41 Things: A Year of Somethings New

The year I was 31, I challenged myself to do 31 things I had never done before, and then made a painstakingly detailed scrapbook chronicling the year and the experiences. I have never done another scrapbook, but each year when it gets close to my birthday, I still try to reflect on the 365 days that have passed. Below are 41 things I did between my 41st and 42nd birthdays that were either for the first time, or for the first time in a long, long while.

Thank you to Gary for giving me several gifts that helped make some of these experiences possible, and for his support all year - and always. Thanks to Paula for the inspiration to do some of these. And thank you to Jim, Baby Aaron, Chopper John and Antowyne - your precious, painful and powerful stories prompted me to do the last two, by reminding me just how crucially important it is to give the gift of life.


      1. Took an art class, Drawing/Painting from a Photograph at Spokane Art School, specifically

      2. Cooked with curry. Meh.

      3. Joined the Y

      4. Registered for a Sprint triathlon

      5. Stopped putting time and energy into relationships where the effort isn’t reciprocated

      6. Bought a cow

      7. Bought 10 chickens

      8. Got a second freezer

      9. Invited myself to a friend’s house – for a week

      10. Had wine overlooking Sequoia National Park

      11. Toured Paso Robles

      12. Stopped denying my weight and hired a professional to help me dress appropriately for my size

      13. Spent time alone with my dad

      14. Instagram

      15. Stopped equating protein with meat

      16. Became a mother-in-law

      17. Met our youngest nephew

      18. Got back on a bike

      19. Framed newspaper articles that are about us and/or our successes – and hung them

      20. Rappelled down a 20-story building for Special Olympics Washington

      21. Told the story of my daughter’s life – and her death – to explain why I support Special Olympics Washington

      22. Raised $2025 for that cause. And was the top fundraiser.

      23. Was appointed to the Arts Commission

      24. Read only non-fiction, aside from two books by Jess Walter that I read in advance of Humanities Washington’s Bedtime Stories, where Jess was doing a reading and my husband was the emcee.

      25. Got a seaweed and mineral mud bath. It felt like my skin was bubbling and farting, and I’m pretty sure I still smell like the marina in Old Towne Portsmouth.

      26. Volunteered for a LGBT youth center

      27. Made the walls in my office black

      28. Sent all Christmas packages out by the first week of December

      29. Mailed holiday cards to 20 people I barely know in hopes of turning acquaintances into new friends   

      30. Cooked our Thanksgiving turkey in an oil-less fryer

      31. Bought a Food Saver – and use it constantly

      32. Made a picture using pastels

      33. Got a client placement in a holiday shopping guide in Penthouse

      34. Proofread, edited and contributed to an author’s first novel

      35. Finally realized that forgiveness is about me

      36. Restored an antique piece of furniture – my grandparent’s nightstand

      37. Drove to the top of a mountain

      38. Had the courage to get out of the car and walk to the edge of it

      39. Made all of our laundry detergent instead of buying it

      40. Donated plasma and red blood cells regularly

      41. Joined the national bone marrow donor registry


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