The List



Today I turn 39.


Dad always says that as you get older your body acts its age, but your head never stops believing it’s 23. Well, now my knees creak and I’ve developed a rather unnerving fascination for winceyette but, it’s true, I don’t feel terribly different from the day before I turned 29 (although that day turned out to be pretty brilliant since it was the day my husband proposed).


Age in terms of number doesn’t bother me, but the notion of time passing without having made the greatest use of it does. Which is why, in January, I came up with the idea of The List. I would create a list of 39 things that I would attempt to achieve as a 39-year-old.* In other words, I’ve decided to have my mid-life crisis a year early and, being something of a control freak, to plan the crap out of it.


The List


So, after four months of deliberation and tinkering, I present to you The List. I know what you’re thinking: there’s more than 39 things on here. It’s not my appalling maths at work, but a recognition that some of the items you see here are aspirational. I am only in so much control (much as this pains me) of certain outcomes. So, to coin a piece of corporate jargon, I’ve given myself a stretch target. And, if I get through this little lot, then maybe I’ll just take my 40th year off.


I’ll let you know how I get on.


The List

  1. Find an agent
  2. Get a poem published
  3. Do a Skydive
  4. Do a triathlon
  5. Read 39 books recommended by other people
  6. Take a bookbinding course
  7. Keep a diary every day
  8. Take a photo every day
  9. Read a new poem once a week
  10. Visit 39 places in London that I’ve never been to before
  11. Take a trapeze class
  12. Take on the Honister Via Ferrata extreme
  13. Watch every film that has won a Best Picture Oscar
  14. Visit a burlesque club
  15. One trip to driving range and one game of golf
  16. Try 10 new foods twice
  17. Take a first aid course
  18. Go on a patisserie course
  19. Learn to create a dish from 39 different countries
  20. Donate blood
  21. Put £39 on a bet at a casino
  22. Go to an opera
  23. Watch all six Star Wars films over a weekend followed by new one at cinema
  24. Learn one new word a week
  25. Learn Moonlight Sonata on piano
  26. Finish my 30s fitter than I started
  27. Try archery
  28. Try snowboarding
  29. Go up in a hot air balloon
  30. Go to an art gallery in Amsterdam
  31. Learn origami
  32. Practise meditation 39 days in a row
  33. Go paintballing
  34. Take a proofreading course
  35. Prepare a dinner party for more than six people
  36. Get myself on Pointless
  37. Do 39 cultural things
  38. Pottery taster session
  39. Get an ‘overheard’ into Time Out
  40. Write 39 blog posts (not all of them about this list)
  41. Visit 10 drinking establishments with a connection to the number 39
  42. Find out about becoming a dementia friend
  43. Visit 39 independent London bookshops
  44. 39 random acts of kindness for my husband and family
  45. Join the Butterfly Conservation group
  46. Become an Art Fund supporter
  47. Spend one day every month keeping in contact with my family (including aunts/grandparents/cousins)
  48. See Everton play at Goodison Park
  49. Learn how to use Photoshop properly
  50. Volunteer for something


*there’s no such thing as an original idea and I’ve really enjoyed researching other people’s lists out on the internet for inspiration.