35 before 35

I used to have this birthday tradition where I would come up with a list of goals based on the age I would turn the following year – 20 goals before 20, 30 before 30, etc. I actually haven’t done it since I turned 30. After that point it seemed like the list was just too long (and maybe I was feeling just a bit too old!) But this year, I want to bring it back.

Gidget and the Brooklyn Brodge

Me and the Brooklyn Bridge on my birthday.

I just turned 34 last week and while I had an incredible birthday, the lead up to it was stressful. I’m not sure why exactly, but 34 is a “scary age” to me. It means I’m officially in my mid-thirties and that triggers my need to tally up all the “supposed to’s” in my life I have yet to accomplish. Like, aren’t I “supposed to” own a house by now, and aren’t I “supposed to” have like 3 kids? Aren’t I “supposed to” not go out so much and I thought I’m “supposed to” have a lot more confidence in myself by now, right?

I realize the “supposed to” thing is nonsense. And quite honestly, I think in many ways, I am doing just fine in that regard. But I also realize that sense of panic, the feeling that I’m not living my life to the fullest, does spark from that fact that in some ways, I’m not. I’m guilty of falling into a daily routine that’s safe and lined with excuses for not accomplishing certain goals – I’m tired, I’m stressed, I’ve got too much work to do, etc.

Making a birthday list of goals (and publishing it online) has pushed me to do more, see more, and make the most of year’s past. It holds me accountable and forces me to at least try to check off as many items on my list as possible. So I’m going to do it again. Not all the items on my list are big things, but they are all things I am going to try to do before December 23, 2017.

So here goes. My 35 Before 35 List –

  1. Learn to bake (and get good at it!)
  2. Back up ALL my photos (this is going to be a huge project!)
  3. Take a weekend trip to Laguna and visit the places I did as a kid
  4. Go to Scotland
  5. Read 1 book a month
  6. Downsize my closet
  7. Get rid of all the e-waste we have stored away (old laptops, cords, cameras; I don’t know why I’m keeping all this stuff!
  8. Write more letters (anyone want to become pen pals?)
  9. Digitize all my contacts (I still have a paper address book, which I think is handy, but it would be nice to also have everyone’s address in an excel file.)
  10. Stop saying “sorry” for everything, when I should be saying something else.
  11. Learn to watercolor
  12. Have a scrapbooking weekend with my mom
  13. Stop working after hours (at 8pm I’m going to stop looking at my phone and I won’t look at it again till 8am the next morning. That gives me 12 hours of respite.)
  14. Volunteer. Somewhere. Preferably where I can help kids.
  15. Blog at least 3 times a week (I say this all the time. I’m determined to follow through this year!)
  16. Make 1 new friend (is this a pathetic one? Whatever, if I don’t force myself I won’t do it.)
  17. Reconnect with 1 old friend. (And I mean beyond Facebook.)
  18. Stay on top of my dental appointments (already have one scheduled for the 3rd.)
  19. Get my eyes checked so I can buy new specs (my prescription is expired.)
  20. Talk less. Smile more.
  21. Figure out a better system for organizing all our writing projects
  22. Print out all the pictures I want to scrapbook
  23. Scrapbook (verb.)
  24. Devise a weekly spending budget and stick to it
  25. Go hiking
  26. Go stargazing
  27. Meditate more
  28. Spend an evening at the Cicada Club
  29. Use the power of 4 and stay calm
  30. Embroider a bit
  31. Buy a car
  32. Keep my current and future car clean on the regular
  33. Laugh more
  34. Dress boldly and make no apologies for all my weird outfits
  35. Watch more classic films that I’ve never seen before!

And that’s it! I’ll keep you updated on my progress as I make my way through this list. Wish me luck!