Catherine's List

All of this was Amanda's idea.  For some reason, I feel like that should be made clear from the outset.  Not because it's a ridiculous idea, mind you, or even a bad one.  Quite the contrary.  It's a very good idea: accomplish twenty-five things during our twenty-fifth year.  As much as I've managed to do before now, there are still a number of things I've yet to accomplish.

My birthday is on the tenth of December.  So far, before I've even hit the big two-five, I've earned my degree, secured a good job, and bought a house.  I've loved, lost, and mourned.  I've made some bad decisions, yes, but I've made a handful of good ones, too.  This year, I want to make twenty-five more leaps of faith.  I want to make bigger choices and face bigger challenges.  This list, I hope, will help me do it.
  1. Go back to Ireland. (COMPLETED 9/1/2011) I took my first trip over the Atlantic in 2008, and I spent about two weeks touring Ireland, Scotland, England, and France.  Ireland was by far my favorite.  The land is in my blood, and there's a lot left of it for me to see -- including the graves of some long-dead ancestors.  This year, I'm going back, and I'm going to make the most of it.
  2. Stay in a Bed & Breakfast. (COMPLETED 9/9/2011) I've never done it, and it's been on my to-do list for years and years.  And, while I'm there, I'm going to try to...
  3. Disconnect. (COMPLETED 9/8/2011) I'm the first to admit it: I'm addicted to the internet.  I wasn't even exposed to the internet until the end of junior high, and even then, on crummy dial-up, I sometimes snuck out of my room in the middle of the night so I could connect and surf just a liiiiittle bit more.  It's time to break the habit: I'm going to escape the internet -- and television and my laptop and all that stuff -- for three days.  That should be easy enough, right?
  4. Learn to golf.  (COMPLETED 6/26/2011 [ONGOING]) This is one of my father's hobbies, and it's one I've never fully understood.  I'm a decent mini-golfer and a fabulous Wii-golfer, but even so the sport has never made much sense to me.  Nonetheless, I figure there has to be a reason why so many people -- including pretty much all the men in my family -- flock to it.  I'd like to know what that is, or at least have a good reason not to like the game.
  5. Take a road trip. (COMPLETED 12/30/2011) I took a solo road trip to Florida in February, 2009.  It was great and I actually really enjoyed it, even though I was once or twice at risk of falling asleep at the wheel (thank goodness for rest stops and coffee!), but I kind of feel like I missed out by going on my own.  I'd like to take another one, this time with a friend, and I don't even care about the destination.
  6. Learn to dance. (COMPLETED 2/9/2011) My parents took dance lessons several years ago and they used to practice in our living room.  I took ballet when I was a kid, though it never went anywhere and I'm as uncoordinated as ever.  However, there's a dance studio not twenty minutes away, and I should take advantage of it.  Salsa classes start in January: sign me up! 
  7. Knit for the needy.  I'm not a talented knitter, but I know enough that I should be able to make a hat or a scarf for someone who really needs it.  I'm going to knit and donate at least one knit item this year.  More, if I can.
  8. Learn to knit socks.  Okay, it's embarrassing, almost.  I've been knitting for two years or so, but I'm dreadfully slow at it and the only things I actually know how to make are scarves and hats.  It's about time I knit something useful.  Socks it is!
  9. Submit a manuscript.  I've been making stories and writing ever since I was little.  I've finished a handful of short stories and a novel or so.  I edit them ruthlessly.  It's about time I did something with at least one of them.  I'm going to fix up a few stories, pick out my best one, and send it out for potential publication, or at least review.  Even if it just means getting back a ton of rejection letters, that's okay.  The way I see it, it's at least a step in the right direction.
  10. Go to the opera. (COMPLETED 2/26/2011) I love opera, or at least I think I do.  I like what I've heard; I've just never seen an opera acted out.  There's no excuse for that; aside from the opera house downtown, there's a movie theater just half an hour away that shows live opera on the big screen.  Whether it's in person or via video, I'm going to see an opera.
  11. Purge my closet.  (COMPLETED 4/30/2011) Like most consumer-driven Americans, I like to shop, and I hate to get rid of things.  I have closets and drawers full of clothes I barely even look at, much less wear.  I'm going to do a favor to myself, box up all those clothes, and donate them.  And hey, if I need to?  I can always go shopping and re-update my wardrobe (hehe).
  12. Finish a Work-in-Progress. (COMPLETED 11/20/2011) I work on a good seven or eight writing projects at a time, which does very little for my productivity.  I'm going to concentrate on one project -- probably The Z-Word, which I started in November, 2009, and I was very happy with at the time --, edit what I have so far, and then finish it.  If I finish and edit it in time, maybe I can use it for #9!
  13. Sing karaoke.  I can barely carry a tune at the best of times, which is a sad fact, but I figure if I drink enough beforehand, I won't care how bad I sound, or that I'm in front of a crowd (I assume).
