So, point of clarification: I’m 48 years old currently, having just celebrated my birthday yesterday. I’m not 49, but that this year is actually my 49th year of living. When I celebrate my 49th birthday, that means I’m completing my 49th year, not starting it.
And I know, it’s not really a “bucket list” if the deadline isn’t the end of your life…when you “kick the bucket”. Indeed, maybe it’d be better to call this a “49th Year To-Do List”. But that’s catchy sounding, don’t you think?
So this is a list of things I’m hoping to have achieved by the time that me being able to say “I’m 48 years old” is cold and buried in the ground. What do I want to have achieved / completed / accomplished by then? That’s what we’re looking at here.
Now, I’m a firm believers in making to-do lists that have a mix of hard and easy things on them. You want some things that are easier than others to check off, so the whole thing doesn’t get too discouraging.
And in some cases, it’s worth putting some big things on there that you know you have to do, because then you at least get the satisfaction of crossing stuff off your list when you do them.
So, here at the beginning of me being 48 (my 49th year), I present to you 48 things that I’m hoping / planning on getting done before June 7, 2019:
1. Write this list! (Ha! Like I said, always include some easy things).
2. Cook Chicken Parmigiana – I plan on doing this tomorrow, for my late birthday dinner with my family. I love my Mom’s Chicken Parm (served with spaghetti, as it is in America, and not with chips and a salad as it is in Australia) and four years ago I got her to show me how she does it. Finally, after all this time, I’m going to give it a go, almost certainly with some help from my wife but the plan is for to do most of the work myself. Really, if you know me, you know how strange this is, but it’s time to put this one in the “done” category.
3. Create a Mystery Game for my eldest daughter – A while ago, I told all three of my daughters I’d make a Mystery Party Game for each of them that they could do with their friends (including each other). I’ve done two of those so far – a superhero one for my youngest and a space-themed one for the middle daughter. Now I’ve got to make good on my promise and make that “pop star” themed one for my oldest daughter, before she grows up!
4. Ride my bike on a regular basis – I really need more exercise. Not sure what a good target should be. Maybe 50 rides in the year? Normally I’d go for about 10 km each time. That’s pretty ambitious for me, but it’d be a great target to hit.
5. Finish Stranger Things 2, and if it’s out, Stranger Things 3 – I’m watching this with my oldest daughter, and we’re loving it. But it’s tricky, because nobody else is watching it in my family (too creepy), so we have to find the right moments to catch it.
6. Finish rewatching Star Trek Voyager – I’m doing this with my other two daughters. We’re toward the end of the second season, and I’m overall enjoying it more than I remember. My kids really like Kes and they don’t know what’s coming, so I feel a bit sad for them.
7. Do a Bible study on “blessings” and “curses” – Just something I’m thinking about. What does it really mean, practically, when Jesus or others “blessed” people? When he cursed the fig tree, the thing actually died, so presumably the blessing has a similar power. I thought at least I could do a focused reading of those scriptures and see what wisdom emerges.
8. Also finish a Bible study on, amusingly, “completing things” – I’ve been working on this for a while, and I think it’s almost there. Time to drive it home.
9. New Media Seminars – I’m going to be running three new four-week seminars in the context of my work. They won’t run until I’m 49, but I’ve got a lot to do before then to plan and promote them.
10. A big work-related conference in Thailand – We’re planning on heading that way in a few months, we need to a bunch of planning and preparation for that.
11. Produce and Edit “99 Words” – This is a short film project that I was working on with my children, but that we haven’t touched for a few months. This is one that’s on the books for the next month or two.
12-13. Finish The Hanna Jo Stories episodes 12 & 13 – Both of these are recorded, and 12 is half edited. Time to finish these before, again, my children grow up.
14-15. Finish at least two “Family Movies – For years, I’ve been editing short, private family highlight films, one for each year of my married life (which, starting in Year 2, became basically montages of the children). However, I’m a bit behind, and if I get two done this year, it will still only bring me to 2016. Got to push ahead!
Speaking of media projects, there are a number I want to get done for work:
16. A promo video for ministry focused on increasing people’s engagement with the Bible, especially where they currently don’t have easy access to it
17. A photo-driven e-book about an African cultural group
18. A local-language version of an animated film for the same group (in this case, it’s easy. I just have to process some audio that was recently recorded and hand it over to someone else)
19. A project for multiple languages in South Asia
20. At least one project out of several prospective ones that we have for audiences in India at the moment
21. A film, already shot, for the northern area of my state in Australia, which needs to be edited and distributed
22. Another film, following on from the one that I mentioned in #21, should also be shot this year.
23. See Incredibles 2 with the family – Planning on this in a week and a half!
24. Organize Carols by Candlelight 2018 – This is part of my work that I’ve been doing most years for about 15 years now. So we can assume that I’ll either be doing it again, or that perhaps we’ll decide we’re skipping the year for some reason.
25. Go to the United States – We try to get there every two years to see family, friends and supporters. It’s a big deal for my wife and children and I, and thanks to a change in my general work schedule, we’ll probably be going for most of January this year.
While there, some particular highlights we always look forward to are…
26. A visit to the local Barnes & Noble – whoever thought of putting coffee shops in book stores was some sort of genius
27. A meal at Kathleen’s – A tea house in my home town. Yummy high tea, and you can feel classy as you enjoy it.
28. Korean BBQ Chicken – This was a great treat the last time I was in New York, and I think we’d all enjoy it again, if we can brave the New York City winter and get there.
