Future Achievements for My Epic Life Quest

As I work on my Epic Life Quest, here’s what I’ve got on my possible future achievements.  These roughly line up with my Getting Things Done 50,000 foot goals.

Partner and Family Achievements

Test driving convertibles with Mom

I try to be pretty transparent: I want to share nearly everything with you, dear reader, to inspire you to be a better person and to challenge myself to fulfill my goals.  However, this particular category stays mostly offline.  Here’s what I’ll share:

  • Get everyone’s handwritten holiday and birthday cards out on time for an entire year straight.  I am such a selfish jerk. (2015 isn’t going to be the year, sadly, off to another rocky start here.)
  • Learn conversational Spanish – I know just enough to be dangerous and funny, but not enough to hold a serious conversation with a stranger.  Erika’s family is from El Salvador, and I look forward to the day when we can have a relaxed conversation.  (Today, they just feed me wonderful food, and hey, there’s a lot to be said for that too.)
  • Learn to say “Thank you very much” in ten languages – because it seems like a good thing to know.
  • Take my sister Emily on a cruise – I’ve already done this with Mom, Dad, and Caryl (my stepmom), and I’m really, really looking forward to doing this with Em.
  • Take Dad & Caryl on a land trip through Alaska – they really enjoyed the Alaskan cruise we did, and I think they’d like a train/lodge/car trip even more.

Health Achievements

  • Weigh 190 pounds or less for 6 months straight – Until mid-2014, I yo-yo’d between 210 and 220. When I made it a life quest to stay under 200 for 6 months straight, I was able to pull it off. Guess that means I’ve gotta set the next goal.
  • Work out for 3.5 hours per week for 6 months straight – Shamelessly stolen from Andrew Notarian’s list of life quest tasks, aiming for 30 minutes of cardio per day. I think this one’s gonna require a personal trainer.
  • Get annual health exams for 3 years – including physical, eye exam, and dental exams.  Boring, but it takes discipline, and it’s part of being a responsible adult.  I struggle with this.
  • Run a full marathon – as of this writing, I’m just not motivated to do this, and I’ve fallen off the running wagon. However, I’ve done a few half-marathons, and I did like unlocking those achievements. For this to happen, I’d need to live in a warmer city than Chicago and have a different work schedule than I have now.

Travel Achievements

At Niagara Falls

I’ve been so absurdly lucky to have had jobs that required international travel, so I’ve been able to cross off a lot of amazing destinations.  There’s still a few left, though.

  • Take a repositioning cruise – twice a year, most cruise ships move from one region of the world to another. The moving process is a quiet, long at-sea cruise with no or few port stops. That’s actually what I like most about cruising, watching the ocean go by.
  • Take a cruise around Cape Horn – the southern tip of South America, famous for its rough weather.
  • Take a cruise through the Panama Canal – by now, you can kinda tell I like the whole cruising thing.
  • Take an around-the-world cruise – this one has to wait for retirement, obviously, because these things are months long.
  • Visit Tokyo – I’m not one of those guys who adores all things Japanese, but there’s just something interesting that calls to me about this city.
  • Visit Germany – I did spend a few days here in 2008 while working for Quest Software, but that wasn’t good enough.  I really liked what I saw, and I’d love to take a nice, slow journey through the country.
  • Visit Cuba before the changes – Before the inevitable happens and the crush of American tourists starts, I’d like to see Cuba the way Anthony Bourdain did. Abercrombie & Kent is doing educational tours already.
  • Visit Mladen Prajdic in Slovenia – While it’s not the first country that comes to mind when you think about world travels, Mladen is probably one of the first guys that comes to my mind when I think of excellent potential hosts.  (And he asked me to visit him, so there’s that!)
  • Go ATVing or dune buggying with TJ Belt in Moab – TJ’s a fantastic guy that I’m honored to call a friend, and I was surprised to really love the scenery in Utah.  We drove through en route to Vegas, and I’d love to spend more time here.
  • Set foot on the North Pole – It’s not that I have some kind of obsession with Santa Claus, but it’d be amazing to be there for no other reason than to just be there.  I’m young, relatively speaking, and I think that travel technology will make this easier over time in the same way that more people seem to visit Mount Everest every year.  I’m not so keen on going to Mount Everest, though, and I’m not sure why that is.  For other extreme trivia, check out Wikipedia’s Extremes on Earth.
  • Set foot on the South Pole – see above.
  • See Earth from space – One of my favorite movies is 2001: A Space Odyssey, and one of my earliest computer community memories is the Whole Earth Review cover.  What they share: a beautiful view of the Earth from outer space.  While I probably can’t zoom out quite that far, I’d at least like to see the curvature of the Earth.

Enjoyment: Greedy, Self-Centered Experience Achievements

The 24 Hours of LeMons

It’s my life, and there’s a few things that I just want to achieve for myself.

