I hit 41 this year and while I don’t want to dwell on what an utterly shit birthday it was (the UK woke up to the news of the Manchester bombings), getting a grip on the forties made me think about a goals or Bucket List. I’ve done them in the past, but rarely followed the whole list through. A few things on each list, I would set my sights on and then lose interest in the rest, but in the past five years, I haven’t written a proper one.
Ones up to 2011 included some big goals: I went to university, saw Christopher Eccleston in theatre and visited the cannabis cafes in Amsterdam. I also attended a sci-fi convention, dated a footballer and worked as a teacher- in a university and a primary school. Dreams, goals, challenges to myself that I’ve set my sights on and eventually achieved.
In the past, I’ve drawn up a chart; plotted strategies in achieving the set goals and given myself time limits. Very clinical- very organised and very much the psychologist part of me seeping through my skin. For now though, I want to keep the bigger picture of my goals in sight and not get bogged down with time limits and intricacies- just remember the reasons I want to do them. Although, in an effort to avoid procrastination, I put the overall time limit at two years on the bigger achievments. By the time I reach 43, I want to have...
1) Given up smoking!
I don’t know how many times this has been my number one goal, yet its the one I put the least effort in to. And while I know it will be hardest to achieve, it’s also the one that will give me the most satisfaction and be the most beneficial. Without achieving this one, I can’t achieve the others.
Resources to achieve the goal: me and Tony Robbins. I can’t forget Tony Robbins.
2) Learned to drive
I’ve taken three lots of driving lessons and one test. I’ve been a fucking disaster at learning to drive, but I have to acknowledge that I was stoned for two lots of those lessons and my test. Being stoned makes an anxious learner driver even more anxious and extremely reluctant to go beyond 5 miles an hour- even on an A road. If I get rid of the weed, I might actually be able to master the skill of driving! I’m getting a chunk of money from the sale of my mother’s maisonette (when it happens) and after the costs for the move and a contingency fund; I’m budgeting in a crash course and the tests. If I do it as soon as we get to Wales and I’m looking for work, I’ll have the time and if I can pass my test at the end, it widens my job opportunities. Also- my uncle in Wales is a salesman for Vauxhall, so I can get a car on his family discount.
Resources: money from the sale of my mum’s maisonette and a favour from my uncle. Time to rely on family after 20 years of telling most of them to Fuck Off.
3) Ran a charity marathon
This makes me a typical fucking woman. I think this is one of those goals women in their forties feel almost obliged to have. We have two mid-life crises: one in our 30’s when we hit our existential crisis (motherhood/wifehood versus carer) and another regarding our health in our 40’s. This one compels the modern pre-menopausal/early menopausal women to hit the park and jiggle her bits with other women in the name of charity. And perhaps I’ve been feeling left out. At every workplace I go to (and there’s been a good few over the past year), there’s a woman approaching her mid forties signing up for a charity run.
But more than anything, I quite like running. I can’t do it properly at the moment though, because I can’t even sprint up the stairs without my lungs emitting a green slime last seen in Ghostbusters.
Resources: my legs and a toned arse. I power walk at the moment and when I get the momentum going, can cover nearly two miles in less than 15 minutes. A lack of driving skills has its benefits- I walk everywhere I can and because I'm not keen on people, I rush to get away from them.
4) Left this bloody town!
I’ve ranted a fair bit about my town in this blog. It’s a cesspit and I can’t wait to leave it, but more so I can’t wait to leave the past behind. I want to be somewhere where I can’t run in to memories I’d rather forget or run in to people who remember the me from the past. I have a lot of people who dislike me (hence the being friendless!) and in a town where most social and shopping life is centred around a three mile long road- occasionally, I run in to them. Sometimes, I end up in a new job with them (really hoping that’s not the case when I start the new job on Monday!). And for once, I’d like to be able to go out for a night out or for a meal, without the fear of bumping in to an old adversary or someone I’ve offended/dumped/had an argument with. It's a social minefield.
Resources: again, money being given to me by my mother. Without her and the promise of my ‘inheritance’, two of these goals wouldn’t be possible in the near future.
5) Learned basic self-defence
As I get older and see the world as a more dangerous place, I feel the need to be able to defend myself. So far, I’ve been depending on the SING method of self-defence for if I ran in to trouble. The SING method is a set of moves that can enable the victim to get away, if grabbed from behind. It involves elbowing the assailant in the ‘Solar’ region (beneath the ribs); stamping on his ‘Instep’, punching upwards and back to hit his ‘Nose’ and then moving a hand down quickly to grab his balls- ‘Groin’.
I learned it from Miss Congeniality, so I will have Sandra Bullock to thank, if I ever have to use it and it works. But I’d like a surer method of self-defence to rely on...you know, just in case.
Resources: not much, except great kicking legs and an internet connection. There are a couple of martial arts classes around my area, but my financial situation doesn’t warrant spending £50 on a set of starter lessons, no matter how much I want to achieve a goal. For now and the foreseeable future, I’ll practice anything Youtube has to offer.
These are the major goals. The ones that I believe would change my life for the better, whether through the change of circumstances or the sense of achievement, but I have a few lighter ones I want to aim for- not for what they could bring to my life, but for the experiences. So after focusing on the bigger ones over the next two years, I want to include the following in the next 4 years. By the time I’m 45, I want to have....
6) Seen Damien Rice live
I fell in love with this (reportedly) arrogant, moody bastard in 2005 and have achieved the aim of getting all his CD’s. If I get the first four of my goals done and sorted, I’d like to reward myself with a night out at his nearest gig. At around £80 for the average UK ticket and with the rare visits he makes to the UK, I can expect to be waiting until I’m about 45 to see him. Nevertheless, I got to stalk Chris Eccleston for the night after worshiping him since I was 14, I’ll get Damien Rice.
7) Finished a song
I write poetry and lyrics. Not as often as I used to, due to stoner-deadhead, but every so often I can still squeeze one out. I also mentally concoct melodies, but apart from dreadful humming and strained singing that sounds nothing like what’s playing in my head; I have no way of expressing what I hear and the tune I can hear my lyrics attaching to. At primary school, I learned basic piano and a little about reading music, and as a teenager, messed around with a keyboard. I have the foundations for building a skill; I simply need to source the tools.
The time isn’t right to buy a piano, but I have come across a few second hand ones going quite cheaply (and in one case, for free) in Gumtree, so I know it’s a little dream that’s possible...I just have to be patient.
I’m leaving them at 7 over the next five years. None of them are impossible- unless either I or Damien Rice dies.