Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

- The Robots.

Export My Content

Amanda Riley

Recent entries from Amanda Riley
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Amanda RileyGoing even better being out of college

Well, I didn’t get into grad school and I decided I no longer want to pursue an academic career. It’s a bit too stifling for me. But unfortunately, I can never really decide what I WOULD want to do (besides creative pursuits that won’t really keep me fed and sheltered). So instead of looking for a job immediately after graduation last month, I gave myself some space and freedom to do whatever I felt like. I am so grateful I can afford to do that for a while because of my family.

But anyway, it has been the most amazing month ever. One thing I really need to work on is my social life though, but that will come in time once I get myself out into the world again. But I do have a few friends that I went to a couple of concerts with and vegan events, and I love them so much! All of that stuff made me really happy. But most days I just stay in my room by myself and work on things, just whatever I felt like. I worked on my French and computer programming skills a bit at first. Then I started a vegan 1-minute video channel on YouTube. I also started putting together a jacket made from old jeans I would have to throw out soon if I didn’t find a use for them. And most importantly, I’ve been playing my guitar a lot (hoping to take lessons again soon because I am a bit stunted in my skill building)... but I actually covered someone’s song whom I really admire, and they loved it! I am also nearly done with my first three original songs, which I was never able to do before. I also learned to cook a few cool new meals, like macaroni and cashew cheese, which is SO GOOD!

All that in a month! Wow! I forget how short of a time it’s been but that is really good. Anyway, I will probably continue to work on all of those things, except maybe the jacket, because it turns out gaining sewing skills from the ground up and doing a complex project isn’t as easy as it sounds!

But today all of those random activities paid off. I was thinking about all the stuff I love and spend my time on, and I remembered Guide to Good—the nonprofit that I’ve wanted to start for the past 4 years. And I figured out that my calling is to make this, as a website that inspires people with meaningful art, events, people, and organizations, in addition to helping underprivileged people find their way to make their mark. Eh, I’m not sure, but I feel really inspired.

I’ve enjoyed this so much that I think I am going to continue this freedom indefinitely by getting a crappy job at a shop or something, that will not require extra thinking when I go home. (I really don’t care about luxuries so I’m good with a minimum hourly wage. I literally just need rent, food, and internet!) Then I am going to work on all this stuff until it pans out. Something may change at some point, but I am not going to worry about it now in this moment! 2 years ago

Amanda RileyGraduating from college and the crossroads of my life!

Woo, so I just finished my educational responsibilities yesterday, I’m thinking forever. I did not get into graduate school, but I have already decided that was for the best because I am probably poorly suited for an academic career.

I have been very uncomfortable with this position in my life because I am currently not in a financially stable position or close to attaining one. Very quickly, let me just get out some things that are bugging me about myself and my life:
1.) I have no job and no job prospects in the near future… and I am really not at all sure of what I want to do with my life.
2.) Actually… there are several things that I would love nothing more than to dedicate my life to them, but none of them are things I am likely to get paid for… especially enough money to live off of in the long term.
3.) I am dependent on my parents because I get food and shelter from my mother, and my father pays for my car insurance and cell phone.
4.) I have very poor social skills… not good at public speaking or interviewing, and significant trouble connecting with people on an emotional, individual level, which I know is going to make it much harder for me to get a job, not to mention keep me without enriching friendships and relationships.

Some of these negative feelings are being reinforced by the people around me. For example, my parents are very fond of criticizing me for depending on them, and for not being interested in jobs that have a relative guarantee of financial stability. However, I am inclined to pay more attention to messages from positive people who are living contented lives. I am grateful to my parents for sustaining me, but I do not want to grow up to share their cynicism and perpetually unsatisfying lifestyles. So, here are some reasons I have to be grateful for my life:

