Friday, June 19, 2015

Thirty Before Thirty

It's a really scary, inconceivable thought to me, but my 30th birthday is fast approaching. In my mind I think I will forever be 16...

Until I watch 16 year olds interacting, then I will forever be 18...

Until I hear 18 year olds conversing in a restaurant, then I will forever be 21. :)

Bunny trail...

The point is, in 26 months (less 3 days) I will be turning 30 and beginning an entirely new chapter of life. I think one of the reasons I'm so anxious about 30 is because I feel that my life has been so very unexciting and unaccomplished thus far, and that I haven't met certain goals that people should meet by this age, and I'm afraid that in 2 years nothing will have happened to change that...

So, something I've been thinking about for quite a few months now, I'm going to bravely put out into the open... 30 things I'd like to do before I turn 30. I'm really good at making lists and coming up with challenges and plans, but I'm really bad at following through, so this will be the ultimate challenge. Because 30 day challenge lists and New Years Resolutions you can redo and try again any old time, but once you turn 30, there's no going back. Your 20's are gone. It's also more challenging because I'm making it public. If other people know your goals, it makes it a little harder to get out of doing them. And, by 30 you are officially an adult in all senses of the word - no more excuses for not acting like one.

So, without further ado, in no particular order, here is my very own 30 before 30 list:

