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


is taking it slow.

Recent entries from HardSun
Pages: 1 3 4

HardSunI'm tired of living with my heart in my throat and my blood pressure in the stratosphere

It seems like I am surrounded by madmen. There’s always either some troll giving me headaches on YouTube or some customer who I’d just as soon see leave my shop as buy anything, or some random loon on the street going crazy and choosing me as a target, or even some “friend” of mine acting crazy. It’s too much to deal with.

So what if next time someone responds to a kind comment of mine on YouTube with troll behavior I can say “you’re trolling. Stop.”...if next time somebody on the street is going crazy at me I can say, “I don’t have time for this.”...if next time a new customer is going nuts about nothing I can say, “I am to create the best experience possible for my clientele but as a sole proprietor of a small business, there are limits on what I can realistically provide. If my services don’t meet your expectations you have the option to go elsewhere.”...It’s harder to think what to say when friends are going crazy but maybe I can figure out something new. 3 years ago

HardSun 3 years ago

HardSunBought it!

I have to clean a little before I’m really ready to put it up but it’s here! 3 years ago

HardSun 3 years ago

HardSunI'd better hold off until next year.

I did two days worth of writing and then got swamped with business, then got swamped with mucus thanks to this cold (yeah, I know, thanks for sharing, HardSun – you’re welcome!) If I were well enough I might still try to catch up over the holiday weekend but I’m still trying to limit my episodes of hacking up stuff to times and environments where I won’t gross anyone else out. Realistically I need to postpone this. 3 years ago

HardSunTalk about losing focus...

Part of the reason why I chose my current field is that it’s pretty lucrative. It’s not going to make you a millionaire but you can live very comfortably doing about 20 hours a week of paid work. The trick is getting that 20 hours a week of paid work to begin with. Chasing my tail trying to figure out how to advertise, and doing another part-time job on the side to pick up the slack, has made me completely miserable, and my 20 hours a week vision seems to have led me in the exact opposite direction. It feels more like working 168 hours a week. Several times lately I’ve gone into a rage and screamed “ALL I EVER DO IS WORK!” I’m guessing that’s a bad sign.

I had a vision for my life when I started this. I was going to put in my 20-30 hours a week (since the paid work always comes with unpaid work – phone calls, paperwork, doing the books), and then I was going to go home and enjoy my art and my music and my writing and my social life. But life has had plans for me these last few years and they’ve not been to my liking. I’ve gotten used to having nothing and being treated like a serf and never being noticed no matter how hard I try and I’ve forgotten why I got started on all this to begin with.

The original idea was not just to get out of debt.

The original idea was not to escape from part-time work I hate by the skin of my teeth.

The original idea was not just to make money doing what I love.

The original idea was not just to make a substantial amount of money doing what I love.

The original idea was to make a good living doing what I love, then go home at the end of the day and make a LIFE.

I’ve got to get back to that. And one skill I need to develop is doing my work and at a certain time, putting it aside and saying “forget it. This is my time now.” No more phone calls, no more worrying, no more checking work email. I sit down with the drum or the paints or the novel or whatever it is and I enjoy myself. I go out with friends or talk to my boyfriend or whatever I’m gonna do and work is the last thing on my mind. THAT’S what I’m talking about. 3 years ago

HardSun 3 years ago

HardSunI'm sorry that things have started out so crazy in your life.

They started out pretty crazy in mine too. You don’t get to the kind of state of mind that you and I have so often inhabited without something driving you there. When I was your age I was having anxiety attacks every night and spent entire weekends so depressed I couldn’t do much other than homework and crying. I was able to go to college but I needed help with my psyche more so than I needed an education. I read a lot of books, spent a lot of time around people who had qualities I admired…I did the best I could and had some victories of pretty major kinds, but I needed more help than I was going to find my way around to getting for a few years.

Chicago is a good place with a lot of resources for helping yourself and changing your life. It’s also a very midwestern, very urban place where it’s easy to feel isolated or slip through the cracks if you’re not vocal about your needs and persistent in getting them met. (I am not a native Californian; I know of whence I speak!) I’m really concerned about you becoming homeless. That’s never an advantageous situation, and this is not a great time of year for it in that climate! Do you have a plan as to where you might go or what you might do? I really want you to be okay.

