18 February 2014

Thirty-five by thirty-five

Between the new year (just six weeks ago!) and my birthday, I always get super introspective and goal-oriented at this time of year. And I thought perhaps now might be the time to post them here, for all the world to see, and do something about them.

I didn’t make any overarching or long-term goals in 2013, but that’s perhaps understandable. You know how when a college sports team graduates all the top players and they spend a year with new freshman and sophomores, they call it a building year? I think 2013 was my building year. I graduated (literally) and replaced all the things in my life with new: new apartment, new city, new job, new coworkers, new friends.

But now that I’m settled, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about long-term goals again, so that I can be a contender in the championship game of life for 2014 and beyond! Back in early January, I started crafting a list of things I’d like to do and the person I’d like to become. Now that it’s my birthday, I think it’s appropriate to present:

Yup. The new, extended remix of the original! With a logo as fab as the person I hope I am in four years. Here goes, organized into five basic categories:

#1-6: Family

1. Start a family
Yeah. That should probably happen sometime in the next few years, I guess?

2. Host a family holiday
If it weren’t for that jaunt to Phoenix last Thanksgiving, I would’ve done that this past year. Ah well, a goal for the future!

3. Bake anniversary cakes each year
I had this goal back for our second anniversary, but I dropped the ball this past year as we were out of the country. But barring international travel, I want this tradition for our anniversaries!

4. Store my grandpa’s ashes
From holidays and fun cakes to THIS. Sorry. The point is, I have my grandpa’s ashes and they are currently, embarrassingly, being stored in the same container that I received them in. I gotta do something about that, for respect and for legacy and all that, and this is honestly the best way to make sure I accomplish this. Because if not: FOR SHAME.

5. Make annual photo books
I take SO MANY PHOTOS and yet, I look at them so infrequently. If my computer were to die tomorrow, they’re what I’d miss the most. So, I’d really like to get in the habit of making a small, tangible book of the year in photographic highlights. I recently received a coupon for a photo book, so maybe I can make a 2013 book before too much more time passes!

6. Go on a beach vacation
Speaking of photo-worthy memories...

Yup, we went on a beach vacation right after I turned 30. I expect I’ll need another before five years are up.

#7-10: Work

7. Publish three first-author papers
Three papers is what I’d like from my postdoc. I potentially have another coming out from my graduate lab, so I’d love to exceed this goal. But three good papers would make me happy!

8. Land a tenure-track job
I don’t have a lot of work-related goals, because I’d really rather just put all my effort into THIS ONE. Admittedly, these jobs are scarce nowadays... and yet, if I can afford to be picky, I want to be. So implicit in this goal is that it’s that’s perfect tenure-track position I want. C’mon, universe, work with me on this one.

9. Teach a course
If I get the aforementioned tenure-track dream job I want, this will be an easy item to check off the list. If I don’t, then well, at least this can be a consolation prize!

10. Write three successful grants
I’d like to make absolutely clear that I wrote this item in January. Therefore, some recent news I got...

... means I’m a third of the way there! This is a three-year grant (they dole it out one year at a time), so there’s no pressing need to write another anytime soon. Still, I’d still like to an early-career proposals, or some small grants to fund that lab at my dream job.

#11-17: Personal

11. Establish regular health checkups
This body ain’t gonna last forever. I guess I’d better start letting the professionals take care of it.

12. Own a pair of flattering black pants
If I could only count the number of dressing-room experiences that ended with me measuring just how many softballs I could theoretically store in the waistband of pants that actually fit my thighs:

(Mr. P: “You take pictures of stuff like that?” Me: “Well, yeah.” Mr. P: “Huh? Why?” Me: “I like taking photos of ridiculous things.” Mr. P: mumbles something about what exactly is the “ridiculous thing” here)

13. Start a for-real retirement plan
I have money socked away, but it’s by no means a retirement plan. I need to get those savings in an account for the long term. Because apparently I am a GROWNUP, UGH.

14. Send at least fifteen thank-you notes
I bought these thank-you notes a couple of years ago, and I’ve barely put a dent in them.

Here’s hoping that I can average a handwritten note saying “thanks” just a few times a year!

15. Get a smartphone
The giggles I get when people see my super-dumb cell phone are already of the “incredulous” and “derisive” sort. I can’t imagine what they’d say if I’m still toting that thing around in four years.

