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.

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Recent entries from badcouldbeverse

badcouldbeverseOnce Upon A Time

^A painting I did in Grade 12 :)

Adventures in babysitting. I read the triplets three bedtime stories, and yes, I did the voices! Drama much?

Problem was that they didn’t particularly get sleepy while I was reading the stories. So afterwards, I sang them all the Disney songs I knew as a lullaby of sorts, and they finally fell asleep.

I hope that if they remember me when they grow up, they’ll remember me as the one who did stories and songs, and not “the one who flooded the dishwasher”, haha. 7 years ago

badcouldbeverseAvoidant Tendencies

I realize I have avoidant tendencies. This is good, in the sense that I am non-confrontational and non-aggressive.

However, I can’t keep on running away. It has nothing to do with geographical boundaries: no matter where I go, I’ll always end up running into myself. In the backalleys, in the library, in the island, on the street where you live.

I need courage to look at my true self (imperfections as well as perfections) without flinching away, without falling to rationalizations, without embarrassment.

This is autotopography, realities I have to face, as solid as my footing on the land.

Margaret Atwood, Bodily Harm:

She discovers that she’s truly no longer at home. She is away, she is out, which is what she wanted. The difference between this and home isn’t much that she knows nobody as that nobody knows her. In a way she’s invisible. In a way she’s safe.

She realizes she doesn’t care. She doesn’t care what he thinks of her, she never has to see this man again if she doesn’t want to. She never has to see anyone again if she doesn’t want to. [...]already she feels light, insubstantial, as if she’s died and gone to heaven and come back minus a body. There’s nothing to worry about, nothing can touch her. She’s a tourist. She’s exempt.

Joan Didion, A Book of Common Prayer:

She could take care of somebody or somebody could take care of her and it was the same thing in the end.

Site Meter7 years ago

badcouldbeverseNo Reason Less

It was the writer Anton Chekhov who said, “If you don’t want loneliness, don’t marry.”

I’d rather be alone for the rest of my life than to be with someone who doesn’t get me, who doesn’t appreciate the way I see the world. Because then I would come to hate my partner, myself, and the unbridgeable distance between us.

Being alone isn’t the worst thing in the world. 7 years ago


I am happy existing in the here and the now. I agree that having fun and seizing the day while you are young is a wonderful thing, but to me relationships require more than that.

You know how your #4 goal is to meet someone who really gets you, metaphorically and literally? I want to meet that person for me too. 7 years ago


I was on the bus when I spy this couple sharing a nap on the bus bench, his head on her shoulder, instead of the other way around, when she pulls out her puffy jacket and places it as a pillow under his head for comfort, and then she closes her eyes too.

We all look for some grand and searing passion instead of the other way around: the insignificant certainty of kindness that we can all afford, to not demand much, other than the recognition that somebody wishes us well, and that this is enough at the closing of the day.


Meme rules:
a) The tagged victim has to come up with 8 different descriptions of their perfect partner.
b) He/she must tag 8 more people to join this game and leave a comment on their comments saying they’ve been tagged.*
c) If tagged a second time, there’s no need to post again.

1. My ideal partner has to have the PATIENCE of a nomad wandering the desert. Patience is not such an important virtue in a world spinning as fast as ours, but it’s the most essential characteristic in a partner because I’m remarkably slow: a slow learner, a slow eater, a slow talker, slow thinker, so much so that I have been mistaken as an unfurry sloth. Anyone less than patient would push me off a cliff to get it over and done with.

2. He doesn’t need to be smart, but ideally he is fascinated with all there is to LEARN in the world. He enjoys sharing with me something I don’t know, and once in a while, he doesn’t mind learning from me, too. It’s not syncretism or symbiosis because there’s no coherent dependency, but accretion, or random growth; you know how how coral reefs are formed slowly by years of wandering dead polyps, or how limestone caves are formed by the random encounters of water and shell secretions? Something like that. He could show me how kids as young as five years-old can climb a coconut tree in seconds, and I’ll teach him all he wants to know about insects that mimic tree bark. He doesn’t mind when I teach him silly things like that. Please go back to point number one, where I specify that he’s patient. In this case, he’s a patient teacher and a patient student.

