I’m a bit obsessed with goal setting, and I have been for as long as I can remember. Even as a teenager I would draft a list of 99 goals—yes, 99!—every December for the upcoming year. As you might have guessed, I never accomplished all 99. In fact, I’d usually forget half of them by March.
Though a few of these were aimed at serious accomplishments I hoped to make in my writing life, most of the goals were about fun things I wanted to do.
Once I entered my 30s I got more serious about goal setting and planning as I suddenly had a sense of urgency about bringing my dreams to fruition. Don’t get me wrong—I didn’t suddenly feel old once I turned 30. Age ain’t nothing but a number, right? Still, I felt it was time to get down to business and set my resolutions accordingly.
But here’s the beauty of getting closer to 40: Finally I understand the need for a healthy work-play balance, setting goals that mix professional and artistic ambition with time set aside for indulgence, adventure and just plain fun.
So I’ve made a list of the things I want to do in Birmingham this year that I’ve never done before, things that I hope will make me fall in love with my Magic City all over again.
Here is my 2017 Birmingham Bucket List:
Eat the ‘Ham. Last year AL.com published a list of 50 essential Birmingham restaurants. By December 31 I want to be able to say I’ve had a meal at every restaurant on the list.
Walk the Rotary Trail. Since I’m doing all this eating, I need to get in plenty of exercise. I want to go for a walk on the Rotary Trail and I’d like to run the trail at Jemison Park, too.
Read a story at Arc Stories. Birmingham boasts one of the best storytelling events in the South—Arc Stories. I’ve attended this event since its early days of being held after hours at the downtown coffee shop Urban Standard. Now it fills the Avon Theater to capacity each month. And I still have yet to get on the Arc Stories stage. This year I plan to change that.
Write for I Am the F-Bomb. I’m a feminist writer in Birmingham and yet I’ve never contributed to Birmingham’s online feminist publication. This year you will see my byline on this site.
Be grand at the Grand Bohemian. The Grand Bohemian Hotel has been open for over a year and I have yet to experience its swanky restaurant and bar, eclectic rooms, or luxurious spa. This year I want to have dinner and drinks there with friends, enjoy a staycation there with my husband, and treat myself to a massage.
Spend the day writing and reading at Woodlawn Cycle Cafe. Also on my list of locations for writing dates are The Abbey and East 59 Vintage Cafe. My usual haunts are the Red Cat and Urban Standard, but this year I want to try to find some new favorites.
Have a game night at Paramount. I’ve been to Paramount plenty of times for a burger and fries, but I’ve never taken advantage of its arcade. This year I’ll relive my childhood with some pinball, skeeball, and Mortal Kombat.
Enjoy the Alabama Symphony Orchestra at Railroad Park. I think Symphony in the Summer would be a great way to kick off my favorite season of the year.
Go ziplining at Red Mountain Park. If anything will help me overcome my fear of heights, this should.
Watch a movie at Avondale Park. As every good Birmingham resident should, I’ve seen movies at the Alabama Theatre and her hip little sister the Lyric Theatre. This summer I want to enjoy a film outdoors at Avondale Park, too.
Watch the fireworks at Vulcan Park. Even though I was born and raised in Birmingham and have been living here as an adult for eight years now, I have never celebrated the 4th of July with the god of fire and forge. This year, I will spend Independence Day taking in Thunder on the Mountain.
Participate in the Vulcan Run. I’ve had the privilege of running in the Magic City Half Marathon and the Mercedes Half Marathon, but never the Vulcan Run 10K. Every time I register I get sick the weekend of the race. Every. Single. Time. This year I’m determined to cross that Vulcan Run finish line in November. I plan to participate in the Red Shoe Run for the first time this year, too.
Show my husband the magic of the Magic City Classic. As a graduate of an HBCU, my husband will truly appreciate all the traditions tied to this storied rivalry between Alabama A&M and Alabama State University. But we’ve yet to attend the game, parade or parties together. This year we plan to do it all.
Go ice skating at Railroad Park. If you’d told me years ago that one day Birmingham would have an outdoor ice skating rink, I would have laughed in your face. But I guess this city is magical after all.