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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johnste3Mixed Day

My daughter is taking drawing classes at the Corcoran in Washington, DC. For 10 weeks she’ll be sketching “figures” at the school. “Figures” means she’ll be sketching naked men and women. She showed me her first work today: impressive.

My son brags on his Facebook page of smoking pot every day: wonderful. I have no confidence in anything he tells me and am fully confident he’ll flunk out of college by the Christmas holidays. Then what? Wish I knew. Hurts very badly to have him lie to me.

I am very close to my daughter and very distant to my son: pot rules his life. 4 years ago

johnste3Time for humility

I am sending my son out of our home by the end of September. My wife and I were away and upon returning back early found that he’d hosted a party at our house. Not going to cite each betrayal of trust: there were many.

It is time for my son to earn some humility by living on his own – he is 18 and can live on his own while going to school. I love him. I love him very much. I do not like him very much right now.

Nothing clever or hopeful to add. 4 years ago

johnste3Good day with my daughter

We drove into Virginia horse country today with my daughter today, as a means to do SOMETHING in the 100+ degree heat.

It was great to have her one-on-one to talk about everything and nothing during our two hour drive. She is such a great kid and I am pleased and proud to be her dad.

She says she wants to study abroad when she graduates from HS. News to me… 4 years ago

johnste3Saw a woman screaming at her child today

I was crossing M Street, S.E. in the district and I saw a woman yelling at her child as she pulled the little girl across the street.

The child must have been two or three years old – small. Mom was walking so fast that the child was almost begin dragged.

After they crossed, she knelt down to her child’s face and began screaming at the poor child. People, myself included, passed uneasily. 4 years ago

johnste3Almost 18

My son turns 18 in April.

The years have flown by and I cannot believe that soon he’ll be off to college and out of the house.

It seems like yesterday that I held him: all 5.25lbs of him – a month premature on my left shoulder as my wife sorted through the XS baby clothes at JC Penneys. I can still feel the weight on my shoulder.

I grieve for all of the missed opportunities in sharing my time with him. I am counting the days until he moves out realizing that he, like myself, may never return home after leaving for school. That the memories I hold are all that I’ll ever have.

Years ago a friend told me to enjoy the days with you children because they pass so quickly. I thought I was paying attention. I thought that I had done so. But now. But now I sob as I write this feeling selfish for all the times I was too busy with work, or was away or was too tired to be with him.

I wish that I could jump into a time machine and go back 15 years and quit my stupid f’ing job and spend more time with my family. Working a job I didn’t like to buy things I didn’t need: that was the price I paid in exchange for my absence.

Too late I have come to the realization that all of the stuff doesn’t matter. What really matters is love and family. 4 years ago

johnste3Last Christmas as a Family

I am getting very sentimental as I realize that my son will graduate from HS this coming summer and will be off to college next fall. This will be our last Christmas with everyone in the home full-time.

That fact smacked me upside the head earlier this week.

Last week I flew to Iowa to visit with my mom and my brother. On the flight out of Chicago, there was a man with his daughter sitting ahead of me and to my right. The girl was somewhere in the 2 – 3 year old range and was nestled into her father’s arms as she slept. It was very beautiful and I was overwhelmed with envy for this man.

My visit with my mom went very well and she was pleased to see me. She baked an apple pie for me and we sat and talked quite a bit. We joked and laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. And, after four days, I flew home.

It will be like that with my son soon. Short visits where we get caught up on each other’s lives. The day-to-day joy and pain of our common existence will begin to dissolve as he becomes more and more independent of me.

This evening my son is off with his friends and won’t be home until after I go to bed. I ache for the physical closeness that I once had with my son and grieve the loss which I know is slowly working its way between us. Intellectually I understand that it is his job to grow up and become independent. Emotionally, I cannot comprehend the rending of my heart.

To those of you with young ones: hold them tight and tell them that you love them for the days pass far too quickly and soon they are gone. 5 years ago

johnste3He is back!

