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Murray Journal

Thirty by 30

Aug 25, 2016 05:37PM ● By Alisha Soeken

April Norton proudly displays her many metals. (Patricia Donohue/Resident)

Indiana Jones looked for the cup which promised it and Doctor Who was healed by an elixir that gave it. Mankind and moviegoers have long searched in vain for it—the fountain of youth. But when April Norton faced turning 30, instead of grasping for myths and elixirs, she got to work.
“Turning 30 was scary to me because I felt like I hadn’t accomplished enough,” Norton said.
Norton turned that fear into determination and a good plan, making a list of 30 goals to achieve by her 30th birthday.
“I decided that I could change the way I felt if I set some goals to do things I wanted to accomplish. Then maybe turning 30 wouldn’t be so bad,” Norton said.
And accomplish she did. Norton’s goals ranged from running 30 races, going to a ballet, talking to a stranger, learning to paint, surf, play an instrument, design a quilt and say no.
“I came up with some big goals like losing weight and running a half marathon. But I also chose goals that were just fun, random ones I wanted to try. My family really loved my goal of cooking new recipes,” Norton said.
There is something transforming about taking control. Putting the force of life’s direction in your hands. Norton experienced that thrill.
“My favorite goal was completing the Pixie Dust Challenge in Disneyland. It was difficult to run three races but I completed over 50 miles in three days plus I improved my time by a half an hour. I felt so amazing when I crossed that final finish line. I kept thinking, ‘Wow I did this,’” Norton said.
There would be no apprehension in aging if it washed away in a fountain of youth. But without that option Norton learned, challenged and ran her fear into the shadows. Despite that triumph, it wasn’t always easy.
“In each goal I found things that were challenging. Goals take a lot of time and dedication and I learned to be flexible because sometimes they don't always turn out how you thought they would,” Norton said.
Yet as a wife, daughter and mother Norton’s struggles inspired.
“My wife inspires me everyday to accomplish my own personal goals with her dedication to what she wants to achieve,” Tony Norton said.
“It has been amazing watching April accomplish her goals. She has inspired me to do some of them along side of her,” Patricia Donohue said of her daughter.
Though Norton’s apprehension of aging isn’t unique, her mechanism of coping is. And unlike the fountain-of-youth trends of surgery or injections, her benefits proved authentic.
“Achieving my goals felt great. I found that each thing I checked off my list added more confidence in myself. I was more focused on achieving my goals then turning 30,” Norton said.
And that was the power of Norton’s plan—work was her elixir.
“Doing this project was fun. Turning 30 wasn't as bad as I thought. But let’s see how I feel about 40,” Norton said.