Things I Want To Do Before I’m 40

… JUST KIDDING! I’m not falling into that trap again. That whole “Things I Want To Do Before I’m 30” list I made 10 years ago this Sunday turned out to be a terribly depressing combination of things I failed at and things I never tried.

For those of you that haven’t gotten the memo I put out on the Associated Press (just kidding, again… I may be a blogger but I’m not that much of a narcissist): I’m turning 30 this Sunday. It’s a terribly depressing occasion for this bitch, and before you all start thinking I’m annoying and young and shit, just hear me out. I had this magical list of things I wanted to do before 30 and it wasn’t stuff like “swim with the dolphins” and “discover a cure for influenza,” it was a conglomerate of things I really actually thought and tried to do. Like finish graduate school. Like start a successful teaching career. Like be happily married. Like move the hell out of California.

So I have already been celebrating my birthday for a few days now. I suppose you could consider my epic travels to my sweet home, Chicago to have been something of celebration, but I am meaning in immediate terms when I say “celebrating.” Yesterday I went to lunch with my parents, which was nice (daddy got me drunk by 2 in the afternoon). I got my new Cuisinart Multicooker and a gravy boat that is shaped like a cow and pours the gravy out of its mouth. Today I am baking myself a cake (since no one else is apparently planning on doing so). And there is something else I need to do as I go into my weekend of minimal activities, and that is to light fire to my list of things I want to do before I’m 30.

Graduate school and a successful career in teaching … burn it down

I suppose I should give myself credit for the fact that I have not one, but two Bachelors of Arts degrees from an accredited, private institution. And while I began my graduate degree in Philosophy, leaving the program was a necessity to stop wracking up debt that I wasn’t going to be able to sustain as a result of having limited job opportunities locally where my husband’s job in the film industry is. I really wanted to be done with graduate school and well on my way to a successful career in teaching by now. This defined my life for the better portion of my 20s. For now at least, my graduate degree and a career in teaching is not in the cards for me. I think it’s time to get over this and move on.

In addition to that, though, after having been out of graduate school for a few years now, I can see how insane grad students are. They don’t eat. They don’t sleep. They look like shit all the time. No offense to my graduate student friends and faithful blog followers, but have any of you considered how much coffee and crap you ingest just to get through the day? I have never felt as healthy and well as I have the last few years, which owe in large part to the fact that I’m out of that grind.

Publish my first novel … up in flames

The novel was a recent goal that I added within the last three years or so since about the same time I left graduate school. It’s a lot of work to write a book, though – more work than I thought it would be. And I don’t just want to write crap, which is why after completing my first draft of the book about nine months ago, I trashed the entire thing and have begun the story concept again. Unlike most of the writers I have met in my community, I am not in it to write some quick and dirty chop shop of a piece of literature. I want to write a good book because I have ideas I think are good and I enjoy the craft of writing. That’s it. I’ll finish the book, but setting up a time table really is unfair to me and the work I’m trying to produce.

Burn up thoughts of a happy marriage

Marriage is an institution, and who in their right mind wants to be institutionalized? I’m not saying I hate my husband. I’m not saying I’m entirely unhappy with my marriage. But the wedding is probably the easiest part of getting married, and we all know how stressful weddings are. In the relatively short period of time my husband and I have been married, we’ve had to deal with a lot of bull shit – mostly in the form of family drama. Hello Kitty Toaster and the gang have made happy times a real challenge, as has the fact that my husband’s job takes up about 95% of his focus and attention. There is a reason California has the highest divorce rate (3 of 4 marriages), and my husband is a Californian to his core.

In spite of all that, fortunately I am smart enough to know that a marriage like mine will actually be the one that lasts. It’s those people that are so infatuated with how happy they are, together we shit rainbows and fly to work on unicorns and all, that when reality sets in that life sucks and there is a lot of crap to deal with every single day of it, everything falls apart. If you can still be together and have some semblance of love despite all the miserable crap around you, that means more than all the “OMG I have the best husband in the world he gets me flowers and candies and wipes my ass every day” Facebook updates.

There is a wall of flames between me and moving out of California

I still have really really really, unrealistically high hopes of moving out of California in the near future (can you guys tell?), but doing it before I turn 30 is unlikely. I mean I’d basically have to pack up all our stuff and just leave tomorrow. While I did actually consider doing that last night, just as I did the night before our vacation to Chicago came to an end a few weeks ago, it’s not happening. I will not be moving out of California before I turn 30. I’m not putting that on a 40s list, though, because I’m pretty sure if I don’t leave California well before 40, I won’t make it that far. (I just can’t stand this place that much.)