After almost a year I can say that my son is back. All the rebellion and hostility is gone and I pray gone for good.

Twice this weekend he said to me, “Love you dad.” I cannot remember the last time I’d gotten that from him…ever.

It has taken months for each of us to retain the trust and confidence of the other. My mistake was not trusting him soon enough. I think he has been waiting for me to forgive him. It has been hard. The forgiveness part is hard…really hard.

This weekend we shoveled two yards of mulch in the flower beds. Two men working together: some conversation, but mostly work. It was when we were completed and after he swept out the truck bed that I told him “thank you” his response was, “you’re welcome…love you dad.” It was all i could do not to cry right there.

There are few moments in life so crystaline, so precise, so important and we need to grab them and hold them close to our hearts. Hold the moment in your hand, and let those whom you love know that you love them.

We embraced. There in the driveway. We embraced. And I told him that I loved him too. 5 years ago


I drove my daughter to camp on Saturday.

She is going to an arts camp and this is her third year to go to this camp.

My son is 17 and she is 14 and I struggle weekly with the emotion in knowing that soon he’ll move away to college and that there will come a time when they are both gone. I know that is their job: to grow and to move on. Intellectually, I comprehend that fact 100% of the time but that comprehension gnaws at my heart.

I got her registered and helped get her supplies and bedding moved into her dorm room. She came down to the car to get a pillow and we hugged goodbye.

She turned and walked away from me back to her dorm. That was hard. 5 years ago

johnste3180-degree turn around

It is amazing how quickly things have changed.

Over the past month my son has made a complete turn-around and I am once again proud of him again. He calls the past several months his “hard core” period and attributes it to his girlfriend and her extended network of “friends”.

He tells his sister he isn’t going to date again until he graduates from college. Two months ago I didn’t think he’d graduate from HS. 5 years ago

johnste3Tough time with my son

Sixteen is turning out to be a challenging age for my son as he has made quite a few mistakes this year.

The young man who returned from Italy only a few months ago seems a memory as the person living in my house is a distant stranger who thinks nothing of dropping f-bombs on his mother.

I remember bring him home two months premature at 5 1/4 pounds. Holding him on my left shoulder as my wife searched the racks at J.C. Penny’s for XS clothing for him.

I remember the scent of him: the scent of new life.

I remember playing catch with him on the afternoon of 9/11 as I craved some degree of normalcy on that day when all of my comforts were tossed in the wind.

I remember that he preferred to play in the boxes in which his Christmas gifts arrived more than the toys themselves.

I remember his hundreds of hours of volunteer hours at our local zoo.

I remember the kindness he once showed to others.

I remember it all and I dispair. 5 years ago

johnste3Watched an awful movie with my daughter

This afternoon I had some work to do, but my daughter wanted to watch a movie that I didn’t care for.

I watched the movie with her.

You can NEVER go wrong spending time with your kids. 6 years ago

johnste3Son returned home from Italy yesterday

My sixteen year old son just returned from 9 days in Italy. He was a member of a group of students from his HS.

He came off the bus and I was so proud to see him I wanted to cry. Of course, can’t do that. But, I wanted to. Did give him a HUGE hug.

His sister as been great in his absence. Would have been very easy for her to complain about his getting to go and her not being able to do so. But she didn’t.

I can really see it now that the the time I am gifted with my kids presence is so, so fleeting. The days pass too quickly. How do parents adapt? 6 years ago

johnste3Changing my schedule...

I have taken active steps to be closer to my children. One thing that I have done is to change my work schedule so that I don’t leave home until after the kids get on the bus for school.

It is a small thing. But, it lets me hug them both before they venture off to school and a world that I cannot control. 6 years ago

johnste3Hug the Kids!

Hug the Kids!
They grow so fast! My son is 15 and my daughter is 13 and I love them more than life itself and I need to remember everyday to give them a hug and tell them I love them.

Makes me wonder where love comes from. Was the love there before they were borne? What happens to my love when I die? Are they less loved? Geeze…too deep for this venue. 6 years ago

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