18 February 2015

35 by 35: one year in

As of yesterday, dear readers, I am thirty-two years of old. Which sounds about right, I suppose – old enough to be in that no man’s land of uninteresting non-milestone birthdays, young enough to still claim that young, hip demographic marketers love (though not quite a millennial). I’ll take it!

And as promised, it’s time to revisit that list I set out exactly one year ago today.

I’m now a quarter of the way to the deadline I originally set four years in the future! How am I doing? Let’s see...

#1-6: Family

1. Start a family

Well, yeah, that happened.

I didn’t necessarily expect to be checking this item off the list in the first year, but here we are! Family of three, check!

2. Host a family holiday

Check! Again, thanks to Baby P!

3. Bake anniversary cakes each year

I didn’t blog about it at the time (because the time was nuts), but I made this salted caramel cheesecake for our fourth anniversary this year. So, I can check off this item for 2014, at least.

This year marks half a decade, and I’m already on the lookout for a killer recipe. Anyone have a good one?

4. Store my grandpa’s ashes

Sorry, Pa. He is still in our cabinet. At least it is a nice cabinet?

5. Make annual photo books

I just covered this one – progress, check!

I’d still like to make one for 2013 and another for pregnancy during 2014, but at least I have something to show for last year.

6. Go on a beach vacation

Not in 2014, we didn’t. And probably not in 2015. But that’s ok, it’ll be more fun when Baby P is older, anyway!

#7-10: Work

7. Publish three first-author papers

What timing: I do believe I have a first-author paper coming out today in one of the top journals in my field. (If not this issue, then the next – I’m a bit out of the loop on leave). Better yet? It’s on the cover!

Ok, that was our submission, not the real cover. But I did get a first-author paper, and it will be on the cover, and that’s enough for a big ol’ check of progress! One down, two (probably not-as-impressive) papers to go!

8. Land a tenure-track job

Not yet. I’ll start applying this year!

9. Teach a course

Also not yet. I taught a few one-off lectures, but not a whole course by myself. There were opportunities, but I was worried about bailing on the students early with Baby P on the way. It might come with the tenure-track job, though, so I’m not worried yet!

10. Write three successful grants

Again NOT YET. I still have the one from last year, though, so only two more to go!

#11-17: Personal

11. Establish regular health checkups

Well, I did have to have regular checkups this past year. For obvious reasons.

And this guy will have them in the future.

Honestly, that experience has helped me get over a lot of my “ugh seeing a doctor is so hard” malaise that kept me out of the healthcare service industry for so long. It’s not easy to deal with insurance or make appointments with specialists or go to the pharmacy, but at least now it seems like something I can keep doing in the future, at least as necessary. So I’m actually gonna call this a CHECK. I did say establish, after all.

12. Own a pair of flattering black pants

I actually got super close to this goal this year. Behold, from H&M, as worn to see Ben Folds with SLSO!

They were well worth every penny I spent, on the order of perhaps two thousand pennies, which is not a lot at all. So I forgive them for being a little too low-rise, such that I’m in constant fear of whale tail whenever I sit down. They’re otherwise flattering, though, so I guess this could be a check, but I’m holding out for better!

(PS: please note there is an actual Wikipedia page for whale tail. This is our world.)

13. Start a for-real retirement plan

Blah. No. I have paperwork for what should be my retirement plan currently sitting on my kitchen table. It’s a letter from the company holding my assets, made out to my maiden name (that I changed in 2010) and requesting I update my email address that expired over a year ago. I should probably get on that?

14. Send at least fifteen thank-you notes

Uh, yeah. Sixty-eight and counting, so CHECK. Thanks again, Baby P!

Which reminds me, I have five more that need writing ASAP...

15. Get a smartphone

Holy moly, how did new parents do it before they could have Google, a video camera, and spouse-at-work communication device stuck in the waistband of their crusty pajama pants at all times?

Check, indeed.

16. Get a massage

Not yet! I thought about getting a prenatal massage, but... meh. It’ll be a nice mom’s day out treat sometime!

17. Add twenty new friends to our Christmas card list

I added several this year, but not quite twenty. I’ve got about fourteen more to go if I’m counting addresses, not people. Who wants to be on my Christmas card list?!

#18-26: Home

18. Own a new set of pots and pans

Mr. P pre-emptively took care of this one last year. Check!

19. Give our office form and function

I’ve done a lot more on this item than I realized, actually. Seven of the eleven items have been checked off the sub-list! And it’s come a long way, even in just one year! (That swing has since been relocated, even.)

So while I’ve improved both form and function, it’s not quite there yet. I have a few projects in mind that will help, though. Perhaps by next year I’ll have this checked off!

20. Find the perfect credenza

In this post, I explained that the perfect credenza spot was being taken over by some existing shelves we had, just with a new coat of paint.

I’d still like to find that perfect credenza, but if our home doesn’t allow that perfect-credenza-spot anymore, at the very least I’d like more substantial paper storage than the magazine files. Babies come with a lot of paperwork, you guys!

