40 (SMART) things to do before 40

The Moon
Shoot for the Moon, but it’s not very SMART

Psychologists will tell you that making New Year’s resolutions don’t work. People usually try and change too much, which is unmanageable and ultimately leads to failure, or they don’t make specific enough goals and therefore don’t achieve anything. I trot this out every year when people ask me about resolutions, but while logically I know all this, there’s a little part of me that loves resolutions. I just love fresh starts, fresh pieces of paper, the national New Year mentality. When making goals people often recommend the SMART method. That means goals should be:

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Realistic

Time Bounded

By setting smart goals, you are more likely to achieve them. You can shoot for the moon – it worked for NASA – but most people would look up, realise it’s a really long way and they have no way of getting there, and just go and have a nap instead.

 

I haven’t set any New Year’s resolutions, I’m going one better. Well, actually 40 better. It’s 4 short years till I turn 40, and I am going down the incredibly cliché route of attempting to do 40 things before I hit the big  4-0. Turns out finding 40 challenges is actually quite hard, so I did a bit of research on the many other lists of Things to Do Before an Arbitrary Date. Travel came up an awful lot, as did doing stupid-assed things like throwing yourself out of a plane. Problem is, a lot of these things cost quite a lot of money, and while I’d love to go on a safari, trek Machu Picchu, and eat at a Michelin starred restaurant, I would also have to add ‘win the lottery’ to the start of my list. So I needed a more realistic list, such as 40 (realistic) things to do before you turn 40. And while I’m no fan of glossy magazine usually I liked Cosmopolitan’s list.

 

On my list you will find a range of things, some that involve saving up some cash or major presents (just sayin’…), others just involve a bit of effort on my part, things I might not otherwise do without some sort of impetus, like reading a really challenging book, learning to juggle. Some activities are just made for doing with friends, so I am looking for volunteers for busking and karaoke. Do I think I will complete all of these before I am 40? Probably not, but actually that doesn’t matter, because if it gets me trying new things, that’s all that matters. Some might turn out to be unrealistic – I already took off ‘Be a life model’ because it turns out that is actually harder to get into that you’d think, they want actual professional. Preliminary googling suggests I can learn how to back flip or somersault just by watching some videos. We’ll see how that turns out… While 40 things in 4 years seems an intimidating list I am hoping I can combine some, like a road trip, star gazing, sunrise and skinny dipping, that sounds like a trip for DH and I to the Scottish Highlands or similar. And I might want to perfect juggling, somersaulting and steel drums before trying busking.

 

So, are my goals SMART? Well, most of them are specific (need to scope out that Like Myself one), nearly all of them are measurable (but how will I know if I like myself…?). Each one is achievable on its own, whether all 40 are remains to be seen. Realistic will depend mainly on finances. And they are all time bounded, I have 4 years. Well, 4 years and 4 months. That’s loads of time!

 

Here’s the really important thing for you, reader – DO NOT JUDGE THE LIST. So you might have done all of those things by 27. Maybe making yourself watch a classic movie is a just an average weekend activity for you. Perhaps just watching a sunrise isn’t enough for you, you want to watch the sunrise over the Serengeti? That’s nice for you. What is a challenge for me may not be a challenge for you, and vice versa. I can already bake the best brownies, I can crochet, I’ve seen the Vatican, and I’ve walked over hot coals. You do yours, I’ll do mine.

 

Finally, you’ll notice that there are only 37 things on the list. I’ve left myself space to add things in at a later date as I am bound to come up with new ideas.

  1. Hot air balloon flight
  2. Learn to change a tyre
  3. Write something and send it to a publisher
  4. Go skinny dipping
  5. Have a trapeze lesson
  6. Sing in a karaoke bar
  7. Go on a zip wire
  8. See the Northern Lights
  9. Like myself
  10. Learn to juggle
  11. Busking
  12. Have a steel drum lesson
  13. Go star gazing
  14. Abseil down the Eagle Tower
  15. Find a mantra
  16. Have a make-up lesson
  17. Read a classic book that intimidates me
  18. Watch a sunrise
  19. Go on a road trip
  20. Do a new type of exercise class
  21. Go on a silent retreat
  22. Learn a challenging yoga pose (e.g. Pincha Mayuasana)
  23. Make a fancy cake
  24. Get a tattoo
  25. Get promoted
  26. Complete 30 Day Shred
  27. Do a MOOC
  28. Learn to play chess
  29. Learn a piece of origami by heart
  30. Learn to somersault or back flip
  31. Go to a lavender farm
  32. Buy 10 lottery tickets and give them away
  33. Invest in some stock
  34. Watch a classic film
  35. Do a 1000 piece puzzle
  36. Spend a day with just my mum
  37. Go to a restaurant with a cuisine I’ve never tried before
  38. ?
  39. ?
  40. ?

