs, stare down his groupies..." Well, it was a long time ago, but it's definitely been done. Yay! 19-29

#72: Drive cross-country. Sorry, no interest. In college we drove straight through to Sanibel Island...24 hours. Never again. I now have a 4-hour time limit in the car. I'll go see the sights of America, but I'll fly to each one. 19-30

#71: Control the future of your face. Wash with rich cleanser and moisturize!!!...wear sunscreen... No-brainer, right? 20-31

#70: Say NO. Plan for downtime, and don't overschedule your life. This used to be hard for me, but I'm currently a champ at picking and choosing. 21-32

#69: Ride a Harley. You'd think with all the people I know, this would be a Yes, but I'm too chicken. 21-33

#68: Accentuate the positive. Negativity is exhausting, so when someone asks how you are, talk about something good. I work hard to be positive, but there's always room for improvement. I'm taking it. 22-34

#67: Say yes to bubbles. "Make it your personal policy to accept champagne whenever it's offered...and always find reasons to celebrate." I heart champagne!! And a Kir Royale....mmmmmm. 23-35

#66: Redistribute the wealth. Be a good tipper and know who/when to tip. Most definitely. 24-36

#65: Unsubscribe. "Magazines are life-suckers to the highest order...Cancel all but one." this speaks the truth for me. I stare at the pile then read them mainly out of obligation. I quit all but one and couldn't be more relaxed. 25-37

#64: Confront bullies, racists and homophobes. Whom you decide to confront is a personal choice... "Even if you can't change the world, you can still try to change a mind. " Amen. 26-38

#63: Supply your own power. "Understand the difference between Wi-Fi and FireWire...the next time the tech guy comes to your office, pay attention." Uh, I am the tech guy. 27-39

#62: Sculpt yourself. "If you can't accept the way you are, you're facing constant misery and wishing your life away. No one is perfect. No one." 28-40

#61: Teach a class. "Hold a session at work on the latest computer skill you've mastered." Lucky for me that's my job! 29-41

#60: Have a kid if you want one. ...I have two amazing nieces that bring so much joy into my life...for them I am truly grateful. 29-42

#59: Go to Paris. Mais oui, on my bucket list for sure, just isn't gonna happen before I hit the next decade. Alors, un de ces jours... 29-43

#58: Reunite. "Some people are surprised by 20-year friendships..." Not me! Zipfiesta is a perfect example of how I try to keep in touch with dear old friends. 30-44

#57: Be your own Schneider. Wow, just saying that makes me sound old... Anyway, while I might have "overcharged" my cordless drill, I do have lovely pink tools. I also have a very handy father. Can I take a half point? 31-45

#56 Give a really great toast. Wow, I can't say I've ever had the opportunity. But with my amazing presentation skills, when the time comes, I'll be ready :) 31-46

#55: Buy a real piece of art. "you can find undiscovered gems at local art shows." Amen. I have tons of pieces from said shows...that's the best way to find art! I also have lots of artsy jewelery... 32-47

‎#54: Take a stand. "Go to a political march. Run for office." The last office I held was secretary of the French Club in high school. I've tried, really, but politics just isn't my thing. 32-48

#53: Master a mass-transit system, but know how to hail a taxi. Listen, I'm no stranger to public trans...I embrace it. This one's easy. 33-49

#52: Cut someone loose."How do you get rid of the human equivalent of a piece of driftwood?" I have definitely removed negative energy *friends* from my life. I highly encourage anyone else out there to break it off with those friends who are life-suckers. You'll be glad you did. 34-50

#51: Vibrate. A little TMI for FB. That is all. 34-51

#50: Enact a two-drink maximum. "two drinks should certainly be enough." I'm sorry, but that's just stupid. 34-52

#49: Play an instrument. Unfortunately, I can't play a thing unless you count the tambourine I like to wear around my neck. Can't read music either. 34-53

#48: Make a new friend each year. Sing it with me, "make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other's gold." I think I do a pretty good job at this, but I also believe that at some point one doesn't need more friends...quality is better than quantity. But, my friends, I heart all of you! 35-54

#47: Smell good. "Sweet-smelling nectar can make you irresistible." In college it was Design by Paul Sebastian. Nowadays it's anything I can get my hands on that smells like pink grapefruit. I have lots of great scents, but still need to find the perfect clean, citrus eau de toilette. At least I don't stink! 36-55

#46: Dump the Gap. "start supplementing your wardrobe with real clothes that are neither disposable nor replaceable on any corner, and that actually say something distinctive about you and your style." I can definitely say that I walk out of the Gap with nothing most of the time...and I really do try to buy things that not everyone else is wearing. My stupid short legs hold me back a lot, but still I try to keep stylish and current. 37-56