21. Finish organizing old photos

Oh, you guys. I have not. And there are so many new ones coming. At least I think I can do this before we move again?

22. Clean and organize our attic and basement

Well, I did clean out the basement. It’s not Pinterest-worthy by any means, but at least we’re utilizing the storage efficiently, and I don’t have to re-launder any clean clothes that land on the floor.

But the bins of baby clothes could use some better shelving, and the attic is still an object lesson in what happens when I have a lot of space that I don’t regularly look at (i.e., a disaster). So, partial credit, but not quite a check!

23. Paint our china cabinet

Did that. Check!

24. Move my clothes into our bedroom

Did that too. Thanks for the CHECK, Baby P!

Of course, now I really need to update this item to finishing the dang wood frames to spruce up those IKEA wardrobes. All in good time, I guess!

25. Upgrade our bookshelves to faux built-ins

Not this year. Maybe when I finish the wardrobes?

26. Clear out 200 items from my life

I didn’t count, but I’m 100% certain this can be a big CHECK. That phase one occurred before we really knew about Baby P, and there were so many more Goodwill trips made in the coming months.

So yeah! Let’s keep it up!

#27-35: Hobbies

27. Take a train trip

Well, that is how I got all over Switzerland and Italy last year.

So check, I suppose? Still would be fun to do this in the States, though!

28. Read fifty new novels, including five classics

I barely kept up with a list this year, and I’m most definitely behind if I needed to read 12-13 to keep pace. But here’s some of what I did read (or listen to, as the case my be):

Dreams of Joy by Lisa See
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J. K. Rowling)
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Casebook by Mona Simpson

I also read Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman, which is technically a memoir, and Expecting Better by Emily Oster, which is nonfiction. So they can’t really count towards my novel list. Neither can The Goldfinch (my favorite book of 2014), as I think I read it in January before I wrote the list. So, just five. And zero classics! I’ll have to pick up the pace somehow – perhaps starting with the four books I have stacked on my nightstand.

29. See five classic movies

Not this year. Still only have Casablanca in my tally!

30. Try ten new restaurants

Ok, this was tackled with gusto this year. If I limit it to new STL restaurants, I tried:

Llywelyn's Pub
Brasserie by Niche
Nathalie’s (pictured below)

Blood & Sand
Strange Donuts
Salt and Smoke
Plus a bunch of new food trucks

And probably more – those were just the more memorable meals. So yeah, almost there! I have several in mind to complete this already.

31. Take three international trips

Two down! Switzerland and Italy, check and check!

One to go! And it’s almost certainly gonna be Norway, which means you’ll get to hear tales of traveling internationally with a baby. Ahhhh!

32. Visit five new cities

This is apparently the blog post in which I mention Switzerland and Italy constantly, isn’t it?

There was Thun, Interlaken, Bern, and Zürich...

And Lecce and Naples (I’d already been to Rome).

But if I recall, I only hit ONE new U.S. city: Ventura, CA (by way of Las Vegas, which would also be a new city, but I didn’t leave the airport even during my extended layover so it doesn’t count).

So, yes. There’s seven already! But let’s see if I can’t travel as much within my country as outside it and get my five cities that way. This year I’m looking at Oslo, but also Snowbird, Utah. We shall see!

33. Take part in three outreach events

Somehow I became an outreach point person for several people this year, so several opportunities presented themselves. Two different high school facility tours/demonstrations, one demonstration station at another high school open house.

Even more excitingly, I also was an invited speaker at a workshop for secondary education teachers. Crazy that I got all those done in one year (and managed to be a snappily dressed lady scientist at all of them). Check!

34. Take part in a church event that isn’t mass

Does Baby P’s baptism count? Yeah, not really. Still to-do!

35. Take part in a musical performance

Also not checked off this year. And I need to do it sooner rather than later, before all my musical training shrivels up and dies!


OKAY! So what’s the tally, one year in?

12 goals completed (whoa!) (#1, 2, 11, 14, 15, 18, 23, 24, 26, 27, 32, 33)
12 in progress, with more to do (#3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 17, 19, 22, 28, 29, 30, 31)
11 left to accomplish (#4, 6, 8, 9, 13, 16, 20, 21, 25, 34, 35)

I’m honestly shocked that I checked over a third of the items off my list, especially considering that list item #1 (start a family) was a ridiculous challenge in itself. Fortunately, having a baby helped me check off another half dozen of those items, so lots of progress was made in the end!

So 35 by 35 has now become 23 by 35, which feels pretty doable even though I’m up to age 32. Hooray for long-term goals, and extra hoorays for accomplishing them!


Miles said...

Happy Birthday!

I love Rainbow Rowell! Please read "Attachments" if youve not already! Also, "Snowflower and the Secret Fan" is an all-time favorite of mine by Lisa See. So good!! My daughter just read it too and loved it. Yea for great books!

Sarah said...

@Miles, thanks for the recommendation! That's the first and only Rainbow Rowell book I've read. But Snow Flower and the Secret Fan has been a favorite of mine for awhile now too!