Apologies to my usual readers - this is a bit of flash fiction for a friend's wedding. The 30GO30 blog will be re-branding/re-launching in the next few months. Stay tuned.

Title: "Wanted: One Mortal Husband"
Author: Peter Meyers
E-book: Yes

It started out as a joke. The ad on Craigslist was clearly a gag, the kind a guy who grew up near the Bay saw all the time online:

"Fairy Queen seeks mortal husband. Serious inquiries only."

Josh had a laugh, posted it on Twitter, and thought that was the end of it. Then, his friends started in:

"You should totally call her."

"When was the last time you dated a girl with wings?"

"You know Fairy Queens are wild in the sack!"

So, he sent an email. Josh told himself it was just to shut them up. Two weeks later, here he was - sitting in an unremarkable loft in an unremarkable neighborhood with a girl who might be cute, if she wasn't clearly insane. No wings, no cloud of pixie dust, although she seemed familiar. For all Josh knew, she called out the names on the coffee cups at his corner Starbucks.

"As my ad stated, I must marry a mortal. My realm is fading, and only someone from this side of the veil can restore it."

At least she didn't waste time. Wait, wasn't that the plot to The Neverending Story? Would he fly there on Falkor? This was starting to seem like a bad idea.

Josh played along: "So, just for argument's sake, how do I get to this realm?"

"You must relinquish your mortal shell," she replied, with an uncomfortable lack of humor.

"You're going to kill me?" The door suddenly seemed very far away.

"No, not the way you understand it. There are many journeys after death. Only a few ever find our realm, but I will guide you. We need you more than you know."

This wasn't funny anymore. Josh shifted in his chair, ready to bolt for the door, when he saw something - a scar on her right shoulder.

"You don't remember, do you?" said a voice in his head. It was her voice.

**********

Josh was just 11 years old, spending the summer at his parents' cabin in the mountains. They had been coming here for years, and he knew these woods, but he had wandered farther than usual that day.

There were voices in the distance, and, before he could even make out their shapes, a shot rang out. The hunters didn't see him, and he turned to run a second too late. Another shot. From a clearing he hadn't seen a moment before, a doe sprang out, passing his face by inches. The bullet struck her right shoulder, and she crumpled to the ground.

Josh ran, adrenaline clouding his memories even as they were being written.

**********

Moments came flooding back. A pigeon fluttered and made him look up from his cell phone just to see the gaping hole in the sidewalk. A glint of sunlight caused him to veer his bike away from an oncoming semi. A girl he had never met pulled him away from the curb, narrowly avoiding a cab that cut the corner too close.

Fairy Queens don't cry, but there was torment in her eyes. Each time she saved him, her people suffered for it.

"I have always loved you," she whispered. So, he took her hand and gave her his life.

This is an update to my 1-year long Year-42 Project, a set of long-term challenges culminating on my 42nd birthday (July 28, 2012).

It's been a crazy 2012, and I'm already 3/4 of the way done with the Year-42 Project. Here's the scoop on where I'm at...

Part 1 - Fitness goals

Although it's not technically a part of the Year-42 plan, my 50,000 push-up goal is coming along - I just topped 21K. Unfortunately, running has taken a back seat to some other things in life, so I'm not sure if I'm going to make the last 2 original goals.

  • 5K - Beat 2007 race PR (27:47)
  • 5K - Run the full distance
  • Push-ups - Do 200 in 6:00
  • Push-ups - Do 100 in 2:00 (1 set)
  • 5K - Beat 2006 treadmill PR (26:55)
  • Sit-ups - Do 50 in 2:00*

Part 2 - Diet goals

I'm finally 28 days soda-free. I'm shooting for 30 days, which should be no problem at this point. I'm not sure I'll give it up 100% after that, but I'm going to call the goal completed. With that, my original diet goals are done.
  • Give up soda completely
  • Go 30 days without dairy
  • Eat 5+ veggies/fruits per day

Part 3 - Learn Chinese

I decided to put this on hold for now. Some major life/family events left me with less time in the day, and I decided that 30 minutes/day every day to learn Chinese wasn't viable right now. I'm ok with this one - it was a conscious choice that need to be made.
  • Finish Pimsleur CDs (7/16)
  • 100 Intermediate lessons
  • 50 Upper intermediate lessons
  • 100 ChinesePod Newbie lessons
  • 100 Elementary lessons

Part 4 - All the rest

Only 3 books left on my unread original unread pile, and one is 70% finished. The last 2 are tomes, but I think this one is going to happen.

Only 3 months to go.

Other than putting the Chinese on hold, I'm feeling good about the project. A lot of positive habits have stuck through the 9 months, and I've been able to hang on to momentum even under a ton of stress.

This is an update to my 1-year long Year-42 Project, a set of long-term challenges culminating on my 42nd birthday (July 28, 2012).

Hard, to believe, but I'm halfway to 42 as of today. The last 6 months have flown by, but I'm feeling good about my progress and for sticking to the plan for this long.

Part 1 - Fitness goals

I've gotten a little exercise crazy this past few months, and recently launched into my 50,000 push-up goal for 2012. The running is still coming along - I've got a race at the end of February, so I'm pushing the training pretty hard again.