And I want you to have that greeting card business one day too! (Incidentally please don’t think a lack of a college education is going to stop you. Business is mostly a matter of self-awareness, people skills, and creative thinking, and as somebody whose business is finally acting like a business, I know that to be true – it’s not just a theory. College can help with all of that but so can a job and some good friends.) Hang on to those dreams! 3 years ago

HardSunHave you tried a 12-step program?

That emptiness – without it, what will I have? – is really what 12-step programs are there to address. Yes, it’s about letting go of the drinking, the purging, the cutting, etc., but more than that it’s about finding something in life that fills our needs rather than just silencing them. It’s about recovering from the inside out, in supportive company. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t found my program. It’s one option for you, if you haven’t tried it yet. 3 years ago

HardSunThen don't face it alone.

I have depression too, and I don’t take pills for it. I never have, because I agree with you. I encourage you to talk to your doctor about tapering off of the pills. Going cold turkey, dumping everything all at once, is too dangerous just because the body is used to so much of that particular sort of input, but you’ve got a right to get off of them, carefully and a bit gradually, if you don’t think they’re doing the trick. If you want someone to talk to along the way, you can talk to me. I don’t open up with loads of personal details right away but I really love people, from what I see of you here I particularly like you, and I can offer you an ear and some encouragement. I really want people to be able to live life intelligently, from the heart, and on their own terms, and I don’t hesitate to do what I can in support of people like you who aim to do that.

The truth that not everybody seems prepared to accept is that life hurts sometimes. Sometimes it hurts really, really badly. I have never met anybody who seems to understand that better than I do; most people seem to want to see me on pills so I can cheer up. Never mind if it’s a matter of my friend having died, my mother acting like a wench, having lost my job, people treating me like dirt left and right – the answer is obviously not to grieve, find a new way to deal with my mother, re-orient my sense of self around something other than a job, or standing up for myself; the answer is clearly some sort of pill. I’m sure there are cases where people really are miserable because their brain chemistry is off and they need some sort of a boost, but if that’s not the problem, then personally I don’t think that artificially cheering up while life continues in the same old painful way is really the best answer.

The more sensitive we are, the tougher life is, but that sensitivity is a gift and I don’t think it’s right to throw the baby out with the bath water. It makes much more sense to learn to cope. If it takes a lifetime, bit by bit, so be it – we’ll spend the rest of our lives doing progressively better, and I for one can deal with that idea just fine. We can cope. The more we engage with spirit, and the more people we have to treat us well, and the more clearly we can see and feel what it is that we’re dealing with in life, the better prepared we are to make real changes. This is a worthwhile goal and if you want/need some support on it, I will do my best to be there for you. 3 years ago

HardSunReally, really behind.

When it was just major, sudden changes in career I thought I could swing it but now I’ve been lying around in bed for an eternity with some kind of flu. I don’t think I’m going to catch up. 3 years ago

HardSun 3 years ago

HardSunSadistic Saturday list

1) paying work (discounted greatly but still paying)

2) promotions

3) supply shopping

4) schmoozing

5) supporting other artists

6) banking

7) junk-hauling

8) returning an insane number of calls

9) changing clocks

10) taking the junk out of my trunk

11) updating financial records

12) catching up on laundry

13) hated yet paid work 3 years ago

HardSunThis place is too small.

There is nowhere to put anything. It is once again at a point where, if I don’t stuff the closet and quickly close the door on it, I start tripping over things and risking breaking my toes (again).

Well, BF and I have talked about it and have decided that, rather than continuing to live like rats in holes for exorbitant amounts of money, we are going to pool our resources and get a decent place together. We spend all our free time at home talking to each other on the phone, helping each other resolve problems and sort out the meaning of the day’s events and find a little humor in the insanity, so we might as well do it face to face…and arm in arm.