On the flip side, I have to say that living in California has given me a lot of fodder to write about, both on my blog and in my book. I consider my life in California to be something of a tragic comedy – hilarious at how absurd it is, tragic for the same exact reason. Just today I was driving in the rain and saw some hillbillies sitting outside in their trucks, two sitting in the cab and one (shirtless and smoking) standing in the truck bed with a large, shiny stick. It was a thunderstorm and as I got closer, I saw that those rednecked weirdos were actually trying to get struck by lightening. Had I not been here – where the majority of our population is made up not of glitz and glam and movie stars, but of descendants of southern hillbillies who came over for work during the Great Depression – I never would have seen that.

What does this all mean, you ask? And why should you care?

Well you shouldn’t. I mean you can and I think it’s awesome that as many people that read my blog do. (In fact, on that note, I’m feeling a little honored by how many people take the time to read and comment on my stupid little blog of bitching and complaining and snarking…)

What it means, though, is that now that I have burned up my list of things to do before I turn 30 (because 30 would have burned it for me just two days from now), I can focus on other things. Like baking myself that cake. Like trying lots of good wines. Like working on my book because I want to. Like reading my long list of books I plan on reading this year. Like finding out if my upstairs neighbors really are running a prostitution house up there (I mean, seriously .. people showering at 2 in the morning, strange men coming in and out at all hours…).

So happy birthday to me. It is my party and I will be crying as all of this stuff melts into flames, but here’s the thing about crying: it always feels so good afterwards. Only when we lament the past can we get on with the future, right?


  1. boomiebol

    Still happy birthday :). Enjoyed reading this posts and some others, you are one honest blogger. I will definitely be back ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      Thanks so much!! I appreciate very much your kind words ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Tomorrow I turn… « cjackplay

    […] I was reminded that I was not the only one who holds that sentiment when I read fellow blogger, Heather Christena Schmidt’s “Things I Want To Do Before I’m 40″ blog.ย  Like her,ย  I was a bit disappointed in myself.ย  I felt like a failure because I wasn’t a […]

  3. gkorula

    On the marriage thing, some comedian said (can’t remember who): in America 50% of people get divorced…50%, so it’s either going to be you or your wife.

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      That’s hilarious, and rings relatively true!!

  4. Chris

    Great to read your blog when I can’t sleep…wait, that sounds awful, but it’s a compliment. What I mean to say is it’s nice to have something entertaining to read when I can’t sleep. Anyway, great blog and happy b-day.

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      HAHA, thanks – I think? ;D

  5. Happy birthday to me « nonsense girl

    […] are probably hating me right now for my smug happiness. Reminds me of fellow blogger Heather Christina saying, “she hates those people that are so infatuated with how happy they are, together we […]

  6. mikeballenger2011

    Awesome post and Happy Birthday. I just turned 30 as well and there was a lot of reflection…to better days…Cheers!

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      Thanks so much! And happy belated birthday to you as well!!

  7. paralaxvu

    Happy Birthday, my dear HCS! Accept how you are today, because–after all–that’s how you are. Goals, realistic or not (and whose realism, BTW? Yours is the only one that counts), are good. They keep you moving, perhaps not forward all the time, but at least moving. And moving exercises your body and your mind. They both grow, as will you, to 31 and then 32 and then…. I’ve finally learned that lists are meant to keep us just a little bit on edge, where we seem to do our best. But first ya gotta accept what is. And what is, is you at 30. You are quite a package, cuz I don’t read shit and I like to read your blog. OK, OK, so I’m more than twice as old as you and didn’t learn a lot of what I just said at 30. But something sunk in for me to be able to get to 66. As will you. But, just for today, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      Haha, thanks!! Heidegger called “what is” our facticity (well really all the existentialists called it that). I think this is something I really need to learn to accept, and you are right that now it’s that I’m 30. Thanks again for your thoughtful comment!

  8. Worldly Winds

    Brilliant blog! Love it! Have a very Happy Birthday whatever you decide to do… riding unicorns and shitting rainbows sounds like fun to me – though I am heading more for the 50 end of the scale :{

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      I did not ride unicorns and shit rainbows, but I did go gambling and won some money so it ended up okay! Thanks!!

  9. AsheX

    hey happy birthday ๐Ÿ™‚ and…
    “together shit rainbows”…:D
    lol ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      HAHA!! Thanks!!