  • 5K - Beat 2007 race PR (27:47)
  • 5K - Run the full distance
  • Push-ups - Do 200 in 6:00
  • Push-ups - Do 100 in 2:00 (1 set)
  • 5K - Beat 2006 treadmill PR (26:55)
  • Sit-ups - Do 50 in 2:00*

Part 2 - Diet goals

I'm still struggling with the soda, although I'm close to getting it down to 1/week. The other dietary changes are going great - I'm getting 5 fruits/veggies in my breakfast some days. At this point, I'm just working on building habits and making incremental changes.
  • Give up soda completely (2/week)
  • Go 30 days without dairy
  • Eat 5+ veggies/fruits per day

Part 3 - Learn Chinese

Chinese is on track - I just wrapped up 100 Elementary lessons. I'm realizing that I'm probably not ready to move on to Intermediate, so I may revise these goals. I think I'm pushing quantity at the expense of quality, and if I jump ahead I'm probably going to just get frustrate with material that's beyond my level.
  • Finish Pimsleur CDs (7/16)
  • 100 Intermediate lessons
  • 50 Upper intermediate lessons
  • 100 ChinesePod Newbie lessons
  • 100 Elementary lessons

Part 4 - All the rest

All that's left for the miscellaneous goals is getting through my reading list, but I'm down to the long books. One of my final 4 is the Qu'ran, so it's going to take a while, but I'll get there.

Just 6 months to go.

At this point, I'm feeling confident that I'll get 90%+ of the list done. I may have to revise a couple of goals, but I think any revisions will be for the right reasons at this point.

I have a confession to make – this blog has been both a huge success and a terrible disappointment. Let's start with the bad news. The disappointment is that I've never really built up much of a following here on 30GO30. Truthfully, I just haven't put in the time and energy it takes, and I've been blogging professionally more than long enough to know that.

On the flip-side, I started 30GO30 to kick myself in the butt and take accountability to the next level. When our daughter was born and (2 weeks later) I turned 40, I knew it was time to get serious. Most importantly, I felt like I had made and broken a lot of promises to myself, and I wanted to finally face up to those past failures. In a lot of ways, I've done that, and I feel like 2011 was a huge step forward.

The doing got in the way.

The irony is that I wanted to write about doing so that I'd hear my own message, but as soon as I made that decision, the doing started to happen. Just creating this blog was a commitment to myself, and in retrospect, it was both an act of faith and magic.

Once I was doing, I didn't care so much about writing about it. I just wanted to do more. Writing about what I've accomplished so far has, many times, felt more like narcissism than progress.

It wasn't supposed to be about me.

In my first post on 30GO30, I made it clear that I didn't want to be a guru. I didn't want to build a community revolving around the shining sun that is me in all my glory. Of course, like any personal blog, the story became about me. That's ok, in theory, but it's not what I was trying to create.

Meanwhile, I've found that I enjoy participating more in other communities, like SEOmoz (my half-day-job), The Impossible League and Fitocracy, than I do trying to build one from scratch here. I know that, as a marketer, I'm supposed to own my own content, but the reality is that I don't care. I enjoy meeting people and learning, and that was the point of 30GO30.

I love writers (don't get me wrong).

I'm not saying that you can't write about something and also do it well – I love blogging about marketing. I work hard every day to raise the bar on the content I create for that industry, and I learn a lot and (hopefully) I teach in the process. People can write about writing, motivation, fitness, and whatever else they're passionate about. That's important.

What I'm starting to wonder, though, is if writing about doing is right for me. The simple truth is that, when I sit down to write here, it feels like a chore. I want to get back to doing as soon as possible, which sometimes means writing for other sites. When you don't enjoy writing for a site you created, it's time to make a change.

I think there also comes a point where writing can be an excuse to avoid doing. It's a lot like announcing what you're going to do to the world before you actually do it. For some people, that strengthens their resolve and makes all the difference. For others, shouting their latest plans at the wind just makes the room a bit breezier. We all have to find that line for ourselves.

So, what comes next?

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure. I'm not abandoning 30GO30 – I'm just going to let it be what it is. For now, that's a personal blog, where I'll write when I want to write. I'll keep updating my progress on some big items, like the Year-42 Project and 50,000 Push-up Challenge (both are going well). After that, I'll let the doing be my guide. When I feel like I've done something worth writing about, you'll find me back here.

As a marketer, I see a lot of spam, but the other day I had my first spam-based epiphany. I woke up to the following Tweet from "Dolly":

Call me a skeptic, but I somehow doubt that Dolly actually spends her days taking pouty bathroom-mirror snapshots while coaching people to work from home. Before I engaged my semi-automatic Block/Report finger, though, I noticed something...

My life > the dream.

The too-good-to-be-true promise of this tweet was to be my own boss and make 48K/year doing it. Not to sound self-important, but I suddenly realized that I work from home and make more than twice that. The "dream" was actually worse than my real life.

You can do better.

In a way, it's sad that the new American dream is apparently to not be bossed around while making slightly more than the median household income. Maybe it's a sign of the times, but I think you can do better than that. It's not about the money – it's about not letting your imagination be limited by people like "Dolly", who's probably stuck making $500/month posing for suggestive Facebook photos.

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