50 Goals

The genesis for this idea came from my daughter.  Her actual suggestion is “50 Things I Learned from Raising Children.”  I’m working on that one.  It’s much tougher.

At first, I had a hard time getting started on a list of 50 Goals, but once I got on a roll, I ended up with well over 50 and cut a few that were a bit too personal.  Originally, the items were entirely random.

When the list was complete, I reorganized it when I noticed five or six key patterns:  places I want to visit, things I want to learn, things I already know how to do—but haven’t done for a long time, people I want to meet, lifestyle improvements and ways to change the world around me.  They are all inter-connected.

Visit a place with clear blue ocean water
Visit Holland
Visit Italy
Visit Machu Picchu (updated to “Visit Peru” 8-11-13 after realizing the narrowness of this item when I read: JetLag Manifesto Thank you Ola! )
Visit Moscow
Visit Spain
Visit Switzerland
Visit the Louvre
Visit the Redwood Forest
Visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Direct a screenplay
Learn cartooning
Learn stand-up comedy
Learn to create a website
Learn to paint
Learn to play the harmonica
Participate in “Improv Everywhere”Stick Man Having Fun
Skydive once
Make Pysanky
Purchase a bicycle and a car rack for it

Purchase a Martin guitar and take up playing again
Ride a bicycle once a week
Understand and be able to operate the DVD remote
Audition for a play
Get tattooed
Grow my own veggies and fruits in a backyard greenhouse
Hire a personal trainer
Hire a private chef
Live for a year in New Mexico
Live in a vacated foreclosed home for 30 days
Own an in-home gym

Chat with Amy Tan
Chat with Bill and Melinda Gates
Chat with David Batstone
Chat with Warren Buffet
Hang with Bono for 3 months
Meet Angus Young
Meet Janine Turner
Meet Lewis Black
Meet Patti Smith
Meet Stevie Nicks
Meet Tony Robbins

Be the voice for books on tape
Build a closet
Complete and sell a full length movie script
Complete a kitchen renovation
Create a successful original board game
Create my own App
Install solar panels for my home
Paint the entire interior of my home
Publish successful books
Renovate a former factory into high-end condos
Translate a foreign film into English subtitles
Write a novel
Write a song
Help stop worldwide human trafficking
Mentor a child
Tutor college students

This made me wonder. What did I forget?

So Blue in ’62


Here I was in 1962, innocently celebrating my first birthday while the dangerous and sometimes tragic world lurked outside.

Enamored of her beauty, I hoped I’d grow to become as lovely as the starlet and international celebrity Marilyn Monroe.  As a little girl,  I think you always believe you could be ravishing, glamorous and adored like a movie star.

When I encounter people on the phone or through the internet for the first time and they want to know what I look like, I always tell them, “I’m a cross between Marilyn Monroe and Phyllis Diller.”  That keeps them on guard.

Just a few weeks after my party, Marilyn Monroe died.  Sadly, though a 36-year-old actress with 23 movies to her credit, media mention of Marilyn usually leads with her untimely death, as though her death were more important than her life.

At one year old, my fear was limited to strangers.  I was too young to understand that by that October, The Cuban Missile Crisis had us on the brink of nuclear annihilation.  For me, it came and went without a care.  I was just happy eat cake.

Then what happened?

When it All Began – 1961

I’m interested to know what you might recall if 1961 was the year that you graced this planet with your presence.

Personally, I don’t recall anything from that year except the vaguest sense of a speech delivered in May, by then President John F. Kennedy.  In it, he outlined new goals for America during the height of the Cold War.

Click  to hear John F. Kennedy snippet

I don’t know if my parents heard the speech on the radio in their tiny German apartment in what must have been the middle of the night for them. I’d like to think I heard the muffled version of his Bostonian tone and inflection while in utero, still comfortable with all of June and July to pass before I was fully baked.

I was a kid, or about to be one, so what did I have to look forward to aside from the space race, fear of a Russian nuclear attack and desegregation?


A quick search led me to the impressive knowledge that in 1961, several of the most popular Christmas gifts (toys) were:

LEGO Building Sets – I never owned any but my friends did and I think my brother had some.  In any case, I never managed to construct more than a simple staircase.  I was unable to visualize and build anything amazing.

Stratego – a game that I never owned because it is a battle strategy game.  Anything war-like would have been unwelcome at our house.  This is only a theory of mine, but I suspect my Mom—a pacifist, would have been protesting the war in Vietnam had she not been raising kids at the time.

Ken Carson (Barbie’s boyfriend) – What ?!?!?  Ken had a last name?  Where’s my memo? (More when I discuss “Ken issues” I had in 1968 and 1995.)

Slip ‘n Slide water slide – our family never owned one primarily because it was a big waste of water.  The few times I got to try one at a friend’s back yard party, I got brush burns when I careened off the slide onto the yard.  Another time I slipped and landed on my coccyx.  That hurt for days.

And I remember the painful feeling of every little rock that was formerly buried deep underground but suddenly worked to the surface when the grass became matted down with a sheet of yellow plastic and water.  I don’t care, they are still fun.

Trolls – A supposed waste of money, so I did not own one.  I envied those who did. Trolls were cute because they were so ugly.  I once got a mini troll with pink hair from a bubble gum machine.  That was as close as I ever got to the Holy Grail or the Geller Cup if you will.


What happened then?

50 By the Numbers

I looked first to old wisdom about 50 to attempt to understand more.

I understand that with the passage of time comes new discovery and innovation but after all of the research and trial, today we  sometimes find that the ancients knew much more than their modern counterparts (us) might imagine possible.

The ancient Egyptians, who enslaved thousands to build the Great Pyramid of Giza, knew something about the significance of the sacred Pythagorean 3-4-5 triangle.  It’s a little deep and you can dig for more, but for the benefit of my online family, here’s the quick and easy version.

In a pyramid, the three sides of each triangle face represents the number  3.  The base, a square, represents the number 4 and the four corners and the apex (tip) represent the number…wait for it…5 ! The sum of the squares equal 50.

What ????

Perhaps that’s too obscure.  So I looked to the I-Ching, or as it’s more commonly known, the ancient Chinese Book of Changes.  It is based around the ideas of the balance of opposites and acceptance of the inevitability of change.    In it, the 50th hexagram is Ting: The Cauldron.  The judgment: “Supreme good fortune. Success.”  Now we are getting somewhere with this whole “50” thing.

Another option is to consider an alchemist’s point of view (those intent to discover methods to transmute base metals into gold), one of the seven base metals—tin, has the atomic number 50, composed of 50 protons and 50 electrons.  The number 50…gold..50…gold.  Maybe there’s something to it.

I looked to ancient Israel and found that Pentecost, the Jewish harvest festival commemorates God giving the Ten Commandments to Moses, 50 days after the Exodus.   Finally, in more recent history, the Christians celebrate Pentecost, exactly 50 days after Easter Sunday (the Resurrection of Jesus) to commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Christ.

Perhaps it’s because I looked, and maybe it’s pure coincidence.  All of these seem connected in some way in the sense that the number 50 has relevance in a number of different cultures and systems of thought.  I welcome yours.