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

Pursue a better relationship with my family. (43T)


Recent activity

wren 2 years ago

wrenI made this an official goal

nearly 2.5 years ago and have been very successful. My mom and I now have a routine that we both like very much. I phone her every Friday, and we talk for at least an hour, I send her flowers for every holiday, she mails me frequent notes, and I visit every few months.

There are a lot of unsaid things about the past, which is kind of uncomfortable, but my brother and I talk openly about things, and that is really helpful. If a good opportunity arises, I’ll bring up some of these things with my mom, but it isn’t a necessity. All of the family things are so much better now that my dad is out of the picture. 1 month ago

wrenComing along...

I phoned my mom & brother on Thanksgiving. My mom & I are still exchanging letters, and my brother & I exchange e-mails. I send my mom flowers on every holiday, and I send gifts to my mom & my brother. Our relationship is feeling more comfortable, less strained. Lately, my mom has started sharing on more personal topics.

I’m happy with the progress I’m making on this goal. After the first of the year, I am going to start phoning my mom each month, and maybe my brother, too. 19 months ago

wrenbirthday phone call

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday. I sent her a handmade gift, some chocolates, and some flowers, and then I gave her a phone call. It’s probably been 20 years since we’ve spoken.

The call went well. She sounds older than I remember, but very enthusiastic and not at all frail. She called me honey and sweetheart a lot. I love being called these kind of pet names by older women, and my mom never before used such endearments with me. We talked for about 30 minutes, about her day, my job, our dogs, etc. I gave her my phone numbers so that she can call me.

It was good to overcome this fear. It is interesting to see how my mom is now that my dad is out of the picture. It’s also a little unnerving to observe the extent of her denial about my dad. 21 months ago

wrenMy mom's birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks.

I sometimes paint tiny and intricate scenes on useful items, such as bottles or cups, and give them to people as gifts. When I do this, I paint things that are meaningful to the recipient. I’ve been working on painting a lidded canister for my mom. The scene that I’m painting includes a tiny woman, meant to be my mom, walking a tiny beagle with Camelback Mountain, Praying Monk included, in the background. It also features lots of saguaros, barrel cacti, prickly pears, palos verdes trees, and rocks. I’m enjoying making this gift. It calls me back to my love for the Sonora Desert. I think my mom will like it, too. I need to finish this up over the weekend so I can get it in the mail.

I also will send her some more gourmet dark chocolate squares. She liked the last ones that I sent, and it supports her health goal of eating a little chocolate every day. If I don’t send her dark chocolate, she just eats the milk chocolate that is easily available, and as far as I know, that doesn’t really have any health value. And I’ll send flowers, because I send her flowers on every occasion.

I’m trying to work up the nerve to give her a phone call. She actually hasn’t extended her phone number to me or invited me to call, which makes it more difficult. When I got in touch with my brother, he immediately gave me all of his phone numbers and made a point of letting me know that he would love to hear from me without making me feel pressured. So, I’m not sure if I’ll follow through with a phone call, but it seems like the next logical step. 22 months ago

wrenmore progress...

My brother called me tonight to wish me a happy birthday, and we had a very nice conversation. I definitely felt more comfortable and more natural. I also got a nice birthday card from my mom today, and I wrote her an overdue letter. It’s been a year since I reached out to my mom, and things continue to go well. 23 months ago

wrenphone call, part 2

My brother returned my call last night. I was asleep when he called, so it took a few minutes for me to get my wits about me.

Talking on the phone was more awkward than writing a letter, but it was good. My brother is a talker, but he also included me in the conversation. He’s just back from a week’s vacation, where he fell & hurt himself rather badly. He’s going to see an orthopedic surgeon today, so I am going to e-mail him tomorrow & see how things went. 2 years ago

wrenphone call

Well, I overcame my phone fear and gave my brother a phone call last night. I just got the answering machine though. Well, at least I tried! 2 years ago

wrennext step: phone call

I have set myself the goal of phoning my brother this week.

This may not be a big deal to some, but I have a fairly strong phone phobia. Also, my brother was physically abusive to me growing up, and I’m not talking about common sibling squabbles. Even though I know he’s changed, there’s still a lingering element of fear.

He has really changed, it seems, and he’s said all the right things, telling me that he understands my phone phobia & won’t intrude, that we don’t have to talk long, and that he’d just love to hear my voice. I’ve discussed this with my therapist and with Mr. Wren. I’m going to make a list of things to talk about in case I freeze, and maybe I’ll write out some opening lines, too.