3. He doesn’t always let me apologize first. I apologize within three hours after a fight, so sulking is not a pretty option for him. He has to know how to choose battles and how to settle once in a while. He doesn’t have to contest every single little thing and blow it out of proportion. While fighting, however, I’d prefer someone who’s spirited in defending his position, someone who can hold his ground and not give in, but doing so without resorting to name-calling, insulting my intelligence, or, God forbid, any show of violence.

4. He understands my silence, my space, my solitude. If I go walking for hours, he doesn’t blow a coronary. He knows that for years I have been a solitary creature who likes the breathing space in the woods and backalleys. If he wants, he may go and wander around with me, just as long as he’s not expecting anything exciting to happen in my think-a-thon walks around the city. And if on these walks we come across street people who are sorting garbage, he will not think I’m crazy if I try to share food with street people.

5. I don’t care if he has neoliberal capitalist views, just as long as he’s not rude to people who come from different social classes; ideally, treating people according to economic distinctions may seem silly to him. He does not harass homeless people when they ask for food or change. He does not make fun of people who have mental disabilities or learning difficulties. He does not think that poverty is a moral indicator. He is not rude to the cashier, the waitress, the cabbie, or to any other person in the service sector. He does not complain if he has to wait in line. Patience, once more.

6. He is not aiming for an easy glitzy glamourous life. Or at least he understands that I’m not. Leisure is well and fine, but there’s more to life than piling riches and being contented with the status quo; living his days only for himself is short-sightedness. One doesn’t need to look too far to see that there are so many things in this interconnected world that could be improved, and we only get more or less a hundred years to contribute that small chunk of ourselves to a cause. And the point is not how successful he could be, but that he struggled and chased meaning.

7. This is purely indulgence on my part, but I wouldn’t terribly mind if he WRITES me letters once in a while. He doesn’t have to, I guess; if he doesn’t like words, then he can find some other medium. It’s not the words that count, or the letters for that matter, but the self-revelatory aspect of it; I know that it’s scary and risky to pull out something so private. Still, if he can’t learn to be comfortable enough to share with me, then we are at an impasse. The image that comes to my mind are two goldfishes staring at each other from separate fishbowls. It’s like this: If he can’t be himself with me, could I possibly eat breakfast with him one day, eating heapfuls of oatmeal with ice cream and sausages and eggs and bacon and tea and milk, answering the crossword puzzle, and washing the dishes on the sink- could we ever be comfortable enough “among the cups, the marmalade, the tea” to do something so seemingly effortless and graceless and inconsequential together? I’m not looking for grand declarations. It’s the little things that take trust.

8. He knows me. You might think that’s funny, but knowing someone you love is not always a given. He lets me know him, too. In the sense of learning about each other. Even if you throw out all the seven other characteristics, with number eight I would have built a genuine friendship. That takes time. And did I mention patience already?

If you read this, you’re TAGGED. 5 years ago

badcouldbeverseSnaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiillllllllllllllllllllllllll Maaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiilllllllllllllllllll

this post was brought to you by a slug named Walter

This was supposed to be an attempt to bring a random amusing quirk into people’s lives. And to generate revenue in the post office. And to generate revenue in the stationery stores.

I wanted to make it anonymous, because it’s more magical if the recipient tries to keep on guessing who cares enough to send them something, but the problem with keeping it anonymous is that not a lot of people actually send snail mail anymore. So even if I don’t put my name on the envelope, they kind of know it’s from me.

I either make the cards/postcards, put together a package, or buy eclectic materials to send to people near and far, but always dear. I haven’t done this as often as I had hoped, but I try. Besides, as Miss said, letters are eternal. So they don’t really have expiry dates, right? So what if you’re getting your Valentine’s in the middle of August? It’s more of a welcome surprise that way. 7 years ago