1.) Most importantly… it’s a GOOD thing that I am not like the mainstream people in society, even if some of it is lost strengths. I am already much more dedicated to my health, happiness, and integrity than most people my age, and lots of people much older than I am. This is a good thing, and it’s not necessary to compromise these things. It’s better to proactively seek out opportunities that are in line with them.
2.) Even if it’s over, my academic career was very successful. I graduated with a >3.9 GPA, with a senior thesis and other psychological research experience, Honors College and Honors-in-Psychology distinction, two useful minors with high GPAs (CS and English), and a psychology award. I also scored very well on the GREs, so I can always apply to graduate school again as long as it’s within the next 4 years. These things may serve me well or may not, but at the very least they prove that I am capable of sticking to a goal for a long time and achieving it with flying colors.
3.) I have a wide variety of interests and skills that enable me the freedom to go into many different fields. Even though this makes decisions harder, it makes it more likely that I will hit upon the perfect fit for what I should be doing with my life.
4.) I may not have a job, but I do have enough money saved up to pay for a couple of months’ rent while I look for one.
5.) I may not have perfect social skills, and I may have many other flaws too, but looking back on who I was at 17 or 18, I have come SO far. I have gotten so much better at everything that matters and I have become so much less fearful and more open to new experiences and different kinds of people. I have also learned to be a better activist and vegan, and picked up many new skills from both formal and informal education. I may not have made the most of my time for making friends, but I definitely made the most of it in other ways.
6.) It’s actually a good thing that I’m not set into one career right now. I can literally be anything I want, well, within reason based on my skill set, but I think I could adapt to most kinds of careers because of my varied experiences. I’m doing all the right things now by keeping up with events and groups that interest me, getting out there and discussing important topics, etc. This WILL lead to good things, I’m sure.

I don’t want to spend too much time on this, just wanted to prove to myself that I’m in a GOOD spot in my life now, not a bad one. Yay! 2 years ago

Amanda RileySo far a success!

I think this is truly working. Right now I am somewhat focused on getting my BA because I am graduating in May. I am also interested in getting into a PhD program, so I have been working on that. You would think those would constitute goals and ruin my living in the moment. But actually I have changed my outlook about how to go about it.

Instead of seeing grad school admission and a college degree as huge goals I have to achieve, I just pay attention to that one task I have to do at the moment. So instead of worrying about the 10 Java programs I have to write, I just worry about the one that is due next week. Instead of worrying about running 90 participants for my psychology study, I just worry about the 5 I have to run that day. And instead of worrying about being impressive overall to graduate schools, I worried about each interview and each task as it came up. I haven’t gotten burnt out at all, and now I’ve been rewarded with spring break and my applications/interviews are done! (And it’s out of my head now until I get my decisions back.)

Other than those big goals, I have tried to avoid having others. But I am doing whatever interests me. So a lot of the time, that is music, so I listen to it a lot when I have the time and I practice playing when I can too. Also, I am taking a few online courses because I enjoy them, but I am not particularly worried about finishing them. It’s just for fun, no pressure. I also just started an internship with a vegan nonprofit, which requires a certain level of commitment because other people are depending on me, but I am just seeing it as a fun new experience.

I’m not sure if this is the reason, but I have been VERY happy this year. Very happy. I can still be a little irritable occasionally when a bunch of things go wrong, but most days I have been quite pleasant to be around. I’ve been enjoying nature SO much more, even just the sky. I have been seeing the good in everything and it makes me really happy. And even most bad things that happen to me, I have been taking positively. Like, I no longer get upset if someone is rude to me, but I try to assume they were having a bad day, and a couple of times (but not every time) I have actually turned around someone’s rude behavior! I only very rarely have had to cultivate this attitude purposely; usually it feels natural now. Yay! 2 years ago

Amanda RileyUntitled

Yeah, you’re right. I looked at your goal list, that’s probably the best kind. I just personally don’t have any definite things I want in my life at the moment so I’m trying to go with the flow. 2 years ago

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Amanda RileyUntitled

Hey, each state has two senators that represent it in the federal government, but they have a number of congress people based on how many people live in their state.

Also, most states have their own congress and senate, which is organized in various ways and may have various numbers. I am not sure which of these lists you were looking at.

Here is an article that may help you: 2 years ago

Amanda RileyUntitled

Aw that sounds amazing! I still remember my first concert, which was actually a festival, but then I saw my favorite band and then I was hooked. :) Keep having fun!

Oh and if you’re going to concerts regularly you should always wear ear plugs! The only time I don’t is when it’s a band I really love and I want to sing along. Just so you know, every time your ears ring, you are losing a little bit of your hearing.

Amanda RileyPositive Things So Far in 2012

1.) My senile grandmother is moving back into her house with my aunt, who has more time to deal with her.