I want to make sure that I don’t fall into a familiar pattern, where I am the listener and don’t share much about myself. The reason for this is that I think no one would be interested in my life; my therapist has pointed out that this is a mean way of thinking about myself. Anyway, I want to push myself so that this doesn’t happen again. It might not happen anyway, because my brother seems as if he’s not self-absorbed and therefore may have the sensitivity to draw me into the conversation. We’ll have to see about that. Anyway, Mr. Wren told me that for the first phone call, I should cut myself some slack and handle it in whatever way is easiest. 2 years ago

wrenFTD gold

Yesterday I signed up to be a FTD Gold Member. For a flat yearly fee that is equal to about two delivery charges, you get unlimited free deliveries for a year. I probably would’ve kept up with sending my mom flowers for all occasions anyway, but it’s nice to save a little money while I’m at it. She really seems to enjoy the flowers.

This weekend I will write a letter to my brother. I’m still working up to giving him a phone call. Phone calling is not my favorite thing, but my brother has a demanding job, and phone calls might be an easier way for him to stay in touch than letters. 2 years ago

wrenStill going well...

It’s been six months since I sent that first letter to my mom, and things are progressing very nicely. I got nice letters from my mom and my brother this week. I no longer feel fearful when I see one of their letters in the mailbox.

I need to write back to my mom this weekend, and next weekend I will write back to my brother. I’ve already placed an order for some flowers to be delivered to my mom on Easter. She really enjoys getting flowers.

I want to take the next step of giving my brother a phone call. I’m not a big fan of talking on the phone, but I think it would be nice. He has a demanding job, and I think phone calls would be an easier way of staying in touch.

Mr. Wren is also promoting a move to Flagstaff. He thinks this renewed relationship with my mom and brother is important enough that it would be good for us to be closer. We are looking for suitable work that would support such a move. I imagine it will take a while to find it, but were taking the steps. 2 years ago

wrenlots of good news in the e-mail box

My brother and I exchanged some more e-mails today. He is a great writer of letters, very descriptive, funny and entertaining. He mentioned that they are going to the Canadian Rockies next year & he might be able to get a stop over in my neck of the woods. I am so incredibly happy to have a brother who I like to exchange e-mails with. It brightens my work day no end.

As a bonus, my high school best friend wrote back to me in a timely manner. Just a nice chatty e-mail. She is moving in the next few months and mentioned that we will be closer to each other, so maybe we can get together.

More joy! :) 2 years ago


I think that exchanging letters with my brother might be a little too cumbersome for him. He is very busy with his job, and he and his wife have health issues. I’m not very good with telephone conversations, but I’d like to work up to establishing a phone call kind of relationship with him. I see how Mr. Wren and his siblings are always talking to each other on the phone and would like to have that with my brother.

In the meantime, I e-mailed him a link to the Phish summer concert announcement video yesterday, because he is absolutely crazy for Phish, and this led to a nice e-mail exchange. I’m going to write back to him today. 2 years ago

wrenValentine flowers

I sent my mom some nice flowers for Valentine’s day – red roses, pink carnations & white daisies. She really enjoyed the surprise & sent a nice note saying that it had been years since anyone has remembered her on Valentine’s Day. 2 years ago

wrenYesterday, I wrote to a friend of mine from high school,

who was also one of my mom’s favorite students. He had expressed an interest in visiting my mom, because she was a positive influence in his life, but he wasn’t doing it out of respect for me. I told him about how I’d been in contact with my mom & brother & told him my mom had asked about him & would most likely be thrilled to see him.

He wrote right back & asked for her phone number so he could make arrangements for a visit. I didn’t have her number, so I e-mailed my brother. I caught him at his desk, and he wrote right back with her number and a little commentary about his life.

Now my friend has arranged to visit with my mom next week. I think it will be a good time for both of them.

This may seem like a small thing, but it is hugely gratifying to me to be able to have these exchanges. I know that seeing my friend will make my mom happy. It will make him happy too, and it feels good to have helped orchestrate the meeting. Especially, it feels great to be able to have these simple e-mail exchanges with my brother. I have felt orphaned for so long, and I am starting to feel more of a sense of having a family. 2 years ago


Sent off another letter to my mom & will write one back to my brother this weekend. I want to ask his opinion about paralegal programs. 2 years ago


I’ve been sending my mom flowers for all holidays/special occasions & we are exchanging letters. She really gets a lot of enjoyment out of the flowers. Maybe I will send some for no particular reason.

Our interactions are very focused on her and her limited view of the world, which is what I expected. Still, I was surprised when she mentioned in a recent letter about how she always remembers a time when I told her that instead of saying something is “weird” she should say it is “different and interesting.” I don’t remember saying this, but it sounds like something I could have said as a teenager. Anyway, apparently my mom took this idea to heart and still practices it today.

I was really surprised to know that my mom had ever taken anything I had to say seriously, and it felt good. It’s interesting to me how events take on different importance for different people. You never know which of your words or actions will make an impact. 2 years ago

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