#45: Boycott February 14. "Who the hell was St. Valentine, and where, exactly, did Cupid's arrow shoot him?" Seriously, it's a *holiday* born from Hallmark and guilt. "Just because" occasions are so much more fun and meaningful. So far, THIS is my favorite one. 38-57

#44:Take a sabbatical. Ha! Dream on...who makes that kind of money??? At least not most people I know. But I am lucky enough to have 5 weeks vacation...6 weeks beginning in May. That time off definitely keeps me sane. 38-58

#43: Go fishing. "Commune fully with nature." While I haven't fished in a long time, I did like it and would definitely do it again. I even had my own fishing license in college...ha! 39-59

#42: Fill up your jewelry box. With heirlooms and a few luxury pieces. I'm lucky to have Tiffany earrings and even luckier to have my grandmother's wedding band. Plus, my collection has grown so much that I asked for a big jewelry box last Christmas. And the pieces I've bought from local artists I hope to pass down one day. 40-60

#41: Kiss the frogs. "Dating can be a situation fraught with land mines for single women in their thirties...Hold out for the prince, because you're worth the wait." Damn right I am!!! 41-61
#40: Play matchmaker. I honestly can't think of anyone I've ever set up. And let's face it, if there's a successful, funny hottie out there, he's mine! 41-62

#39: Be a boss. While I'm not currently anyone's boss, I've always been a leader (thinking about the RA years). I was also the "assistant" boss when I worked at Pier 1, so I'm taking this one :) 42-63

#38: Purge. Throw out the old junk. Think before you buy. Don't bring any more crap into your life. Easy. I hate clutter. I'm about to tackle a storage closet in the basement too, just because it got a little wet from a leaky pipe. Just say no to tchotchkes! 43-64

#37: Break your own record. This is like run a marathon or climb Mount Kilimanjaro. And I can't take credit for any of it. 43-65

#36: Quit smoking. Glad I've got nothing to quit. Easy. 44-66

#35: Sign each book you read. Reason being to remember when you read it. Well, I have a blog where I do more than just indicate the dates read...I also review and rate everything I read (although I'm about 6 post behind right now!). I heart books. 45-66

#34: Ask a friend for help. "You might have become the Rock among your friends, the one everyone comes to for support, guidance and a dry shoulder." Allow them to return the favor. OK, I'll take it! 46-68

#33: Drive a car that costs more than $50,000. Not own one, drive one. Go to a fancy dealership and ask for a test drive overnight. Drive it around then park it in the driveway and take a picture with it. I haven't done this, but doesn't it sound like fun?! I need to make this happen. Pronto. 46-69

#32: Show gratitude. "Thank you notes let people know that you have manners and that you appreciate even the smallest gesture." Think outside the box too when sending notes....they aren't just for gifts anymore. I wholeheartedly agree. 47-70

#31: Expose the wizard. Try get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a game or talk show. While I've never done that, I was in the audience of the Today Show in June 2001. And I have the VCR tape to prove it! That counts, right? 48-71

#30: Take a mental-health day. "Call in sick and don't tell anyone." This is brilliant and necessary. One of my fondest mental health days was spent alone in the pool and then off for a pedicure. Glorious. 49-72

#29: Discover your superpower. "Maybe you've got a special talent no one knows about...use your innate Spidey-sense to discover it, embrace it, and exercise it regularly." I've definitely got some tricks up my sleeve. Next time you see me, ask me about them! 50-73

#28: Go to a movie alone. This is a lovely idea, but I only see about two movies a year. And since I typically give in to another friend's invitation, I can't see me using one of these visits by myself. I would definitely go to the theatre alone though. 50-74

#27: Root, root, root. Pick a team, follow them. Go Tribe!! Go Zips (they need a lot of support ;) 51-75

#26: Instead of a stage name pick a "stage age." I. Love. This. One. And I already plan to leave 13 years in Jamaica, mon, so when asked (after Oct. 12) I'm 27 and sticking to it. Thank you in advance for your understanding. 52-76

#25: Lose gracefully. "Being a sore loser is not a healthy way to live...loss builds character..." I have definitely tried to become less competitive and aggravated when things don't go my way. It's hard, but I'm trying! 53-77

#24: Surprise someone. "What's more fun than throwing a big bash and inviting everyone you know?" A couple years ago I threw a great surprise party...and the guest of honor was thrilled. Plus she now has more black socks than anyone else! 54-78

#23: Ride in a limo. Prom night in the 80's doesn't count, according to the book. But I went to prom in a Buick, not a limo. Nowadays I rent a limo as often as possible. New Year's was the last...so fun. 55-79