  • Take a photography class – I enjoy photography, but I suck at it, and I should learn some basics to kick things up a notch.
  • Attend high performance driving training – I suck at driving fast, even in video games. I’m not one of those guys who goes fast on public roads, but I’d love to have the confidence to attack a track and not feel like Hellen Keller at the wheel. I need to knock this one down so that I can register for the 24 Hours of Lemons down the road.
  • Attend a vintage car auction – after seeing a lot of ’em on TV, I’d love to watch how these go down in real life.
  • Buy a vintage Porsche 911, Mercedes Pagoda, or Corvette – the classic sports cars that have always held my eye.  Sure, I’d also love to own an Alfa Romeo Graduate, a Fiat Spyder, a 1970s Trans Am, or any number of other classic cars, but these three are the serious tasks worthy of the experience points.
  • Drive a go-fast boat 100mph – I grew up with a steady diet of Miami Vice, and I’d like to experience what it’s like to pilot a boat this fast.
  • Drive in the Power Racing Series – start with a kid’s toy, add electric power, and spend no more than $500. Then race. Doing this will require having a garage with a work space, something I can’t even dream of while we’re living in Chicago.
  • Drive in a 24 Hours of LeMons Race – a hilarious event for $500 cars.  Yes, $500 cars.  That doesn’t mean it’s cheap, though: you still have to put a roll cage, safety gear, new tires, etc on the car.  Fielding a team costs $7-$20k.  I have no intentions of winning, but this just seems so hilariously enjoyable.  I’d like to start by driving in someone else’s team first.  To learn more, check out Car & Driver’s 24 Hours of LeMons blog posts.
  • Pilot a glider – I’ve never wanted to fly a small plane: the angry noise and failure rate doesn’t inspire me.  However, Tom Roush’s post about flying a glider sounds like a hell of an experience.
  • Take German delivery of a new Porsche 911 – I don’t want to own just any late-model 911.  If I’m going to get a recent one, I want to build *exactly* the one I want, be the first guy to drive it off the assembly line, and own it for the rest of my life.
  • Host a TV viewing party – I used to eagerly anticipate every single episode of LOST before it finished, but at the time, we didn’t really have a party-friendly place.  Someday we will, and we’ll throw parties.  This sounds like an amateurishly low-requirement task for experience points, but in evidence, I submit this: Erika and I lived together for over a decade before we threw our first party.
  • Build a listening room – I love music, and I’ve got great ears for details.  I really appreciate good audio, but living in an apartment, I can’t really bombard the neighbors with high volume music.  Erika and I built a townhome in Houston, but at the time, we didn’t have the financial ability to include a listening room as part of the blueprint.
  • Publish a non-technical book – I’ve got a technical book on Amazon, but in the back of my mind, I’ve been thinking more and more about writing a book about the new form of careers: turning your career into a blog into consulting.  Maybe that’s the topic, or maybe it’s something else. Screw this. The work vs money ratio here is absurd.
  • Learn Ikebana – the Japanese art of arranging flowers.  Something about this just really calls to me ever since I saw Anthony Bourdain show it in his Tokyo show.

Work Achievements

I’m lucky enough to make a living doing things I really love, and I get excited about unlocking these achievements:

  • Cook dinner for the team – When Kendra found out that I’ve worked as a line cook, she demanded that I cook a meal for the team during our annual company retreats. I haven’t cooked in 15+ years, so this should be interesting.
  • Do a fully coordinated online product launch – in the past, I’ve done a half-ass job whenever I launch a new training video or script. For my next one, I’m going to use techniques that self-publishers have used for years to really make a splash.
  • Publish a weekly Ozar.me blog post for 52 weeks straight – Shamelessly stolen from Andrew Notarian’s list of life quest tasks. I don’t even know if I’ve achieved this, and I should totally be proud of this.
  • Ship an application – I’m not going to learn to code, but I’ve had a few ideas along the way that I’ve regretted not hiring someone to code and ship. At some point in my life, I need to get this out of my system.
  • Have five full time employees – and then ten, and twenty.
  • (And a few private goals as well around revenue and profitability metrics)

Financial Achievements

I was really pissed in high school when I was voted Most Likely to Succeed – instead of Best Dressed.  Looking back, I’m glad I didn’t win any awards for my Cosby sweaters.

  • Put someone through college – I really believe charity begins at home, and I like taking care of my family’s needs first and foremost.  When we get to the point in our lives where we can start giving back to strangers, Erika and I agree that we’d like to take care of someone’s education.  (No, not by paying off loans after the fact.  It’s not my fault you chose poorly and racked up $100k on a basketweaving degree.)
  • Have $1mm net worth – and almost unthinkably, achievements for $2mm and $3mm net worth.  At $3mm, though, I need to be looking at the next goal below.
  • Own a house with zero debt – I’ve been living the Dave Ramsey way for over a decade. I don’t have credit cards, and I only pay cash for cars. Buying a house and paying it off within a few years is the next step.
  • Retire – and this one’s a little tricky.  I really, really love what I do, and I do what I love.  To me, the concept of retirement is a little vague because I’d do a lot of this stuff for free.  Right now, my definition of retirement is not taking any new clients, and having the financial knowledge that my complete future is taken care of.

Want to read more?  Here’s what I’ve done so far on my quest, and here’s Steve’s Epic Quest that inspired me to start.