So the question on the table: was the 30×30 a success or a failure?
(Though I turned 30 in August, I gave myself until the end of the year to complete the list, as I didn’t actually start it until January 2010.)
I only completed ten items on the list. I count two more as substitutions (#24. meditation class and #17. elephant riding.) Four more I attempted and failed (#13. Cherry Blossom Festival, #15. Photography class, #29. Try a winter sport, and #11. Travel the Midwest.)
Less than half of the list was completed. That’s disappointing statistically.
On the other hand – eh.
There are reasons certain things didn’t happen. The three playwriting-centered goals (#16. Dramatists Guild, #12. Twelve 10 minute plays, #27. One person show): My heart has left theatre for now. I could never have predicted that shift in January. I wrote a lot of short fiction – I started a second website dedicated to being creative every day. I was more focused on writing this year, and that is positive, even if I didn’t fulfill these specific goals.
Some things didn’t happen for financial reasons. I put a lot of expensive stuff on the list. If I make another list, I will have to take that into consideration, because money is out of my control and it’s setting myself up for failure to want to buy an expensive bottle of alcohol to celebrate life itself (#25). Skydiving is going to happen in 2011, but a family trip to Disney World and Thailand sucked up my funds in 2010. Winter sport, hot air balloon, swimming with a dolphin: expensive. Maybe I need to investigate simpler pleasures in 2011. Not necessarily a bad goal.
I read 34 books in 2010, less than one a week. Disheartening, but I’m pretty sure I only read 12 in 2009, so: improvement. I learned to love reading again this year, and that’s a big thumbs up. My next lesson will be to figure out how to finish books I don’t enjoy faster or give them up. For example, I hated The Lost Symbol, and it took a month to slog through. I could have read 2 or 3 books in that time. I feel like a quitter when I don’t finish a book, but it’s time to let that go. To paraphrase a friend, life’s too short to get through my whole reading list, why waste time on the uncompelling? But oh, that letting go thing is still a challenge.
I’m pondering the problematic nature of my reliance on others. #30, the mystery activity, was definitely dependent on another person, and no such suitable person was in my life. I didn’t try a winter sport (#29) because the group outing I tried to organize fell through. Ditto #20, dance all night long. A good friend just sent me an essay about the importance of solitude in creative lives, and while I tend to be okay doing many things alone, there’s some big stuff I shy away from doing solo, and that can lead to disappointment. It’s a giant lesson to not depend on others for happiness, and I’m still working on it.
Some stuff I’m just flat out annoyed about. #6. Go to a Shooting Range: I did the research, I was okay to go alone, I just got lazy. #10. Read Walt Whitman’s Complete Works. No excuse. Should have happened. Both of these goals WILL happen. #8. Learn the Single Ladies Dance: the dance studio that offered that course stopped having it. Boo. Maybe if I make a new list I’ll do some other dance oriented class: belly or pole dancing would be fun and broadening, and definitely help my lack of sexy. Or something.
But if I actually take stock of this year: wow. I did so much in twelve months that I had considered impossibilities. I ran a marathon (#3). What? I went to a non-English-speaking country alone (#9). Huh? I sang karaoke (#2). And you know what? I go regularly now. I have a karaoke buddy, and we go to blow off steam. Reading at Mortified (#1) and Trapeze School (#4) were totally awesome, and forced me to face huge fears. I unexpectedly got to finish #5 (get two tattoos) thanks to a dear new friend and a beautiful spontaneous New York afternoon.
And oh yes: I made some amazing friends this year. Amazing.
There were disappointments in 2010. I did all this “stuff,” but the big picture didn’t change. My life is not substantially different now than it was a year ago, and I’ve spent the past month reminiscing about where I was in December 2009 and how full of hope that I was about to break through. I don’t have that kind of hope starting 2011. I can’t see a way out of the hole I’m still in: no financial stability, no career growth, no love. 12 months and none of that has changed.
I feel like I stared down the line between here and transcendence but never quite managed to cross over.
I know what you’ll say: you’re being too hard on yourself.
To take stock is to see that I did accomplish some ridiculously unexpected and challenging stuff. It’s arbitrary, unnecessary stuff, but 2010 was an improvement on the shitshow that was 2009. Good things happened despite the big picture dissatisfaction. I have some really specific small moment memories from this year that are wedged eternally into my heart.
I think 2010 was a series of stitches connecting 2009 to 2011. Individual stitches, moments that will reinforce my life, what I’m about, where I’m headed. The random things I accomplished, the sort of meaningless non-pattern – it’s going to all take shape and significance this year in ways I can’t predict.
I will transcend.
Or, you know, I’ll keep trying.
Because when it comes down to it, Buddha was right: “It is better to travel well then to arrive.”
I’m still learning to travel well. But I’m glad I have goals, that I keep pushing, that I’m not complacent and resigned to who I am.
So, 30×30: success. Living with intention: good. Kicking 2011’s ass: yes.