A List of Things That Make Me Happy

1. walks, in the noisy silence that could only be found in the solitude of forests, but walks in general (I’m such a dog)
2. not relying on my parents for tuition, groceries, my rent, and other bills and purchases (somewhat progressing slowly but steadily on the road to becoming an individual)
3. getting or sending mail
4. brightly-coloured socks and funny-looking hats
5. singing out loud for no reason at all
6. singing out loud and making other people sing along!
7. slice-of-life comic strips
8. assorted bits of paper, preferably recycled and old
9. books, some more than others, but I wouldn’t say no to any children’s books
10. hugs, bearhugs, manhugs. sincere ones, not the ones that people give as a social greeting.
11. random destination-less journeys, especially on empty buses
12. back alleys (and the respective junk one can find in them)
13. colourful umbrellas
14. houseplants
15. mangoes, mangosteens, berries, and pineapples with a dash of salt
16. bonsai trees. or just trees in general
17. cherry chocolate ice cream
18. collages (artwork in general)
19. holding hands (haha, I wish)
20. the night-blooming cereus
21. fishbowls
22. brown sugar. caramel
23. chocolate-with-whipped-cream crepes (bonus if there are strawberries)
24. picking berries
25. using paperbags instead of plastic bags for groceries
26. Disney songs
27. dancing like I’m having an epileptic attack, dancing like nobody’s looking, dancing like a hippie
28. my brother developing his own tastes in movies and music
29. reading other people’s list of things that make them happy
30. getting A pluses on papers (although the joy just lasts for less than 10 minutes—and I still hold that it’s the learning that matters, not the grade)
31. making my own accessories, jewelry, or outfits
32. getting ideas about anything and everything
33. interior decorating (my mother’s influence)
34. honeyed bahalina (palm wine)
35. tasting new food for the first time, and theorizing why certain foods just taste good and go well together
36. toilets and bathrooms/ baths and showers
37. the clean smell of washed skin and washed hair
38. hot water, tissue paper, and warm towels
39. brushing my teeth
40. stickers
41. asterisms (that’s what we usually mistake as “constellations”)
42. trains and railroads
43. the idea of wheatfields/prairies being so flat and empty (like the ocean or the sky)
44. a day wherein I don’t have to do anything
45. sleeping for more than 7 hours
46. thick blankets
47. dark chocolate
48. stepping on leaves that crackle
49. the colour yellow
50. finding a simple, understandable, short but perfect-for-the-occasion poem
51. finding a song that fits exactly just what I feel
52. waking up and realizing that birds actually are chirping (I thought that was just a cliche)
53. knowing how to cook something well
54. long and slow breakfasts complete with milk and/or orange juice
55. playing with children
56. those sidewalk musicians who provide the soundtrack to the city
57. meaningful graffiti
58. icebreaker getting-to-know-you games
59. the quirks of the people I know (too damn endearing and special, you are)
60. other people’s birthdays
61. preparing something special for people on their birthdays/Christmas/holidays/ whenever I just feel like it
62. the movie Amelie
63. specialty shops
64. the random random talks I have with strangers of all ages and walks of life
65. the weird phenomena in which these strangers keep in touch and consequently become my friends
66. the randomness that is my life
67. the narrative that is my life (because maybe it’s not so very random)
68. childhood photos
69. childhood friends
70. dead/ obscure arts and professions and activities, like candlestick-making and abacus-computing and sealing wax on letters
71. fortune cookie fortunes
72. walking around and exploring (read: getting lost) in the city
73. having life goals
74. the warmth of the laundry after they come out of the dryer, or after they are ironed
75. coming-of-age stories (bildungsromans)
76. animation
77. handwriting
78. talks with old friends that last for hours
79. MARZIPAN aka chocolate-covered almond paste
80. morbidity and reminders of death
81. theories on human behaviour
82. movies about movie-making
83. books about books (self-reflexive)
84. feathers, flight, and wings
85. untouched soft snow
86. gardens, and weeds (specifics: dandelions)
87. I-saw-you ads
88. people who are passionate about something. anything.
89. the triumph of the underdog or the transformation of the frog or ugly duckling
90. snails. caterpillars. bugs. insects. arachnids. invertebrates. dead AND alive.
91. simple, healthy comfort food
92. spending Friday nights in a library
93. striped shirts and blazers
94. finding a quote that corresponds with how I view the world
95. seeing that other people are happy
96. late night conversations
97. my part-time jobs
98. forgiving people/ being forgiven
99. the idealism of the past, the hope for the future
100. having so many things to be happy about

5 years ago

badcouldbeverseConfessions of a Thrifter

Confessions of a Thrifter

I don’t understand books or movies like Confessions of a Shopaholic. I guess that’s because I, unlike most people, like doing my finances. I like writing down my budget every month, making a list of projected expenses, setting the amount for pocket money, and keeping track of my savings.