#22: Hang up your binoculars. "Vow never to go to an arena concert again, but break your vow the minute [Fleetwood Mac] gets back together. You won't regret it." It's so true...I am way pickier about shows I see and am so over the Q and Blossom. Blech. 56-80

#21: Let the spirit move you. The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. "Take a deep breath and enjoy." 57-81

#20: Sleep under the stars. Although this quest advocates this idea, it also says, "What sounds fun about peeing outside and counting the insects invading your space?" And I couldn't agree more. Camping is probably my number one most hated activity to date. I can say I've done it, but it will be a cold day in hell before I go again. Dirty feet and sleeping bags are my worst enemies. 58-82

#19: Give something back. "Make this the year that you commit yourself to improving the world." I've already donated time to people in need and donated cash to friends raising money for charities, so there's no reason to stop now! 59-83

#18: Habla sie Fran├žais? "We arrogantly expect the world to speak English to us, and they mostly, resignedly, comply." Learn a few words and phrases for when you go to other countries. Well, I already know I can ask for a cerveza in Mexico like a champ, so I bet Jamaica will be a breeze, mon. 60-84

#17: Throw out any t-shirts with logos on them. "Keep 5 of your favorites (and newest) for your workouts and dump the rest." I have to say I don't even wear big t-shirts to work out...who needs that bulk? Plus, I'm not a big fan of being a walking advertisement. Any old gems I can't bear to part with are stored in a box in the basement...not taking up precious dresser drawer space. 61-85

#16: Ride a roller coaster. "Wave your hands in the air like you just don't care." This quest refers more to riding one now, but while I love the speed of a coaster, I still hurl every time. I'd like to think I rode (and barfed) enough in my youth to keep me covered for life. 62-86

#15: Have a male friend. "Man-oh-man, can they gossip!" I don't have as many close guy friends as I did in college, but still a few good ones. 63-87

#14: Ditch your college furniture. So easily done! There's something very rewarding about having nice, matching furniture that you paid for yourself. I love making my apartment as cozy and welcoming as possible. 64-88

#13: Name something. A boat, a person, a dog. I have an uncanny talent for inventing the perfect nickname...and they tend to last for life. I also know that I get a yacht, her name will be Livin' on a Prayer. 65-89

#12: Divorce your hair stylist, or at least cheat. Oh the HORROR! That would never happen! I divorced my last one about 15 years ago and I am still amazed every 5 weeks. Who knew you could do so much with color?! 66-90

#11: Get someone else to love your favorite movie. I have so many favorites that I think are also most people's favorites, but here's one you have to see and will immediately love: Grosse Pointe Blank. See it. Love it. Watch it again. My job is done. 67-91

#10: Take the long way home. "Explore the options right around the corner." I love to drive through different streets in Lakewood because I always find a house I hadn't seen before. I'm also a big fan of being a tourist in my own city. Last year's 8-9-10 Celebration involved just that! 68-92

#9: Learn to tango. This one refers more to having two left feet....which I do not. Thanks to dance lessons all the way through college, I can cut a rug with the best of them. And, no, I don't need to look at my feet when learning a new step. 69-93

I do not know what happened to #8!!!!

#7: Charm your way into (or out of) something. "Talk your way out of a speeding ticket without resorting to tears." Been there, done that. Yeah, this one's pretty much my b*tch. 70-95

#6: Figure out why you want to be when you grow up. Although..."A career doesn't have to complete you, but it should give you relative satisfaction." Amen to that. 71-96

#5: Colorize. Don't be addicted to black, beige and white clothes. Paint your walls a festive color. While I love white pants, I need lots of color in my wardrobe! In also have a yellow kitchen with periwinkle cabinets. Enough said! 72-97

#4: Never show up empty-handed. What kind of guest do you want to be? Bring something for your hostess!! DUH! 73-98

#3: Bring something back to life. I'm so not the thrifter, but I am pretty good at reviving plants. I have a plant I rescued from work over 10 years ago and it just started sprouting babies a few months ago. So yeah, I can raise the dead. 74-99

#2: Retreat. Where do you go when you need to be alone? Find a place, in or out of the house. My in-home retreat is my ever-faithful papasan chair. Out of the house....yoga. Alone time is beyond important for me. 75-100

#1: Accept that forty is the new thirty. Get over yourself. Find activities that keep you young, and surround yourself with people who love you. The world will be your oyster for the decades to come. 76-101

And that, my friends, is what's called *saving the best for last.* It's time to go to bed because I am leaving for the airport at 4am. The time has come!!! Hooray beer! Montego Bay, we're on our way!