 

Happy New Year

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Germinating_seedling.jpg

 

Well, it’s annual “announce that I am going to start writing my blog and then fail to write any further posts” day again. How soon it comes round. I’m a sucker for a fresh start. There is something so exciting and optimistic about it. I am not a completer-finisher, but hey, you can’t be everything.

 

How much has changed for me in a year? Well, pretty much nothing. I’m in the same job, same house, DH and the kids are the same as ever. We just all got a year older. But that’s ok. In a year where friends and family lost parents, split from partners, left jobs, had operations and nervous breakdowns, I am grateful that nothing momentous happened this year.

 

Will I continue writing? I don’t know, but I do know I need to exercise my writing muscle, so I hope so. But if I don’t I won’t beat myself up. I don’t do that any more. (Ha ha, who am I kidding? Of course I do – but I’m working on it.)  Let’s just take this one day at a time.

A fresh start

Note book

New Year is like a new notebook, a fresh start, with limitless possibilities. I no longer make new year’s resolutions; they rarely last and just serve to make you feel bad when you fail to meet the unrealistic expectations you have in the heady last few hours of the previous year. I have long been at peace with the fact that I am a starter, not a finisher – well, if not at peace, a resigned acceptance. While self improvement is no bad thing, there is no point trying to be something that you are not.

So, where have I been for the past two years? Well, I completed a Master’s Degree in Occupational Psychology (I can finish some things…), more on that in due course no doubt. Then after two years of relentless work, reading only text books and journals, I gave myself a year of doing not very much. Well, not very much includes working, looking after the kids, getting a new job, and reading lots of trashy novels. But there have been no big projects or commitments.

And so 1st January rolls around again and I find myself with an itch. No, not that sort of itch – a metaphorical one. I feel the need to write again, to exercise my brain, and articulate my thoughts. What better way to start the new year than with a new blog. I was going to set up a brand new one (my third attempt at such in the past 12 months), but I have always struggled with a lack of theme, or a niche. I just can’t commit to any one thing. I don’t have nearly enough knowledge about any one topic to sustain a blog on any of my varied interests. And then I remembered this old faithful; the whole premise of this blog originally was to write about various things, a Jack of all trades, master of none (well, Master of Science twice over, thank you very much!). So, here I am, back for a while. It’ll be like I never left.

 

Gone but not forgotten…

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…just for a while anyway. Oh, hey there. Can’t believe you are still stopping by, especially since I’ve been rather neglectful of my little blog.

It’s not laziness, you understand. Quite the opposite. You may know that I am in the middle of studying for a Masters degree in Occupational Psychology. What with that and my job and the kids, life has been pretty busy. So, I just wanted to put a sort of placeholder in to say I’m still here, well, not here, but around, and I haven’t forgotten. I just have a new outlet for my writing, one that includes a bit more talk of “procedures”, “dual encoding”, and “heads up visual display unit” than I care for. But, it’s a means to an end. And if anyone wants to employee a trainee Occupational Psychologist, I’ve got a feeling I’m going to be a thumpin’ good’n…

So my lovelies, until a less manic time, hasta la vista, baby. I’ll be back. And so should you.

I can’t resist a new notepad…

I loathe going into town on a Saturday, but today I needed to get a present for my niece, so we popped in via the library where DH works. I wanted to get some crafty things for my niece and decided to try Wilkos. I love the shop, and for crafting stuff for kids it’s far cheaper than places like Hobbycraft. In store I found were some lovely stationery ranges, and I just wanted to share what I found as I love a bit of stationery!

This pad (£1), folder (80p) and pen (£1.25) are for my nieceMoustache padThis craft paper is also for my niece. A big stack of lovely patterns for £3. You can use it for origami, although it is a bit thicker than origami paper. I also have some that I bought for myself a while back.

Origami paperEver on the quest for ways to get myself and the household organised, I fell upon this pad with glee. Doesn’t look much from the outside…

To do padBut look at the lovely list section, squared paper and diary inside! I love it, and all for a bargain £1.60!

Inside the to do padThis one is for my college work. There were lots of lovely pads and exercise books with funky designs, but I wanted a hardback one for doing my work. This one was £2.50 with a matching pen for £1.25.

A funky book for collegeAnd finally this word puzzle pad will keep Betty’s brain ticking over this holiday, and the mini one is for Iris. Who doesn’t love a new notebook?!