...and, yes, in a place that’s an appropriate size for two adult human beings. 3 years ago

HardSun2163 words for Day 1

I’m ahead…but I’m not about to get too big for my britches because I could just as easily fall behind and I may very well. 3 years ago

HardSun2163 words for Day 1

I’m ahead…but I’m not about to get too big for my britches because I could just as easily fall behind and I may very well. 3 years ago

HardSunHarrying Halloween list

1) got boyfriend off phone so I could start my day (he’s re-employed, by the way, thank God)

2) did most of the dishes

3) took my vitamins, which doesn’t happen every day

4) cleaned the shattered glass off the floor when I promptly washed my vitamin-taking glass and then watched it tumble out of the dishrack as if by magic

5) put the Halloween tablecloth and a couple of small decorations on the table, which is all the decorating I’m doing this year. I really don’t care about Halloween anymore and if it weren’t for the guest I have coming later I really wouldn’t have bothered at all. I’m getting stressed out enough that holidays mostly seem like annoyances to me. I always thought something was wrong with people like that and now I am one of them…and now I know from the inside out that there’s something wrong with people like that. 3 years ago

HardSunThrilling Thursday

1) had fix-it guy over (AGAIN, but I think we’re done now)

2) did reading

3) tidied up kitchen a little

4) rescheduled my session

5) checked in with network

6) paid a bill

7) planned some of my Christmas shopping

8) did some more hated but paid work

9) went to class

10) spoke my mind 3 years ago

HardSunMost of the plot weaving done

There’s one subplot I’m having a hard time with. It’s possible that it’s such a minor subplot that it’s not much of one at all. I’m not even totally sure it needs to be in the book actually except that I think the main character would seem a little too flat without it. She has an extremely small, isolated little world – I’ve met people every bit as isolated and more so but it’s hard for most people to imagine living like that. I think she needs these other people to interact with even though they’re not exceptionally important to the main idea of the story and, well, something or other has to happen with them. They sort of fall to the wayside in time and I think that might complement the other story arcs.

It’s kind of weird when I think about this…borrowing Dan Wells’ basic plot formats, this story is part hero’s journey, part horror, part tragedy, and a few different things that loosely follow the romance plot line though not with an actual human-to-human love story…but that’s realism because that’s life. Most of us have something happy, something sad, and something weird and inconclusive going on all at the same time at any given moment. 3 years ago

HardSunWonderful Wednesday

1) had meeting

2) worked on my novel

3) didn’t let the dishes pile up to begin with

4) did some paying work even though it’s work I absolutely hate with every fiber of my being

5) went to my other meeting

6) ate something good for dinner

7) helped my boyfriend out of a tight spot

8) did my reading

9) wrote one of my best friends to thank him for his support

10) shared good news with some other friends 3 years ago

HardSunHave about 1/3 of the plot weaving done

I determined already what my subplots were and I’m now graphing things out to determine how to weave them all together. I’m about 1/3 done with that. 3 years ago

HardSunTerrific Tuesday far it feels more like Terrifying Tuesday. I’m feeling kind of off today. But anyway, time to start getting stuff done and tracking it.

1) made tickler call to client

2) planned Artist Date

3) updated checkbook

4) asked boyfriend for support on something

5) meditated

6) washed hair for the first time in over a week (yeah, I know, thanks for sharing – you’re welcome)

7) worked on my novel

8) emailed counselor about yet another new stressor

9) talked to boyfriend about budgeting issue (thank you for asking, sweetiepie!)

10) did some work 3 years ago

HardSunIdentified subplots

I actually identified several subplots. I can see where pacing might be a problem for me, as might general organization with all these different subplots happening. I don’t think it’s too many of them, especially how naturally interrelated they all are, it’s just, well…I’m telling the story of several years of a person’s life, albeit an imaginary life. It’d be unnatural if it weren’t complex. 3 years ago

HardSunMarvelous Monday

1) called rep about advertising deal – I signed the contract so what now?

2) called one of my best friends just to cheer up his Monday morning

3) washed all of the many dirty dishes in the sink

4) started planning for Christmas

5) worked on plan for my novel

6) typed up boyfriend’s latest lyrics for him

7) talked to counselor

8) cleaned desk off slightly

9) practiced

10) actually brushed my teeth before bed, which is great because often I’m so tired anymore that it’s hit or miss 3 years ago

HardSunChose the other plot turn, cooked up turning points

I get to these moments where I think “I can’t possibly do this. I can’t figure this out.” Those are the moments when I need to stop doubting myself and sit there and think for 5 more minutes. Then I’ll surely think of something.