  10. ghfool

    Two words. Thirty is young. Crap, that was three words, OK three words, You’re young. OMG. Never mind. One word. Peace out. Damn it!

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      HAHAH!! Your comments always make me laugh so loud and hard – please don’t ever stop!!

  11. lauriejlong

    You are me, I swear. I turned 30 last February (amazingly, I did NOT turn 31 two months ago… imagine that?), and I cried and cried for weeks about it. I, too, had a list of things I wanted to accomplish before 30 (like graduate with my Bachelor’s, which I set at 22, thinking it was a totally realistic goal at the time. Another reason I f#%$ing hate my ex- husband), but as my 30th loomed, my to-do list had grown to insurmountable. You are awesome, and I applaud you for giving yourself a much needed break. I cannot wait to see what you do with your talents and snark, my dear! I suggest you go buy that Hello Kitty toaster, burn the shit out of two pieces of toast and then send them to Hello Kitty Toaster with a plastic butter knife stabbed right through the middle of one piece. That would be a fun gift, doncha think? XOXO

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      Oh, that would be the most glorious gift EVER!! WOW! I may have to do this!!

      I think in the end goals are good and all, but to let them define your life entirely is the sign of someone that cannot live in the present.

      Thanks so much for your comment!!

  12. rich

    i had going to a nude beach on my list. crossed that off a couple of years ago. my kids don’t read your blog, right? good.

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      Oh goodness hahah!!

  13. christenjackson

    Happy Birthday! I remember my 30th birthday as a blessing and a curse. I was old enough to be taken seriously, but I hadn’t accomplished anything that I was super proud of and was disappointed in myself. Damn you double edged sword of getting older!!!! Just do what makes you happy and let all the naysayers be damned. And if there is a brothel running upstairs you should try and make a buck off them and have a little stand at the bottom of the stairs selling condoms and lube. Just a thought. ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      Thank you so much for the birthday wishes, and I think I will be taking up your condom dispensary advise hahaha!!

  14. alienredqueen

    Haha… I too have a double degree BS… The diploma looks really pretty on my wall…and that’s about all it’s done for me since I got it. Which pisses me off sometimes (and I know it pisses my mother off, because she’s taken more than one opportunity to let me know.)

    I kind of only half agree with you on the marriage thing. It is definitely NOT all sunshine and daisies. People say the first year of marriage is the hardest. Mine certainly was, but, hey, losing your home, relatives dying, miscarriages, lost jobs, nasty family fights, and having your car wrecked can do that to a marriage. Plus, marriage is work. You have to sometimes deal with the fact that who you married is not the same person you met.

    Ultimately, though, you should be happier more often than you are not, and you should feel trust and loving feelings for your spouse. I have to admit annoyance as well with some of the people and their Facebook status’s, but likelier than not, they either just haven’t hit their “hard patch”, or they have, and like me, hopefully have enough sense to keep it off of Facebook. But the way you talk you almost sound bitter of people that are happily in love. (Please don’t take offense, because I definitely mean this as a constructive observation.)
    Stress like what you are under, living in a place you hate and feeling alone, can break a marriage. Sometimes I wonder at how close hubs and I could have been to disaster. Whatever the case with you personally, I hope you have the strength you need to do what you have to (what ever you decide you need) to be happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      Yep, my double-framed degrees are pretty to look at and that is about it.

      I actually could be clearer about what I am bitter about. It seems as though the people that are constantly posting their uber-happiness on Facebook, Twitter, etc – as well as in person talking about it incessantly – are also the ones that are first to look down on and judge others, or even shame them, for not doing the same. God forbid someone be unhappy and express that! My sister in law is a perfect example of this (she has appeared on my blog in the past as Hello Kitty Toaster). She is constantly posting on Facebook and blathering on at family gatherings about how wonderful her life is (which it isn’t, she just has to do that to make herself feel better). But because I don’t do that, and because I am honest when something sucks or isn’t perfect, she publicly shames me for it! I finally deleted her from my Facebook page because I couldn’t take her bitching at me for saying my back hurt or that I was tired of doing dishes or some other not wonderful thing.

      Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting so thoughtfully!! ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. alienredqueen

        That’s terrible! (Family can be more brutal than anyone, as if they have the right by dint of being related!)

  15. Finally… Wendy Wanders

    Great philosophy on marriage… no that’s not sarcasm. And of course… Happy Birthday ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      Thanks!! And I think it is too (the philosophy on marriage) ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. southinkuknowme

    Happy Birthday – I hope? lol

    1. Heather Christena Schmidt

      Hahaha, well thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

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