I find all of that very therapeutic. In fact, I must say I feel downright content and pleased with myself whenever I do my monthly financial transactions.

From what I understand, this is the sort of activity that most people would be more than happy to avoid. I think that perhaps people who don’t like keeping tabs on their personal financial security are people who have always had money handed to them. And once these people grew up, they were faced with the reality that money doesn’t come in an endless stream.

When I was growing up, I had no money at all. I didn’t even have a bank account set up. In elementary school, my parents didn’t give me any allowance. If I wanted something, I had to make a case on why I had to have it. I liked doing the groceries on the weekends along with my parents, because that was the only way I could ask for extras – a cake was a luxury that was supposed to last the whole week. Gifts were always so wonderful – even if it was just a chocolate bar – because I couldn’t even go to the store to get one for myself. My lack of money ensured my dependency.

But when I was 14 years old, in high school, my parents decided that I should be given 50 Pesos a day, other than the packed lunch I was usually given. I don’t know why they decided to gift me with some money; perhaps, it was money to be spent on snacks. I knew, of course, that I wouldn’t be spending it all on snacks. I would spend perhaps P10 for snacks. The rest of the money was saved on other things that made me happy: books and gift-giving. I saved P20 for books, and the other P20 for Christmas gifts. (I had 20+ friends, so Christmas gift budgeting was necessary.)

You have no idea how happy I was then – every two weeks I could afford to get myself a new book instead of standing inside a bookstore for hours surreptitiously finishing a novel. Money doesn’t necessarily buy happiness, but it buys us more choices and options, and if the right choices are made then happiness might follow.

The best part about having money was the fact that I no longer needed to justify to anybody why I deserved anything at all. Instead of asking anyone else, I could just get it for myself. I found that I could not go back to leaning on my parents completely; due to the unstable relationships I have with the people in my young life, dependency on anyone really scares me.

When I was 15, I had my first job. The pay wasn’t great, but it was enough for me to have something that was my own and nobody else’s. That was just enough independence for me. My financial situation was the one area in my life in which I had substantial control.

Moving to Canada, my parents send me to high school with only $2 a day. That would sometimes buy a chocolate bar. Or bananas. Good thing I was an aloof oddball then, because that meant I no longer had 20+ friends to think about come Christmastime. I was an expert on being poor, but even then I was always mindful of my independence.

The truth is that it doesn’t really quite matter how much money one has, but the lifestyle lived is crucial. I don’t wonder how much money people earn; I wonder how much people spend. I think most people make the mistake of setting an unflexible lifestyle, and then trying to find the money to support said lifestyle. That almost never works.

But people very rarely learn. Even as early as ancient Pompeii, people displayed their ostentation by portraying tipped-over wine glasses, as if to say that they can afford to waste. Back in 17th Centrury Florence, still life paintings were all the craze, especially since they were paintings of finery. Nevermind that it was all fake—often these painted goods were just borrowed for show, and worth very little at the end of the day.

Our modern-day equivalents are women who brag on their profiles about how they are “shopaholics,” and I suppose the male counterparts brag about how they are “ballers.” As if that’s some sort of admirable quality. Owing money feels like slavery. Buying things left and right, only to be harrassed into paying seems like a nightmare that people unknowingly trap themselves into.

It’s just like Fight Club said, “The things we own end up owning us.” I take budgeting as a form of self-knowledge:
I like knowing which things are essential to me.
I like knowing where exactly I throw my money into.
I like knowing how much I’m probably going to spend this year.
I like knowing whether or not I should take a second job.
I like knowing whether or not I can afford to take a class this term.
I like knowing my chances of having a trip or a vacation.

I’m not without my frivolities (case in point: I have more than 10 Threadless shirts, none of which are necessary for everyday survival), but in any case I like anticipating my expenses. And curbing them when need be.

I’m not about to advocate that we should stop spending absolutely, only that if we must exchange our independence for things, then perhaps we might be a little more selective about the worth of things that we exchange our freedoms for. 5 years ago


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