I revisited my 40 List recently after a social media friend revealed he was hurtling towards his own 40th birthday.

His status updates suggested he was approaching the landmark day with the kind of mad-eyed stare that points toward a certain amount of fear and loathing.

My 40 List as drawn by @rachelcreative

I’m still in the same sort of frame of mind at 43 that I was when I wrote that list at 39. Age is meaningless.

But a few things did strike me. Firstly, there is the lack of progress I’ve made on it over the last three years. I’m not going to start beating myself up about it as there are some very valid reasons why I’ve not been crossing stuff off the list on a regular basis.

There has been some forward momentum:

  • I’ve done a fair bit of No.3 (writing for myself)
  • No.4 (grow a beard) is now a semi-permanent fixture on my face
  • I’m less gadget-phobic these days (No.10 – I have an iPhone!)
  • I’ve done a good job on No.13 and pretty much lost the chip
  • And I still don’t wear blue denim jeans (No.33).

But some of the biggies, the real, significant life adventures, are still good ideas only on paper and have so far failed to materialise. Rachel and I are yet to take the honeymoon to New Zealand (no.2), for example, but I’m still sure it will happen one of these days.

What else struck me though was confirmation I’m a fairly simple-minded sort, happily distracted by the little things.

Indeed, I may have not crossed off some big stuff over the last three years but I’ve certainly enjoyed the simple stuff a whole lot more.

I’m happy burying my nose in a good book, chatting up my wife, taking my bike out for a ride around ye olde city, watching the world go by in a cafe, listening to some good music, drinking some good beer, shooting the breeze with good friends.

It doesn't get much better than spending time with family and friends and enjoying the view

At Christmas we imposed a fairly strict financial limit on our present buying. One thing we didn’t do was impose any limit on our socialising and meeting up with family and friends over the course of three weeks before, during and after Christmas made it one of the most enjoyable for years.

I’m commuting again now that I have landed a new job. But, whereas my previous commutes have involved public transport and the opportunity to read a book or stare into space through the train window as I’m conveyed to and from work, I’m now driving.

It is a bit tricky to stare absent-mindedly into space out of the window as you drive along the A5 to and from Telford (although quite a few do seem to manage it judging by the driving habits of a few fellow commuters). It is also tricky to read a book.

But what is possible is listening to music on an MP3, thinking about the day ahead and stuff to do with my new job – or what I’m going to do to unwind on my way back home.

So, vive la simple stuff and the happy distractions that fill my life and put a smile on my face.

And if anyone does want to join me over Beacon Park to kick a rugby ball around for a little while one weekend (No.9), then just drop me a line sometime.


One response »

  1. andysimcox says:

    Interesting one Paul. I’ve just found your blog, ironically at the end of completing a similar journey/list/whatever to call it. I also found that it was more of the simple things that hit home. They were certainly more palatable to the family budget! Like you, I didn’t treat it as a ‘bucket list’, although I may put one of those together now … time is passing after all.

    I’d be interested to know a bit more about some of the things you’ve done and their effect. I started blogging a couple of years ago, with that intention in mind (http://andysimcox.wordpress.com/2012/01/20/choice-control-to-jake-and-tom-40-in-the-year-of-40-40/). Anyway, I’ve subscribed, so I’ll look forward to whatever comes!

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