  14. Send thank-you notes. (COMPLETED 10/28/2011) This one is a little complicated, I guess.  When I look at how my life has gone this far, I can pinpoint lots of things -- lots of people -- who shaped it and made it possible for me to become Me.  A lot of those people, I figure, won't remember me.  That's okay.  I'm going to write to at least three of them anyway, and I'm going to thank them.
  15. Put myself out there. (COMPLETED 5/1/2011[ONGOING]) Amanda and I agreed that we'd both put this in our lists.  I'm not a shy person, but I'm not particularly out-going, either, and I have a hard time meeting new people.  I'm also perpetually single, which my mother has noted on more then one occasion (love you, Mom!).  I don't mind the perpetually single part, but I'm going to be Amanda's wing-woman as we go out into the world.  Along the way, I hope to meet new people, make new friends, and perhaps earn myself an arch-nemesis (I think everyone should have one).  If I happen to break my single streak while I'm at it, so be it!
  16. Read the collective works of Shakespeare -- or at least all the plays. (COMPLETED 12/18/2011) I like Shakespeare.  I've liked his work since I first read Romeo and Juliet in the eighth grade, and though I now consider that particular play a little pedantic, I'm still a little bit in love with Othello and Twelfth Night.  I took a class dedicated to Shakespeare in college, and even all that reading only put a dent in the collection.  I know the histories are going to drag, for the most part, but the rest of them should go fairly quickly...
  17. Take a first-aid course.  The American Red Cross offers standard classes in first-aid for $50, and there's a chapter not fifteen minutes away from my house.  Who knows?  One day I might be really glad I did it. 
  18. Paint a room of my house. (COMPLETED 7/23/2011)  I've been thinking about painting my house ever since I bought the house.  It's about time I did it.  I'm going to pick a room, pick a colour, and get crackin'.
  19. Got brains? (COMPLETED 10/22/2011) I'm big into zombies.  They freak me out a little, sure, but they're still fun.  And lots of places near me host Zombie Walks every fall.  I've stood on the sidelines and watched them before, but it's about time I donned my bloody apparel and joined in on the fun.
  20. Volunteer. (COMPLETED 12/14/2011) I was a girl scout for years and a member of my local 4H club growing up, and I took part in a lot of volunteer trips and organizations during that time. However, since entering adulthood I really can't think of anything I've done wherein I took the time to help out in my community. I'd like to change that. This year I'm going to sign up to volunteer somewhere and donate my time toward whatever cause will have me.
  21. Get out of my culinary comfort zone. (COMPLETED 9/9/2011) I'm not a picky eater.  In fact, the list of foods that I won't eat is really, really small: it consists primarily of potatoes and cheese.  Now, there are some exceptions to the potatoes and cheese rule (for instance, I like [most] french fries and I absolutely love chile con queso), but for the most part I avoid them altogether.  Time to change.  I'm going to find, cook, and eat foods containing the ingredients I don't like or foods I've never tried before until the foods I don't like are at least a little less reprehensible than before.
  22. Wander around DC. (COMPLETED 11/14/2011) Washington D.C. was pretty much designed to torment directionally-challenged people like me.  It's set up in such a way that, no matter how hard you try, you end up getting lost.  Thus, I pretty much just avoid it.  However, there are a lot of things -- museums, mostly -- that I'd like to see there, so it's about time I got over my getting-lost-a-phobia and did it.
  23. Keep current. (COMPLETED 3/15/2011[ONGOING]) I'm really bad about keeping up with the news.  In fact, my knowledge of global affairs is pretty much limited to what I garner by watching the Daily Show and reading the CNN headlines when they show up on my Google homepage.  This year, I'm going to watch the news -- at least two or three times a week, if not every day -- and I'm going to stay on top of the game.
  24. Get screened. (COMPLETED 9/28/2011) "Wear sunscreen!"  My mother used to insist on us all slathering on the stuff just about every time we went outside, but for good reason: skin cancer is a huge concern in my family.  She's been pushing me to go to a dermatologist for a cancer screening for ages, and I tried last year but found that the doctor in question didn't take my insurance.  I have new insurance this year, so I'm going to try again.
  25. Go somewhere for the new year. (COMPLETED 12/31/2011) I always stay home for New Years Eve.  Well, not home, exactly.  I go to parties or I go downtown for the fireworks display or I hang out with my friends or family.  But I never really go anywhere.  I think it would be fabulous to celebrate the end of 25 somewhere new.  Maybe I'll see the ball drop in New York City, watch fireworks over Niagara Falls, or pop champagne in sunny California.  Who cares?  The point is, it'll be a great way to see off the year.
So here's to 25!  I have 365 days (from January 1 to December 31, 2011) to see it through.  In the immortal words of Bob the Builder: Can we do it?  Yes we can!