It’s that time of year when I do my annual birthday post in which I make a whole bunch of plans for this new year of my life which I likely won’t be able to keep, and I reflect on where I am in my life right now.
Exactly one week ago I turned 35. Thirty. Five. To me, this is officially the “middle,” and a sort of turning point in my life. As a precursor to writing this post, I went back to view the one I wrote last year, and not only did I find that I basically failed to check off nearly every item on my to-do list, it was clear that I also had no idea what was awaiting me in my 34th year. I was scared, unsure of myself, and fixated on all the things I hadn’t achieved yet – I feel very differently now.
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.
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 –
- Learn to bake (and get good at it!)
- Back up ALL my photos (this is going to be a huge project!)
- Take a weekend trip to Laguna and visit the places I did as a kid
- Go to Scotland
- Read 1 book a month
- Downsize my closet
- 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!
- Write more letters (anyone want to become pen pals?)
- 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.)
- Stop saying “sorry” for everything, when I should be saying something else.
- Learn to watercolor
- Have a scrapbooking weekend with my mom
- 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.)
- Volunteer. Somewhere. Preferably where I can help kids.
- Blog at least 3 times a week (I say this all the time. I’m determined to follow through this year!)
- Make 1 new friend (is this a pathetic one? Whatever, if I don’t force myself I won’t do it.)
- Reconnect with 1 old friend. (And I mean beyond Facebook.)
- Stay on top of my dental appointments (already have one scheduled for the 3rd.)
- Get my eyes checked so I can buy new specs (my prescription is expired.)
- Talk less. Smile more.
- Figure out a better system for organizing all our writing projects
- Print out all the pictures I want to scrapbook
- Scrapbook (verb.)
- Devise a weekly spending budget and stick to it
- Go hiking
- Go stargazing
- Meditate more
- Spend an evening at the Cicada Club
- Use the power of 4 and stay calm
- Embroider a bit
- Buy a car
- Keep my current and future car clean on the regular
- Laugh more
- Dress boldly and make no apologies for all my weird outfits
- 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!