Yes, it is my birthday today! (And Tolkien’s, too. I always have to point out that we share one.) 31 is not really a meaningful or special number, but it is still fun to celebrate–and to make a list of things to do this year.

Unlike 29 or 30, I’m scaling back a little for 31. The long lists of goals were getting to be overwhelming, so this year I’m doing 3+1 Things instead of 31 Things. And I’m really going to do them all this year.

Here are the 3 things:

1. Walk, bike, or do yoga once a week.
When I first got an office job, I made it a point to go out for a hike on Sundays. Now that I should have my own washer and dryer and won’t have to do laundry at the parents on Sundays, I might start that again. (My new house will be closer to Millcreek Canyon and I want to get an annual pass there.) I also want to try biking to the grocery stores and downtown Sugarhouse. And I need to find a new yoga studio.

2. Learn more sewing techniques.
I tend to want to hurry and finish projects so I can wear them, but this year I want to take a little more time and learn some higher-end techniques, like stabilizing necklines, and underlining, and using a silk organza press cloth, and making bound buttonholes. I also want to learn how to use my serger, since I’ll finally have a place to keep it out.

3. Memorize 6 poems.
I’ve always been bad at memorizing–music, words, anything. I can get pretty close but then I get stuck, or discover that I don’t have it down as well as I thought. Sometime over the summer I realized that I had the Mark Strand poem in the Gallivan Center memorized (after visiting it for four years), and it was a revelation when I said it back from memory. I think all poems need to be memorized now, so I’m going to try to get some of my favorites down:

i. “The Poems of Our Climate,” Wallace Stevens
ii. Final section (VI) from Ash Wednesday, T.S. Eliot
iii. “Meditation at Lagunitas,” Robert Hass
iv. Section XVI from Dark Harbor, Mark Strand
v.. Sonnet 100 from 100 Love Sonnets, Pablo Neruda
vi. “Starlings in Winter,” Mary Oliver

And here’s the +1 thing. Because it’s a +1, I’m calling it optional, just in case I don’t get everything accomplished this year:

+1. Go on a date.
Given how quickly the time has passed between 27 (when I last went on a date) and 31, I think it may be wise to ask my friends to set me up a couple times this year. I’m not sure I want to actually get into a relationship–Toby and I have been just fine, thank you very much–but I also don’t want to suddenly be 40 and realize that I haven’t been on a date in 13 years. I intend to keep my hand in, so to speak.

I have the day off, so I can start on some of the 3 Things already–I’m going to sew and think about Wallace Stevens.