Hello, I’m Jennifer. I’m a recovering perfectionist who loves writing, reading, music, driving, jewel tones, relaxation, sunshine, fart jokes, laughing too loudly, being Episcopalian, over-analyzing, using exclamation points (!!), the oxford comma, and coloring. I married my husband Adam in July of 2010; we added Domino the Dog to our family last year; and this March, we welcomed our daughter, “Fig”, into the world.
Welcome to my Forty-Two Things by 42 Project.
The short story: A few months into my 35th year, I made a list of Forty-Two Things that I want to do before I turn 42. I chose this number because I’ve always loved the idea from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy of 42 as The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. And I wanted to set out on something Big as a continuation of a transformative path that I’ve been on for the past few years. So I made this list of Forty-Two Things that I want to do before I turn 42. I broke them into categories of Life, the Universe, and Everything. This blog is where I’ll keep track of the Things and how I do them. And this blog is one of the Things so I’d say I’m already off to a great start. My “official” deadline to complete the Things, AKA my 42nd birthday, is March 7, 2022.
The Long Story: Since January of 2013, I’ve been on a journey, of sorts. It all started when I discovered Brené Brown’s Ted Talk at two in the morning, sitting on my boss’s couch, taking a break from a three-day marathon grant-writing session. If you haven’t seen her first Ted Talk, go watch it now.
I’ve since become a Brené Brown-evangelist. In October 2013, I paid to do Part I of her e-course on Oprah’s website, and I finished it, both of which are very unlike me. Brown’s work resonates with me and it makes sense. Her ideas around wholehearted living, vulnerability, courage, gratitude, and self-compassion have truly changed my life. Here’s a quick summation:
It’s simultaneously touchy-feely and systematic. I never realized those two sides could coexist so well in my soul. I could say a lot more, but really, you need to check out Dr. Brown’s work for yourself and see what speaks to you.
Trying to pursue wholehearted living has led me to come up with this project, these goals for myself. I’ve never been big on goals. But I’m actually excited to embark on this project. I feel really pleased with my list. I spent a lot of time thinking about what the Forty-Two Things would be. It’s part bucket list, part self-improvement project. I made a few guiding principles. For each Thing the process of accomplishing it must be consistent with my authentic self – even as I’m still figuring out just who that is. I wanted each Thing to speak to something that gets at the core of who I am. But I didn’t want to rely on anything that would probably happen naturally. For example, I considered adding “Take Fig to a concert,” but OF COURSE I will take my child to a concert — when she’s a little older, and with appropriate ear protection — so that can’t go on the list. (Although I did make one exception involving tourism in Galveston, but that’s because I have a deep sentimental attachment to those things and sharing them with Fig is a real goal. Also, I’m all about exceptions.)
One disclaimer: I’m a mom and I have a blog, but I don’t think I’ll be doing a mommy blog. At least, not right now. Adam and I have some decisions to make about how we feel about privacy and that sort of thing. So please don’t think that the (in)frequency of Fig mentions is in any way correlated to my affection for my daughter. I feel extremely vulnerable about motherhood so I am compelled to make this disclaimer explicitly.
My intention is to blog about doing things on the list, but I reserve the right to tackle other topics as the mood strikes. While I’m looking forward to checking things off this list as I complete them, it really is about the journey. Thanks for coming along.