2.) My sister and stepsister both broke up with their annoying boyfriends, so now we are all single and can hang out without boys. (Okay these are kinda cynical but they really did make me happy.)

3.) I witnessed a hilarious Facebook prank today involving TONS of cat photos on a specific friend’s wall (who hates cats).

4.) I have been playing guitar every day, improving at it.

5.) I found a lovely group of kids who have a band that I can sing for, which will give me the opportunity to get used to singing in front of friends and strangers, as well as recording and finding a rhythm.

6.) Just by forcing myself to go out and do things when I am invited or when I hear about something that interests me, I have greatly decreased my social anxiety, fear of driving, and lots of other fears about new situations.

7.) I got an interview for two graduate schools and may still get the last one I applied to. Even if I don’t get in or decide not to go, I will get to see two cities I have never seen before! And if I DO go, I will learn a lot more about one of my favorite topics and have the opportunity to go into a career that makes a real difference in disadvantaged communities.

8.) Over the break I volunteered with Democracy Now!, which was a great experience because I got to meet like-minded people, listen to some important world/political news, and feel like I was helping out an important organization.

9.) Also over the break (these are technically 2011 but whatever), I got to see my FAVORITE band, the Bouncing Souls, four nights in a row, enjoy time with old and new friends, in a place that I find really inspiring, and it made me remember my dreams and the possibilities to achieve them.

10.) Even though I can’t see the Bouncing Souls every night of my life, I can surround myself with music (including theirs) anytime I want. And then a few nights a year, I get the special joy of seeing it in person.

11.) I’ve been transcribing interviews for a communist organization, and although I’m not sure I’m a communist, I do like hearing different viewpoints critiquing capitalism and I have learned from that.

12.) I got to eat at two awesome vegan restaurants this year, and their food makes me feel VERY happy. I am going to try more when I visit new cities.

13.) I have been living more in the moment and discovering what truly makes me happy. That is now my only goal!

14.) I am getting closer to my friends and family that I estranged myself from when I was in an abusive relationship last year.

15.) I’m 21—the greatest age in the world!

16.) I have my health and everything else I need to survive.

17.) Bouncing back from my relationship-induced depression last year, I feel happier than ever. And I am trying to keep my emotions more balanced so that I don’t have another crash later on.

18.) I really am not as worried about doing certain things or achieving certain goals as I have been at other points in my life. Wanting to be that way is one thing, but being truly ready for it is something to be happy about.

19.) Everyone in my life is pretty happy with their lives right now, and it makes me happy to see that, particularly since I am happy myself and want to preserve it by being around positive people!

20.) I may be going out to dinner this week with three friends I barely get to see but I really love.

That’s all for now. Hope to be able to do this more often! 2 years ago

Amanda RileyFirst step: remove all goals... check!

Well, eliminating goals is pretty much the essence of this “goal” anyway. But the easiest thing, which I’m starting with, is to remove all records of the goals in your head. I am now free of other goals on 43 Things (except “be more positive,” which I think is worth doing, it’s abstract, and I think it goes hand in hand with living in the moment)... AND I am deleting the many lists upon lists of goals, to-do lists, and bucket lists that I have saved on my computer. I am a bit of a list maniac actually, and it ends here. I don’t even feel bad deleting them, so I think I am finally ready to do this. And the cool thing is, my documents folder is almost completely uncluttered when I take away all goal-related ones!

I thought having goals and making lists was a good thing. My thought process is, “Ooh, I just thought of something I want to do in my life! Better write it down so I don’t forget!” But the thing is, if it’s forgettable, it’s not worth doing. If something is really a deep desire or wish of mine, it will repeatedly come back to the surface of my thoughts until it’s etched in my brain and something I think about daily. And of course, there should only be a small few of those for a given person. I am already coming up with mine. But the only way really to know who I am and what I love is to stop thinking about it, and go with the flow of what catches my eye or what my heart tells me at any given moment.

So that was a whole bunch of flowery language but it makes total sense to me. I’m soo excited about this goal! And I’m more likely to follow it now that it’s my only goal and I can devote all my time to it (which actually doesn’t take any time at all since it’s a state of mind!) 2 years ago

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Amanda RileyGreat progress for the first 15 days!!

