Check Marks the Box

One woman has developed a “Twenty Before Forty” list – a list of things she wants to accomplish before her fortieth birthday. We recently sat down with her to learn more. Below is the transcript of our upcoming podcast episode*. For more, please see Woman to Fit 40 Years of Living Into Months and subsequent Editor’s Note.


: We have with us today, Woman, who is the subject of many hilarious posts on a popular blog called Tastes Like Onion. Thank you so much for joining us today.

WOMAN: Thank you for having me.

PODCAST: So, first off – I love your blog. It’s refreshing to read something with such humor, warmth, self-deprecation and honesty.

WOMAN: Wow, thank you so much.

PODCAST: How did the blog come about?

WOMAN: Yeah, so it was about six years ago when two things happened close together. One, I watched the movie, Julie and Julia. It tells parallel stories of Julia Child in France as she begins her cooking career, and Julie Powell who starts a blog to chronicle cooking through Julia Child’s cookbook. I identified with Powell, who wanted to be a writer. Two, I went to see an event honoring Jimmy Fallon. It was a hilarious show. And I was inspired by both to create and be funny – two things I continue to strive for…

PODCAST: And the particular format. It seems like with a personal blog, a first person narrative would be more natural.

WOMAN: Ah yes, except for someone shy like me. I definitely wanted to write about me and my adventures, big and small… (laughs) Mostly small. But it never felt comfortable writing, “I did this” and “I did that.” So what better way to share “non-news” than to make it seem headline-worthy. The newspaper format is the foundation, but it’s also let me be creative with other styles, such as writing an advice column, creating travel and photo spreads, etc.

PODCAST: And now you’ve come up with something for your upcoming birthday. Tell us about this list.

WOMAN: Well, I love lists. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of checking something off… But more importantly, I recently lost someone close to me, and I wanted to honor her memory by living my life with meaning and purpose. A list seemed like a good way to figure out what those things are.

PODCAST: And why 20?

WOMAN: Because 20 is the new 40! (laughs) No, quite frankly – I ran out of time.

PODCAST: So now that we have everyone curious about this list. What’s on this list of 20?

WOMAN: Well, it’s broken down into six categories. These are Health, California, Bravery, Home, Good Citizen, and Culture. The things range from setting up a living trust and will to visiting the top 10 national parks in California, getting rid of all the boxes in my room, and learning all 88 cities in Los Angeles County.

PODCAST: Wow, quite a diverse list! Was there a full 40 list wits things that didn’t make the cut?

WOMAN: Yep – mostly physical things, as I’ve been injured the past few months. I just don’t recover as quickly as I used to! Things like trying surfing, rock climbing and kayaking. Reading an entire book in Italian. Applying for a prestigious fellowship, auditioning for something, and learning how to do basic car maintenance.

PODCAST: Are these things that could appear on a “Before Fifty” List?

WOMAN: (laughs) Haha, quite possibly. But it’s also likely that I’ll be into different things by then!

PODCAST: Well, it was a delight to chat with you and I wish you the best of luck on your list. We hope that we’ll be able to follow along on Tastes Like Onion?

WOMAN: Definitely… One thing that stayed on my “Twenty Before Forty” list is to blog more, so you should be hearing more from me.

PODCAST: We hope so. For our listeners who are curious about the full list, please check our transcript version online which includes a snapshot of the list. Thank you so much again, Woman – it was a real pleasure.

WOMAN: Thank you.

* EDITOR’S NOTE: Despite efforts to the contrary, this podcast episode will not be aired because there is no podcast.

(image source)


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