Reviews of 2014, part 2: 40things whilst being 40

Last year I started a mini-project; 40 Things To Do Whilst Being 40. As I turned 41 back in December the project should probably come to an end now. So, how did I do?

It turns out I didn’t really come up with a comprehensive list of what could be done. The end result was “if it feels like a project thing it’ll be a project thing” and so as they happened I tended to assign daft stuff into this particular bucket. So, all of the running was a 40-whilst-40, and whilst I didn’t get sub-30m on my 5k I did measurably improve. I didn’t really do much swimming, and failed at finding a stables.

Making a bucketload of chocolate robots was something not on the list, too, mostly because I had no idea I’d be doing it. In fact, doing multiple chocolate workshops through the year all counted, because (i) I wasn’t paid for them[1] and (ii) I had fun doing them. And they were explicitly on the list. Other foodie stuff was done: I made kimchi (which was tasty but had to be binned as it made the fridge smell terrible). I did one batch of sourdough which went ok but I never remember to do them during the summer, so the rise in the cold kitchen wasn’t brilliant. I didn’t make cheese or beer; they’re going on a different list, I think. I did make marmalade, some plum jam (which I’m very proud of) and although I didn’t make quite as many chocolates as in 2013, 2014’s chocolates were very tasty. I also started making pâte; de fruits, specifically rhubarb ones and blackcurrant ones. They’re confectionary jellies set with pectin, and are very nice indeed. Of course I made cake, too. Lots of cake.

Speaking at Bettakultcha counts, too: specifically “speak in front of a paying audience”. I did that twice last year, about doing standup and about vegetarian cooking. That was enormous fun, even if I did pull the veggie one out of thin air being asked three days before the event if I could do something, and having to have the slides ready in a day. There’s the fledgeling details of a plan about this sort of thing for this year, too (details in the next post).

Knitting happened: I made hats, mittens and scarves for mutiple people. I attended a crochet workshop, too (run by Sarah of Alder Sign) where I discovered where I’d been going wrong all these years and made a start on a little amigurumi alien. I organised my cookbooks (and bought more, so now that list is out of date) and failed, totally, to keep track of what I’d read.

Arguably one of the biggest things I did was Lindy Hop classes; there were a few Lindy socials, but after only starting Lindy in March last year ended up with my being part of a charity showcase event in the Carriageworks. This was a really big thing for me, because I have terrible personal space issues. I’m not keen on touching people I don’t know, let alone dancing with them, and historically I am a dreadful dancer. But not only did I do a four week Lindy basics course I went back to the same teachers and did a swingout course, and the rehearsals and routine learning and all of that. It was amazing and scary and fun and frustrating and everything that I expected and hoped it could be and more. Also, swing music is fun.

In the end, then: I did some stuff, and failed to do some stuff, and some other stuff was thrust upon me. I grew as a person and learned a few limitations, and then smashed a few which I thought I had to pieces.

So, that was a (very) brief outline of 2014. And you know what? I have plans for 2015. Lots of plans. In fact, more than I thought I had – it was only when someone asked me what I was doing this year and I started off by saying “well, not much really…” and then talking for ten minutes that it turned out just how many there were. And I’ll do some, and I’ll fail to do some, and that’s fine. It’s not about ticking items off a list; it’s about expanding ones horizons and seeing what’s next. So what’s on the list? That’s for next time.

[1] aside from consumables

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