Revisiting 23 year old me: An introspective

Posted on: May 17, 2022

A little under 11 years ago I embarked on a challenge to complete 101 tasks in a 1001 days (roughly 2 years and 9 months). I did not fair well, completing just under a third of the tasks in the time frame (33). It was an interesting challenge to see how my goals change over time though.

In the same vein, I love a bit of introspection, and I thought it would be interesting to revisit the list, see how many I’ve subsequently completed, and see how my outlook on life has changed from my 20s to my 30s. So without further ado:

I have now completed 54/101 tasks. Over half!

Tasks completed since

  1. 4 Visit 5 countries - (Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Maldives, France).
  2. 17 Watch a live sporting event in a foreign country (Budapest)
  3. 24 See The Strokes live (Hyde Park)
  4. 25 Own my own pet (Chester)
  5. 29 Learn how to ski/snowboard
  6. 30 Play in a football tournament
  7. 37 Make a memorable speech / talk (wedding)
  8. 48 Swim in the sea (Devon)
  9. 50 Join LinkedIn
  10. 53 Have afternoon tea at the Ritz
  11. 54 Go one day without using my phone
  12. 67 Learn to surf
  13. 73 Host a house party
  14. 82 Get up before 6am at least 5 times
  15. 70 Go zorbing (I’m counting zorb football)
  16. 79 Go rock-climbing outside (Wales, barefoot, cut my foot open)
  17. 85 Redesign/recode samueldking.co.uk
  18. 86 Have a dental checkup
  19. 95 Go to the theatre
  20. 99 Relax in a hot tub, outside, on a cold winter's night (Iceland)
  21. 100 Learn another programming language (Ruby)

It’s nice to look back on the 7 and a half years since the challenge ended and reflect on what I have achieved. Learning to ski and surf, owning my own pet, watching Chelsea abroad, learning Ruby and finally recoding this website among a few.


Outstanding goals

Of the 48 outstanding, I’ve split them into 3 categories: really should have achieved by now; frivolous goals; and things I want to do before I die.

I was pleased to see a reasonably even split between the 3 categories. Things I still want to achieve being the highest with 40%, followed by frivolous goals: 36%, and really should have achieved: 23%.

Really should have achieved

  1. 5 Get a tattoo
  2. 14 Learn how to dive
  3. 46 Host a poker night
  4. 51 Buy a wide-angle or fisheye lens
  5. 55 Visit 5 different museums
  6. 63 Give blood
  7. 68 Earn over £1000 freelancing
  8. 83 Climb a tree
  9. 84 Visit a water park
  10. 90 Have my Les Paul cleaned/setup properly
  11. 91 Sleep in a hammock

I’m happy in the end there weren’t too many I felt I really should have done (11 in total from the original 101). These all feel achievable, and but for losing the best part of 2 years for the pandemic, some more may have been.

I never explored the freelancing route, which is interesting. I seemingly had aspirations to do this in my 20s, but I’ve instead chosen to stick to a combination of a full time job and side projects, rather than any extra paid work on the side.

Frivolous

  1. 7 Re-watch every episode of Friends
  2. 9 Star Wars Marathon
  3. 10 Put a $100 bet on red or black in Vegas
  4. 16 Take a huge canvas worthy photograph
  5. 19 Read and watch all of Harry Potter
  6. 20 Learn to down a pint of beer
  7. 21 Learn to shotgun a can of beer
  8. 26 Attend a convention
  9. 33 Watch every James Bond film chronologically
  10. 36 Ceiling-high DVD collection (approx. 150 DVDs)
  11. 43 50 press-ups in a row
  12. 45 Win a game of Poker
  13. 59 Watch 100 of IMDB's Top 250 movies list
  14. 64 Dual-monitor setup at home
  15. 65 Photograph a private event
  16. 72 Take a really good sunset photograph
  17. 80 Go fancy dress as Doctor Who

It’s amusing to me how many of these involve pointless numbers, although in fairness to my past self, are at least quantifiable. Suffice to say, marathons and boxset-rewatching was not the highest on my priorities list in the end.

Hobbies such as photography fell by the way side. At least in terms of tech. I still enjoy the art of taking pictures, but primarily now with a smart phone rather than DSLR.

A ceiling-high DVD collection is almost a relic of the past now. I reduced my collection down several years ago but I’m a little ashamed I’ve not culled it completely. I can’t remember when I last watched a DVD!

Do before I die

  1. 3 Skydive
  2. 11 Learn a Language
  3. 13 Be in a band
  4. 15 Swim a mile
  5. 23 Stay in a hostel
  6. 27 Own a valve amp, play it live
  7. 28 Own a Fender Guitar
  8. 32 Ride a sleeper train
  9. 39 Ride the New York subway
  10. 41 See 25 live gigs
  11. 42 Write a song
  12. 44 Make friends in a foreign country
  13. 49 Learn to rollerblade/skate
  14. 56 Make a short film
  15. 58 Go to a music festival
  16. 62 Go scuba diving
  17. 66 Ride a hot air balloon
  18. 92 Take a trip on my own
  19. 97 Spend Christmas/New Year somewhere beautiful

This is the really interesting list for me. A mixture of waning hobbies, lack of consistency, and distant but still desirable goals.

Skydiving, scuba diving, and riding a hot air balloon & a sleeper train are all still activities I’d love to do one day. Charlotte and I snorkelled in the Maldives, which was mesmerising, but didn’t take the plunge on the scuba dive.

Music, like photography, has become a less significant part of my life. I would still consider it a passion of mine though, so one day playing live in a band (#13), with a Fender tele (#28) through a Blues Junior (#27) remains a dream of mine 😍.

Swimming a mile remains a current challenge.

Conclusion

Goal-setting is something I now approach with a bit more trepidation. Goals can hang over you like the proverbial albatross, especially if your time to yourself is limited due to family commitments, for example.

I would seriously struggle to come up with 101 things I wanted to achieve in the next 3 years now. Perhaps this makes me less ambitious (are you ever more ambititious than in your early 20s?) but I think I have a better grasp on my limitations now.

I still struggle daily with motivation, especially with more grandiose tasks, so I try to break things down into more achievable, atomic tasks. Journalling daily helps keep me grounded and track my progress towards my goals.

A life without working towards something aspirational would be a tedious one, so it's important to have your sights set on something. Just don't beat yourself up about it and try and make tiny progress as often as you can.

Tags: challenge