29. Stuff with snow! As long as we’re going to be there in the winter, this is probably a given.
30. Peanut Butter Ice Cream – Seems so obvious, but let me tell you, it’s not an easy thing to do in Australia for normal prices
Comics to get and read:
31. Legionnaires vol. 2 – reprinting the early days of the “Reboot” by Mark Waid, Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
32. The Flash by Mark Waid vol. 4 – where we get Terminal Velocity, one of Waid’s most memorable stories
33. Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 2 – featuring the Earthwar and the battle with Omega
34. Superman: Exile and Other Stories Omnibus – featuring some of my favorite Superman stories ever, although we’ll need Volume 2 to get to Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite.
35. Bone: Coda – Another chapter, however brief, of the Bone saga, set immediately after the epic? Count me in!
I’m such an old comic fan now. All of these stories except the last one are reprints of stuff I used to own, or in some cases still do.
36. Early Riser by Jasper Fforde – A new book, standalone from his other stuff, by my favorite author. It comes out in just a couple of months in the UK, and in early 2019 in the United States. When will it come to Australia?
37. Staff Retreat – My missions community did this for the first time in a while last October, and it was great. We have another one scheduled for next February.
38. Extended Birthday Celebrations: Solo and an Escape Room called “Wanted” – both scheduled for the day after tomorrow!
39. See this year’s Marvel movies: Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel, and Avengers: Title to Be Revealed. Definitely something I want to do, but so obvious that I just couldn’t justify splitting them up into three didn’t items.
While we’re at it, let’s go see Aquaman, Teen Titans Go to the Movies (my girls loves will probably love that one) and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
40. Other Movies – There are a bunch of older films that I need to rally myself to see as well. This includes the recent Ready Player One and Isle of Dogs, but also older fare like Whiplash, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Stagecoach, Donnie Darko, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Great McGinty, Vertigo (again, now that I’m in an older and better position to appreciate it), Miller’s Crossing (also again, since I barely remember it), The Verdict, Mad Max Fury Road, Saving Private Ryan, Before Sunrise and its sequels, and Notorious. And surely there are others I can’t remember right now. I don’t expect to see all these movies this year, but let’s say if I catch at least five of them (or others from a similar category) before the year is out, then I’ve accomplished this one.
I also really want to see GI Joe: Retaliation, but really that’s a different issue all together.
41. Direct Something – It’s been a hankering that’s been building up for a while. Really, I haven’t properly worked on something that wasn’t for work since Call Me, and that was shot in a massive rush back in 2016. I’m not sure what yet, although maybe it’ll be about a talking coffee cup.
42. Finish watching and blogging at least a couple of seasons of Quantum Leap – It’s just taking me so long. Part of the issue is that I have them on DVD and our DVD player has got lots of problems, and also they are surprisingly not always appropriate for my children (because of all the sexually-related jokes). But I’d still like to carry on with it, if I can just find the energy.
43. Go to the Dentist – Seriously, I’m way overdue.
44. New glasses – See above. But in this case, it’s likely to be happening quite soon. Graduated lenses, for the first time.
45. Write a new Escape Room – I’ve already been unofficially contracted to do this. The setting has to be be on an airplane in mid-flight. I’m already enjoying the way the story is coming together, so I’m looking forward to seeing it come together.
46. Write the next (last?) volume of Captain Strong – Captain Strong is my 50 episode (so far) audio series, which tells a massive ongoing adventure that isn’t finished yet, though the conclusion is approaching. However, it’s been years since I recorded any (to the irritation of one of my children), partly because I rarely see my co-star and close friend Matt anymore (since not only is in the United States, but in a part I rarely go to even when I am there). However, as our trip to the US approaches this year (see #’s 25-30, above) I am hopeful that we’ll be able to make it happen, and if so, it’d be good to take advantage of that to record some more Captain Strong before I’m too old to play “Randy the Cabin Boy” anymore (seriously, he has a very challenging voice, though perhaps Matt’s role as “Greta the Chambermaid” is even more vocally demanding). When there are big things out there like this that aren’t finished, it’s always vaguely sort of stressful.
47. Edit Dr. Moosehappy Makes Her Move – Wait, what? Ah yes, Dr. Moosehappy…a series of photo / audio stories that I started a loooooong time ago. I took the pictures and did the recording for the presumed last one in the series way back in 2006, and although I’ve rough cut it I never actually finished it. It’s hard to imagine anyone who was involved would even care about it anymore, but like I just said, it’s stressful knowing there is all this stuff out there that isn’t finished. May this be the year!
48. Celebrate my 49th Birthday with my wife and children – Really, other than obeying God, this is probably my primary responsibility for this year.
Let’s throw in there supporting and enabling my wife to do the things she’s called to, and instilling value into my children, and serving my community, and reaching out to the nations in obedience to the Great Commission, and really, I think we’ll have a pretty good year there.
And that’s that! I’ll try to keep you abreast of my accomplishments as the year goes forward. Of course, it’s hard to know what other bigger sort of things will come up as the year progresses, but this is a start at giving me some goals for the year.
And the best part is, I can already tick off Number One!