Puzzle bookThere were loads more lovely designs, with pen sets and stickers; I wanted to buy it all! If you’ve got children going back to school in September – or just want to get yourself in the Back To School mood (can’t come soon enough!) then take a trip and fill your basket! Hmm this all sounds like a bit of a sponsored post by Wilkos doesn’t it? It’s not I promise! I’m just a stationery evangelist!

The Armchair Activist’s Handbook

Armchair activist book

So, I’ve been on the radio, been in the paper (national and local I might add), so my next step on my path to yarn bombing fame is…”Dilly Tante The Movie”! Well, no actually, it’s not. But I am in a book. Released this week, The Armchair Activist’s Handbook is Ruth Stokes’s journey to find ways that she can make a difference in the world “without getting dirty and cold, without getting a criminal record and without hurting herself or anyone else”.

You might remember at the end of last year Ruth came to visit me and I took her out on a yarn bombing mission. We brightened up some fenced of derelict land, and then popped to a cafe for lunch and a chat. Obviously the first thing I did when I downloaded the book was to search for the mention of me, and I was pleased to see I made the final cut! The book is available on Kindle for a bargainous £1.59. If you want to change the world, and do more than sign an online petition, but less than Occupy Wall Street, this book is a must read.

Crochet friends forever

With Georgia off to the States in a couple of days I’ve decided to smuggle myself in her suitcase. I won’t take up much room, I promise…

Crochet Amigrumi Mini-Me
Now you can finally see what I look like -stunning hey?

And to stop me getting lonely I made a mini-Georgia too:

Crochet Amigurumi Mini Georgia
If only I could really clone her…

The pattern was from Crochet Is For Lovers and it’s definitely a pattern I will keep on using.

Lovely DH whittled the mini crochet hooks for me from wooden skewers.

Wooden crochet hook

And now Mini Dilly and Mini Georgia can happily crochet together for eternity *sniff*

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Flower to the people

So I said I would write up my yarn bombing properly, didn’t I? This one was planned (in the loosest sense of the word) a few months ago. Georgia is leaving in two days <sob> and this was to be our swan song. With about a week and a half to go I made a plea on this blog for donations of flowers (hmmm, organisation not my strong point – can I put it down to denial at Georgia leaving?). I got reply from Haekelmonster in Germany promising me some flowers but concerned they wouldn’t get here in time. I promised that if they didn’t I would add them to the yarn bomb anyway. Anyway, a few days later a box appeared at my door. Goodness knows how she did it but this wonderful lady (with a little help from her son) had made 100 flowers for my yarn bomb, as many as I had made in a few months! The power of the internet!

Donated crochet flowers
A box of blooms

HQ this time was the Exmouth Arms, and this time I had accrued a posse! Two people I knew from Twitter but have been bumping into at a local craft night (one of whom came to my yarn bombing workshop) were game enough to join in. Emma (who blogged about it here) and Ally. Also with us was trusty yarn bombing partner Stitch This. We furiously finished flowers and strung them on chains while supping on wine and cider.

Yarn bomb HQ
In our underground HQ. Well, at the pub.

In typical fashion we had picked a target but not really scouted it out. I we had decided that the hospital would be a worthy target, and on the night we rocked up to find the best place for our creations. It became immediately obvious that the pedestrian entrance would be our best bet and we set to work, cable ties and scissors aplenty.

Yarn bomb

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Hospital yarn bomb
No it’s not the same picture as above reversed – it’s the other side!

We were watched suspiciously by a car park attendant who looked like he wanted to intervene and we prepared our defense, the main argument being who could have a problem with flowers at a hospital? (It would totally stand up in court…)

Hospital yarn bomb
We were being watched from the porta cabin

As well as crochet flowers, Stitch This decided to mix it up a little bit with Gnome bunting, doily flower bunting and flower pots. Don’t they look awesome?

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Hospital yarn bomb
Haekelmonster’s sone made this so we had to make sure it had pride of place 🙂

Satisfied we our work we took our customary shoe photo (I don’t know why either – I was Stitch This who started it!). Emma was most disappointed that she hadn’t worn her favourite shoes for the photo so I made sure to get a snap when I saw her wearing them!

My posse
My posse – we’re a hard bunch, can you tell?
Lovely purple shoes!
Lovely purple shoes!

A couple of days later we made the local press! But fame, or even notoriety isn’t our goal, we just want to crochet, make people smile and have a laugh, all achieved with this one I think 🙂

 

Thanks to Georgia <sob>, Stitch This, Emma, Ally, and Hakelmonster for all being so game and good fun. I’m thinking of starting a yarn bombing mailing list so I can keep track of people who want to join in. So if you are in the Gloucestershire area want to have a go (no pressure to do so), or aren’t in the area but would like to see your creations adorning our fair county email me at dillytanteblog@gmail.com and I will keep you up to date.