Day Zero: The final update (for now)

My 1001 Day Zero days ended a while back, and while I’m getting ready to start a on a new set of 101 goals (to end on the eve of my 31st birthday), I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about what I did and did not accomplish. I finished 67 of my 101 goals. Some of the goals I didn’t accomplish but still want to do (and so they will reappear on my new list), while others are no longer things I have much interest in doing. This post has a brief (or maybe not-so-brief) overview of my goals. If you want to see the complete list, that’s at

First, I accomplished some big things: I got my MFA and I read my work in public for the first time. I had a short story (“The Woman Next Door”) published in a print journal. I had surgery to remove some suture from my ankle. I went to France, where I was able to order an entire meal speaking only French.

Next, I did some fun things that I’m not sure I’d have gotten around to without this list to prompt me. I ate lunch along the Red Cedar River. I played Frisbee. I went bowling until I bowled a 150 (and haven’t been back since, which is sad). I bought (and wore) a summer sun dress.

One thing I failed for reasons beyond me: My dad didn’t finish his plane in time for me to go riding in it. I did, however, help him during the building process.

Some things, I no longer want to do. I don’t want a PhD, and I don’t need another master’s—while I always loved being in school (and miss it in a lot of ways), I’ve come to realize that getting another degree isn’t for me; I’ve got other things I want to do. I didn’t join a professional organization because I don’t feel the benefit is enough to warrant this right now. I didn’t finish my novel, either, because I’ve been working on short stories instead; it’s still percolating in the back of my head, but I’m not ready to commit to it yet. I didn’t cook a turkey because I hate touching raw meat and, let’s be honest, what does someone living alone need a turkey for?

Some things I’m disappointed in myself for not accomplishing. I never sent out holiday cards, and I only made one extra payment on my student loans instead of three—in fact, I ended up decreasing my payments instead. I never did find the courage to speak up when I found something offensive (I didn’t count online or things I said to family, as those weren’t things I had trouble with before either). I didn’t go ice skating because it was something too easy to put off.

After everything, though, I’m really happy I took part in this project. It’s been nice to set goals and track them; it’s been nice to see how I’ve changed and how much I’m accomplished. It reminds me that I do things to be proud of, and that I do things that make me happy. It reminds me that my writing career is moving along, even when I can’t help but notice all the people my age (and younger!) who have accomplished so much more. I’ve had self-esteem problems over the years, and while those bad days are rare for me now, having something like this reminds me that I am doing things, that I am moving forward.

I start my new list on Friday, and I’m looking forward to another great ride.

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