I turn 70 this year and between January 1 and December 31, intend to achieve 70 things I’ve never done before. The list has only 24 items on it so far, meaning I’m only about a quarter of the way toward completing it. So I’d welcome any suggestions or challenges. But there’ll be nothing involving great heights: I don’t plan to bungee jump, skydive or hang glide. With the possible exception of a hot air balloon ride – notwithstanding what has happened in my old stamping ground of Luxor - I won’t be risking life and limb at the end of a bit of rubber, some nylon, aluminium alloy or synthetic sailcloth.
Some of these events may seem a little trite, trivial and insignificant, but they each will have their place in helping me round out my life. Here is what is on the list so far:
1. Go to Araluen, bushranger country outside Canberra.
2. Listen to Steve Earle sing Copperhead Road on a jukebox in the pub at Araluen.
3. Teach my partner Harriet to jive, and jive with her (but not at Araluen).
4. Watch a Super Bowl on TV in its entirety (I did watch one in 1968, 50 years ago, but that was in black and white on film).
5. Spend Easter in Christchurch, New Zealand, which is about as easterly as I plan to travel this year.
6. Attend a school reunion in Christchurch. Yes, that’s a “first” of sorts.
7. Celebrate a senior milestone birthday in my native New Zealand (my 70th in Queenstown on April 5).
8. Attend the Anzac Day Dawn Service in Canberra.
9. Travel to Warren in New South Wales in search of Ponty Reid’s All Black rugby jersey on Dubbo Street.
10. Travel to Grenfell in search of Lawson Oval, named after the great Australian writer Henry Lawson, who was born there. I know it’s on the corner of Henry Lawson Way and Stan McCabe Drive and I might get there for the Henry Lawson Festival on the June long weekend.
11. Eat something that has tentacles. Calamari maybe?
12. Publish a novel.
13. Run in a road race.
14. Acquire an Underwood 5 typewriter in good working condition.
15. Try to match Eric the Eel’s time by breaking one minute swimming 50 metres.
16. Meet a tiger at the National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra.
17. Eat King George whiting in South Australia.
18. Get to see Uluru and the Alice in Central Australia
19. Take a steam train trip in New South Wales, or in Canberra if they can find the bits of train stolen over Christmas.
20. Go on a hot air balloon ride in Canberra
21. Work on a year-long project to transform our garage, inside and out, making it possum-proof and poisonous redback spider-free and getting rid of all other beastly creatures.
22. Get to own my own laptop.
23. Watch Paris, Texas in its entirety (and maybe even Kramer v Kramer, and Sophie’s Choice).
24. Go to Maryborough in Victoria to find Princes Park, where the locals beat the British rugby team on June 27, 1888.
Please comment with any more suggestions.