What I did (and didn't) do from the birthday soul list

Last year, just before turning 43, I collected all the lovely things I wanted to do and wrote it down as a dedicated 'soul list' , r...

Last year, just before turning 43, I collected all the lovely things I wanted to do and wrote it down as a dedicated 'soul list', revisiting it every so often to see how I was tracking. My 44th birthday is looming and I thought I'd share what I did, and didn't do.



Here’s what I did:

  1. I went to a craft camp and I’ve booked again for this year.
  2. I used a slow stitching and mending technique, quite a few times.
  3. I passed the first year of my MBA. Phew.
  4. I averaged a book each month that is unrelated to work or study, and am desperate to keep this going.
  5. I didn’t hold a garage sale, but I did start divesting of household and wardrobe items online. Kinda counts, doesn’t it?
  6. I travelled overseas to Malaysia. I loved Penang. My partner and I talk about it all the time are are keen to revisit. If you have to stopover in Singapore on your international travels, check whether a side-trip through KL and to Penang could work.
  7. I visited my Nana in Brisbane. She’s a goer, my Nana. She’s got a trade in bingo winnings going on that is bordering on graft and corruption.
  8. I made a Pussy Hat, and I wear it.
  9. I cooked from new recipes all the time. I’m not sure whether it was once a week, but often enough to claim this one.
  10. I cooked a fancy dinner once a month. We’ve had some pretty delicious dinners this past year, which may have contributed to some of what I didn’t do.
  11. I am a produce swap convert. Great people, great produce and lots to learn.
  12. I did do okay with the ocean dips but reckon I could still improve on that one.
  13. I did see my niece and nephew a few times this year. They’re growing so fast. My nephew started high school this year.
  14. I did spend a weekend at Brunswick Heads. My partner and I chose to go there to mark 20 years together.
  15. I did go to one live music gig to see Martha Wainwright perform at Taronga Zoo. Man, these things are expensive. What happened to good old pub bands, I ask ya. 
  16. I did go back to yoga classes. You know what, I wasn’t loving it. I prefer my home practice. My time, my pace, it’s free and it’s in my lounge room. Sure, it’s not perfect, but for right now it’s where I’m at.
  17. I did write a short story, and what’s more entered it into a competition.
  18. I did get my film camera out, cleaned it up and got it working again. I loved it so much I bought a new DSLR. I’ve been using compacts for years but did the research and opted for the Nikon D5600 – a mid-range, light, small DSLR that allows me to change lenses and that can be used in manual mode, something I was finding harder and harder to do with the new wave compacts.
  19. I did make my own muesli. Oh my, the smell of toasting muesli. Mmmm.
Almost half way. Not bad.

Here's what I didn't do:

  1. I didn’t lose 5kg. In fact, I put on another 5 meaning I’ve got about 10kg to lose to get down to the comfortable weight I was three years ago. Eat less, move more.
  2. I didn’t do an overnight hike. I came so very close and then got very sick.
  3. I didn’t use a solar dye pot, but I did do a one-day natural dye class, and it was magical.
  4. I didn’t read more poetry. I have been reading more history though, and biographies, and it was kicked off by reading about a poet. Does that count?
  5. I didn’t write that many letters to my letter-writing friends. I wrote some, but not as much as I’d hoped to.
  6. I didn’t try straw-bale gardening. We’ve made a decision to move on from our house and rent it, so this past year I’ve been planning how to enjoy the garden we have while moving it to one that will suit renters.
  7. I didn’t learn more about bee-keeping. Again, I am going to have to park this one until the study is over.
  8. I didn’t make sourdough bread, but I am in the market for a scobie if anyone has one to share. I am going to have a crack at kombucha.
  9. I didn’t write and host a webinar. If I am honest, I can’t even remember why I thought this was a good idea. It was in my business plan for my media consultancy but honestly, sometimes these grand plans for promoting the business can actually remove you from doing the paid work.
  10. I didn’t try calligraphy. No reason, just didn’t.
  11. I didn’t pick up the printmaking tools again and crack out some prints. I didn’t even pick up a sketchbook this year. Nope. That’s going to have to wait until, um, retirement. Who knows?

Here’s what I am ditching, and why:

  1. I won’t be drawing my op shop finds. Yes, I used to do it all the time, but I just don’t have the time. How I did then, I don’t know, but I am not op shopping as much as I once was, and I am not inspired to pick up the drawing pad and pencil.
  2. I won’t be spending a weekend in Melbourne with Mum. We did talk about this plan, but Mum’s busy and I couldn’t co-ordinate a weekend where I could afford to be away from the study, group meetings and assessment work. That’ll be the same this year. Next year maybe.
  3. I won’t be knitting a Jenny Kee pattern. I have one on the sticks and I’ll plug away at it, but I expect it’ll still be on the sticks – albeit with rows added – this time next year.
  4. I won’t be hosting a camp cooking weekend. Again, the study is all-consuming and it’s good to be realistic about what’s possible. I’ll stick with trying to get a few nights under canvas.
  5. There will be no Pussy Hat or mandala stitching workshops. Again, the cost of giving my time to planning and delivering them over study isn’t worth it.
  6. I won’t strike a frangipani. I bought one with a fair bit of growth on it and it’s bedding into my chosen spot in the garden.
  7. I won’t be renewing my Girl Guide canoe qualifications. I am not sure what my future role in Guides will be. I’m just going to sit with that this year. My membership is current, but that’s about it for the moment.
I am still working on the soul list for my 44th birthday.
What would be on your soul list?
Got any suggestions for me?

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6 comments

  1. Oh wow, this is the best! For a few years in a row I did a similar blog post at the end of each year and revisited it at the end of the next but I found the list of didn't soooo much longer than the did's that it got depressing so I stopped. I still haven't knitted a colour work sweater or volunteered with the ASRC....I am going to teach sock knitting soon tho....Congrats on your 20 year anniversary!! xx

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    1. When I looked back midway through the year I did wonder what I'd set myself up for, but it was a good check in and I hussled to make sure the time didn't just drift past for another year. I saw that you are teaching sock knitting. Another craft festival/camp I'd love to attend - maybe when the fulltime study is done and dusted.

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  2. Hello Kate. Congratulations on 20 years. You have achieved so many things...and sometimes we just have to let some things go don't we? I wish I was closer to a produce swap! Have a lovely weekend x

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    1. The produce swaps have been great. They make me get out into the garden and clip and weed and get things ready and they're also short and sweet - an hour or two with like-minded people. There's no meetings, or admin, or treasurer reports or the like. That said, bless the people who have got them up and running. They're solid gold.

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  3. Solar dye is the easiest thing to tick off the list. Just a big glass jar with some onion skins and a bit of cloth or a few threads maybe a splash of vinegar. Leave in a sunny spot. I currently have red onions, madder, puffballs, and cinerea leaves out and am about to shove some basil leaves in a jar and see what happens. Best set and forget I know. Love reading your list it does inspire me. I have started both kombucha and water kefir this year, I did milk kefir for a bit but didn't take to it at all.

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  4. Looks like a great idea to help commit to your list by writing them down. I may have to try it myself. So lucky you have a local produce swap it would be really handy, I have a lot of excess fruit and veg in the garden. Congratulations on your anniversary too Kate...you both look so happy.

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