I’m feeling like my plot may still be lacking something though. It’s the kind of situation so far where, if it’s you, you care passionately, but if it’s anybody else it seems stupid. To my central character, this problem is everything and will alter the direction of the rest of her life; it’s also a symbolic turning point for her on a deeper level. But to anyone else it would be a big question of “so what?” I’m not sure if I can explain her inner world enough to shut down “so what” or if I have to offer something more outward and dramatic to get the point across. I know what I did in a parallel situation and that might work, but I’m not sure if I have the stomach to fold that aspect of my experience into the story. I could offer something that would be at once both more extreme and less difficult for me emotionally but it’s so cliche it’s almost laughable…in fact I think I find that more disgusting than what I had to resort to.

Well it’s official: nobody reading this could possibly have any idea what I’m talking about anymore. LOL. But I know what I’m talking about and that’s the important thing. 3 years ago

HardSunSexy Sunday list that sacreligious?...Nah, good luck compiling that many lists of “begats” without somebody, in all holiness, wiggling their eyebrows at somebody else and saying “come with me to the boudoir, my pet!”...or whatever the translation in ancient Hebrew would have been. So, the what-I-got-done list for Sexy Sunday!

1) church

2) actually made my monthly offering…most of it, anyway – it’s a tight month

3) worked on the plot for my novel

4) fed myself something before leaving the house again (no small thing with me)

5) talked to friend about splitting the bill on an upcoming gig

6) rehearsed and refreshed so me old material

7) came up with some new possibilities for friend and myself to play together

8) talked to accountant about pulling money out of my sole investment, which is really going nowhere

9) talked to client and told him he’s going to have to calm down and WAIT because I can’t give him everything he wants right now, which is fine because he doesn’t need it now anyway

10) talked to elderly friend who was depressed about birthday 3 years ago

HardSunChose a beginning, midpoint, and second plot turn

In the course of this I think I’m starting to understand why people often find fiction so much more appealing than memoirs or real life. The character in my book is in some ways living a parallel life to one that I lived in the past, but as I reflect on how I’ve gotten through some of my own problems in life, I see that even the grittiest novel makes everyday life seem simple and smooth by comparison. For me there was no great teacher that carried me from point A to point B with wise lessons and firm guidance; there was no community that would not let me down; there was no friend who would not give up on me. In fact I can’t even identify the point in my own life where I realized I had to start watching my back because something was wrong. I’ve basically stumbled along, and I’ve usually had to take multiple conveyances to get through one serious conflict. Usually the people who were with me when I started that leg of the journey were long gone or had betrayed or abandoned me by the time I reached the big milestone I was headed for. In a novel there has to be some kind of conveyance at least from one point to another. Even if your mentor or friend dies, you still hear his voice in your mind at all the right times. I’m sad to say I’ve never had that. But maybe writing a novel is a chance to vicariously turn that pattern around. 3 years ago

HardSunPlanning a plot

I already had a central character and conflict in mind, and the setting mostly figured out. Part of the advice I got on the videos I watched today was to start by determining the ending. I thought of about 20 different ways this could conceivably resolve itself and chose the one that I found to have the right mixture of believability and interest. I realized that one of the things that separates really good fiction from fiction that’s not as good is that really good fiction leaves some threads untied. The cynic in me always thought that this was because good storytellers were also smart enough to be good businesspeople and therefore wanted to leave room for a sequel, even though sequels are usually no good in most people’s eyes, but now I realize it’s a matter of realism.

I have never reached a point in my life where everything was just different from then on. I’ve had those mountaintop moments where it seemed almost like that but, well, you don’t stay on the mountaintop forever, and in a way that’s what makes the moment so special and so good. You want to frame that moment like a gorgeous picture and take it with you so that when you’re back down in the valleys and the battlefields and the trenches, you remember that life is more than that. You know intuitively that you need that and so you automatically create that frame. And that’s also true of a really good work of fiction. Just like someone said of painting – the picture never is really finished, it just stops in interesting places.

I also defined some of the other characters a bit today. I surprised myself; I don’t know how to explain it but I’m writing about what I know, and yet I managed to turn things around 90 degrees…I still know how to write about this situation even though it’s not a situation I’ve ever been in. It creates new challenges but I think they’re doable.

Now that I know how it’s going to end, I can decide where to start. 3 years ago

HardSunThis may just be proof that I've finally lost my mind.

Still, I’ve wanted to write a book since I was all of nine and I’ve never done it. I’m not getting any younger so I’d better do it.

I don’t really understand the structure of a plot for a novel but I found some resources from the NaNoWriMo site for learning about that. I’m going to watch some YouTube lectures on how to do it and check in later. 3 years ago

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