16. Get a massage
Because I’m worth it. And because my shoulders hurt, you guys.

17. Add twenty new friends to our Christmas card list
You all know how I love sending out Christmas cards!

But mailing out Christmas cards always feels like it walks that fine line between charming tradition and obnoxious narcissism, especially when sending to folks we don’t know super well. So adding twenty folks to our Christmas card list? That translates into making twenty new friends I won’t feel self-conscious about keeping in touch with for years to come! (Hey. Wanna be on my Christmas card list?)

#18-26: Home

18. Own a new set of pots and pans
I’ve had the current set since college, when I bought them (new) from a thrift shop for twenty bucks. I think perhaps a delayed wedding-present-to-ourselves might be in order in the next few years.

19. Give our office form and function
Since calling the foyer “mostly done”, I’ve turned my attention to this room, finally. It’s improved slightly since we moved in, but it still has a long way to go...

And speaking of perfecting the office:

20. Find the perfect credenza
You know what I want. Putting it on this list is how serious I am about finding it.

21. Finish organizing old photos
I gave myself an out on the 30 by 30 list because I only had to create the system to store photos. Needless to say, I did not finish it. This is why you write your goals carefully, people!

I have liked this new system when I’ve had to dig out an old photo, so I should get the rest of our photos in these boxes before the next move!

22. Clean and organize our attic and basement
There’s such potential there! Such potential that I have, until this point, completely ignored and covered in moving boxes!

It’s fairly unlikely that we’ll be moving again in the next few years, so it’d be worthwhile to expand my organizational skills into these spaces.

23. Paint our china cabinet
I have the paint at the ready! I just need warm weather and free time to synch up!

24. Move my clothes into our bedroom
This is a project that deserves a post of its own for explanation, really. Suffice to say: I want to move my clothes out of the guest room, there needs to be more wardrobe space, and IKEA will almost certainly be involved.

25. Upgrade our bookshelves to faux built-ins
Someday, my not-so-pretties. Someday.

26. Clear out 200 items from my life
I went through a major purge in 2012 – partly thanks to the 30 by 30 list, partly thanks to that giant move. I don’t feel like I have 200 items to purge right this minute, but I’m certain I could find more than a few. And if we find ourselves moving again before I turn 35, I’m sure I’ll want to unload at least that.

#27-35: Hobbies

27. Take a train trip
Yes, still. I might cop out and count one outside the US if needed, though.

28. Read fifty new novels, including five classics
You know me and my love of reading. But I’m upping the ante to include five “classics” – which is basically anything not new. I barely know anything about literature before 1990, and that’s pretty ridiculous considering how much I read!

29. See five classic movies
Well, as of this past weekend, I’m calling it four.

Having the patience to sit and watch any movie will be impressive enough, really. But being able to catch Mr. P’s classic movie references will be worth it!

30. Try ten new restaurants
Pretty much my favorite thing to do in this city is go out to eat. Fortunately, this city has a great food scene! Unfortunately, we go to the same places over and over. I could count the new restaurant we tried last week, but I won’t – there’s so many good restaurants, it shouldn’t be difficult to try ten of them!

31. Take three international trips
After all, I do love visiting other countries!

32. Visit five new cities
It was surprisingly difficult to visit just three new cities in my 30 by 30 list, but only because I kept traveling to cities I’d seen before! I’m presenting the challenge again, though, to keep things interesting.

33. Take part in three outreach events
Lately I’ve been saying yes to a lot of tours and demos here on my campus, but I’d really like to take the science off-campus to others. It’s not always easy, but considering taxpayers are footing the bill for my grant up there, talking to them about science is the absolute least I can do!

34. Take part in a church event that isn’t mass
Nothing like getting outside my comfort zone to exercise my spiritual muscles.

35. Take part in a musical performance
I wanted to be sure to include something musical, even though my piano is several states away. If nothing else, I can carry a tune, if only in a bucket!

And finally: revisit and revise the list regularly
Because there’s no point in having newly-unachievable goals, and because accomplishments should be celebrated!

WHEW. That’s quite a list! Apologies for the length, but I always wished I had a single 30 by 30 post for reference (instead of breaking it up over multiple posts). If you stuck with it, and stuck with me, then thanks for reading and holding me accountable! Let the championship years begin!


Rachel C said...

I love your 35x35 list. It makes me want to sit down and make some goals for myself. I especially love #1 because it's so realistic in the "yeah, I'll do that but let's not really discuss." I can't wait for all your updates. I'm also intrigued to know if the logo wears well since it's gold, which I know is your current love. Will you still love gold at 35 or will it seem dated? :-)