This week I’ve been posting about my 40th birthday. While I’m pretty happy with my life, I know for sure that I’m happier with my life now than I was on my 30th birthday, so yay for positive trajectories. Here’s hoping that the next decade will go in the same direction.
I don’t have specific 10 year goals. I know that life can throw curve balls. But I do have a few general desires based on what I’ve learned I like. In my next decade, I’d like to…
Spend more time writing fiction. My thirties did produce two novels: The Cortlandt Boys, and Juliet’s School of Possibilities (my 20s produced some novels too, but no one has seen them!). I’ve also realized that such writing makes me really happy. I want to write what I want to write, even if it doesn’t always conform to narrative or commercial conventions. I can write for an audience of one (though I’m thankful that the audience is usually a bit bigger than that!) I want to write a few more novels in my 40s, including a really epic doorstop of a novel. It might not even take that long. If I can write 50,000 words in November, I can probably write 300,000 in a year. Maybe a project for 2020? That gives me a year to brainstorm a story that requires such heft.
Do more original time research (and write about it). I really loved the research concepts behind I Know How She Does It and Off the Clock. Now I need to figure out the next iteration! As always, I welcome suggestions.
Travel to interesting places. When I made my DONE list, I reminded myself that I have traveled a lot. It’s just been logistically more complicated to travel internationally with little kids. But we have done some, they all have valid passports, and they are becoming rapidly less little. I could definitely go somewhere fascinating at least once a year for the next ten years. With kids and without kids!
Sing! I took six years off from singing in my 30s and I really missed it. I hope to perform a number of masterworks in my 40s and do some serious commissioning too. And work on my voice. Increasingly, my voice is how I make my living. That’s through speaking, not singing, but I probably need to treat it more carefully.
Enjoy art museums and restaurants. I love food. I love wine — though it has started loving me back a lot less as I get older. Thus the new technique of savoring a few sips, then switching to sparkling water. I plan to eat in more great restaurants. I also love looking at art and though I have been to many of the world’s best museums, I can go back, because I don’t think the Prado or the Rijksmuseum ever get old. Maybe I’ll start buying more art, though certain frugal tendencies work against this.
Buy better clothes. My tendency is to buy cheap stuff and then be unhappy about it. I want to buy fewer, better things. I’m making some progress on this. I find shopping overwhelming, so it’s really a process.
Fix things. Despite the fact that we’re having our kitchen cupboards redone after the renovation last spring (there was a problem with the paint job) I’m really glad we did the renovation. If something isn’t working, or I don’t love it, I don’t just have to live with it. Some things I do have to live with (I’m not going to suddenly become 5’8″) but a broken, paint-peeling porch? Nope.
Run long. I ran one marathon in my 30s (Big Sur, 2010). I don’t know that I will run another, but I do want to make 10-mile plus runs in beautiful places a regular part of my life. I ran a 10k yesterday to celebrate my birthday! (Not a race, just ran 6.2 miles for my daily run. There were snow flurries; it was surprisingly pretty).
Reliably sleep through the night. Let’s just say that it’s a good thing my fourth child is so cute. Certainly this can happen in my 40s, right??
Photo: Desert from Talula’s Daily birthday dinner last night.