So I’m feeling really good about my year in music so far. Unfortunately, tomorrow is the last day of my break from school, so it will be a challenge balancing my love for music with my academic responsibilities… but it is my last semester and I tried to plan for it to be easy on me, so let’s hope I have plenty of time and energy for music!

Anyway, I’ve been using Craigslist. Most people are weary of Craigslist, but I think it’s a great tool. I’ve been following the ads for a few weeks, and I’ve posted two of my own ads. I’ve been talking with a bunch of people that haven’t panned out, and had at least one bad experience… there was one guy who “didn’t want any egos” that I was talking to, and apparently I took too long to reply and because I asked if we could meet somewhere closer than 20 miles from me, where he lives, he decided I wasn’t “committed” to music, so he ignored my last email, and I saw that he had reposted his ad with some complaints about “people” that were clearly directed at me.

However, so far I have had two good experiences. The first is a group of kids around my age who started a band a year ago and had their female singer quit a while back. Their songs were pretty good and fit my voice well, so I am going to sing with them. So far I had two practices with them. The only complaint I have is that they are kind of set in with each other so I don’t think there is much room for actual collaboration with them, but just having musicians to sing with a few times a week is very helpful to me at this point. So far, I got to hear myself and I actually like my voice, but I realized that I need to work on my rhythm. I was having trouble figuring out where I was supposed to come in on the songs, I occasionally sped up or slowed down when I wasn’t supposed to, and it also wasn’t easy for me to pick up melodies and rhythms being taught to me. That surprised me because I spend so much of my time singing along to music, and I’ve always felt that I pick up songs quickly, but obviously it takes me longer than I thought and I need some more hands-on practice… though I did find that most of the rhythm problems were solved when I tapped my foot to the beat and stuff like that, now I see why singers/musicians do that, hah.

Then today I met one guy who was pretty cool and just wanted to play acoustic with people. It showed me how much work I need on guitar! All I could really do was play open chords to a boring rhythm while he improvised over them. I am definitely going to practice more and try to learn more interesting techniques.

Anyway, the important thing is that I keep playing on my own. And I have played guitar every day of the year so far I think! (I might have missed one day, I’m not sure.) I need to figure out what to practice to improve most, but at least I am keeping up my calluses. And I should give myself more credit, because I have actually learned a few new standard chord progressions, and I can fudge my way now through 3 or 4 songs that I couldn’t before. I am staying inspired by listening to lots of music and watching videos, which makes me try to play along with them. Also, I found that what inspires me surprisingly is watching people with low or intermediate skills play songs on YouTube. It reminds me that music is about passion, and you don’t have to be perfect to share your playing with others. Now let’s hope I work up the courage soon! 2 years ago

Amanda RileyInspiration

I went to Home for the Holidays from December 27-30, which consists of four shows in a row by the Bouncing Souls. It was amazing. They are my favorite band ever. They play really upbeat music that makes most people feel awesome (some people don’t like it, but I don’t know what’s wrong with those people :D). They always try to switch things up a bit because they know there are lots of fans who go to all four shows every year. This year they got a Bingo machine and supposedly filled it with ping pong balls with every one of their songs on them. Then they had their friend pick them out to create a set list, and he would write it on a white board often with a funny illustration. It made things even more fun.

But what really inspires me is the way that, unlike other musicians, the Bouncing Souls make you feel like you’re just like them. Like, we all love music, we all have the same optimistic outlook, and we all have the power to do what they do if we just try. I don’t know, maybe they don’t really think that, but it seems like they do. Even when they are signing autographs, they don’t seem condescending.

We all stayed in this hotel, and the singer was also staying there. One day, while my friends were talking and I had gone off to mess around with the lobby piano, he came over to me and wanted to know what I was playing. He was on his way out, but he spent a couple of minutes playing with me. It was really sweet and it made me feel good.

Anyway, I don’t know, being so immersed in music for a few days, and feeling so close to my favorite band, it really reinforced my wanting to play more music this year. I’m not trying to be exactly like them because I know I can’t be. But I want to follow my heart and write songs about it, the way they do. Let’s hope it lasts. 2 years ago

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Amanda RileyUntitled

Spending money on material goods did not make me happy.

Hoarding my money away into an account that was never touched did not make me happy.

Spending a reasonable amount of money on lots of satisfying experiences DID make me happy.

I would advise you to follow my experience. 3 years ago

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