  1. Live on my own: Until quite recently, it never really bothered me that for the last 27 years I've only lived with my parents or in a school dorm. However, lately I've started feeling like I'm missing out. There are certain milestones my friends have reached that I have no hope of meeting in the next 2 years, but this I have control over. So by 30, I'd like to have my own place.
  2. Write a business plan: I have some really big dreams, but I also have to be realistic. I would love to have my own bakery/cafe/something by the time I'm 30, but it would be so much more realistic to just have a written business plan and be getting the first steps in motion, so that's my goal.
  3. Set foot in every province/territory in Canada: I have not even seen half of the country I live in. I think every Canadian should be able to say they've visited every province and territory at least once in their lifetime, but it would be really awesome to do it before my 30th birthday. I think I have at least one friend or family member in every province or territory, except Yukon, so this is potentially a possibility! Plus, road trip? In general, that's been a goal of mine for some time as well. And if you're going across the country, you might as well add a few more thousand kilometers to visit friends in California! This will definitely be the most challenging point to meet, so I'm going to say that if I can at least visit Newfoundland and BC before 30, I'll be happy.
  4. Discover my personal style: I do not feel that I have a "style," as such. Most of my life, I've just worn what's comfortable. I'm not saying I want to start being uncomfortable for the sake of fashion, but I want to have an actual style, an actual wardrobe. Along the way, I'd like to experiment a little bit, and that may involve dying my hair an unnatural colour, or getting something pierced/tattooed while it can still be blamed on youthful whims. ;) I'd also like to learn how to apply/wear makeup properly.
  5. Find my perfect "little black dress": Regardless of what one's style may be, I have read before, and firmly believe, that every woman needs her own "little black dress" that fits her perfectly, makes her feel like a million bucks, and is appropriate for all kinds of events. I have found a couple black dresses in the last year, but as it turns out, they're not my perfect dress. They're nice, but the search is still on.
  6. Be healthier: I've been reading lots of these 30 before 30 lists, and almost every one of them mentions some form of getting healthy/in shape/losing weight, etc, and I know it's cliché - whenever anyone makes a list of goals, health is on the list, but I'd like to say the reason everyone puts it on all their lists is because we know the importance of taking care of ourselves. Some have more vain reasons than others, and I'll be honest, vanity is a very strong motivator in my case, too. But as mentioned above, I'm also trying to be realistic with this list. So I'm not going to say I want to lose X pounds, or any weight at all. I just want to develop a healthier lifestyle and choices as I move into the next decade of my life. There will always be room for improvement, but I'm happy to say that I'm taking steps in the right direction. As of June 2016 I was assigned a family doctor (mine retired over 2 years ago, and I hadn't seen a doctor or had a blood test in at least that many years), so I finally had a blood test which showed that all my levels are where they should be, which was a huge relief (there was some concern a few years ago about cholesterol, and we have family history of diabetes...)! As of July 2016 I've started seeing a nutritionist. It's a slow job, but it will be worth it. To start we're working on eating proper meals at the proper times.
  7. Get active: Along with the healthier lifestyle, but I think worthy of a separate point, is the need to be active. I need to make excuses to move more - parking the car farther from the door on purpose, taking the stairs, using that bicycle I bought a couple years ago, or the treadmill that's been sitting unused in the basement for far too long, etc. I also have a (not anymore) secret desire to join a soccer team... But we'll see about that.
  8. Read Jane Austen: I'm a 27 year old woman living in the 21st century, who considers herself an avid reader, and I'm ashamed to say I've never read anything by Jane Austen. I own all her works (in a single, very pretty binding!), but I've yet to read any. If I read nothing else in the next 2 years,  I will accomplish this goal!
  9. Do 30 Random Acts of Kindness: This, too, is something I've been thinking about doing for ages. I love Random Acts of Kindness, I love helping people, and I love doing special things on my birthday, so why not combine them? This goal is one I'd like to actually perform on my 30th birthday, if at all possible, so I have the next 2 years to come up with which Random Acts of Kindness I will perform! Suggestions are definitely appreciated...
  10. Be a more faithful blogger: I journal fairly regularly. Not as often as I used to, but still regularly. I do not blog regularly. Typing and handwriting are very different. I appreciate both for various reasons, but when it comes to putting thoughts, opinions, and feelings down, I find it much easier to do so on paper. I think it's because blogging is so public, so out-there, so can't-take-it-back (even if I do only have 6 readers...). But I'd like to make more regular blog posts - about anything, random things, day-to-day-life. It doesn't even matter if nobody's reading it, I just feel like I need to get over this fear of others' opinions about my thoughts and opinions. Admittedly, I haven't been being very faithful over here on this blog, but for the past 4 months I have been adding weekly posts to my book review blog, which I consider to be a great accomplishment! I will try to make an effort to give equal attention to all my social media outlets, but in the meantime, I'm considering this done (December 2016).
  11. Make a YouTube tutorial: I love searching YouTube for crafting/baking tutorials, and I know the types of videos I find interesting/useful and the ones I don't. I also can't always find the tutorial I'm looking for, which I know other people must be looking for as well, so I'll just have to make my own! :P In order to make the kind of video I find most attractive and informative, I think I would need a decent microphone and editing software. I would also need to know how to use these things.
  12. Get up to date with technology: I'd like to get more up to speed with my peers. Twitter and Instagram are the two social media outlets that interest me most, and along the same lines would be getting a "big girl" cell phone. Until this point I've only ever had a pay-as-you-go flip phone - wicked old school, I know. Going to school with teenagers and 20-something's last year made me realize how out-of-date I really was. But honestly, I don't use the phone that much, so the prepaid deal is probably what I'll stick with. I'd also like to be able to just take a decent picture and post it to Facebook whenever the mood strikes me, wherever I may be. Whoooo!!! I got myself an Android smart phone for Christmas 2015!! And I decided to go with a plan (even though it's more money than I'd like to be spending every month) because the phone was free with the plan. I stuck with Virgin because I know them, and I figured it would be easier to keep my old number (it wasn't). I also joined Instagram (@amjb1999)! Still haven't got on the Twitter bandwagon, I still just don't get it, and I really don't feel like I'm missing out. :)
  13. Travel with my best friend: My best friend and I live in different provinces - different time zones - and we don't get to see each other very often (it has presently been two years since our last visit). We've both done a bit of traveling and want to do more, but we have never gone anywhere together. And who better to travel with than your best friend?! Also, as alike as we are, our lives have started to head in different directions and it's only a matter of time before we are no longer able to make our schedules blend (which is already really difficult!), so this is an absolute must. It could be the aforementioned road trip across Canada, it could be going to New York City for New Year's Eve, it could be traveling abroad, but we are going to take a trip together before our 30th birthdays! March 2017, we went to Orlando together! I'm writing a series of 4 posts about it, you can read the first one here!
  14. Enter a contest: By this I mean submitting something I made with my own two hands into a contest for a prize. I used to participate in drawing contests in school and at our local Post Office, and I occasionally won! It could be a writing contest (I'd like to challenge myself in that way), or art (my polymer clay pieces), or a cake decorating contest, which would be so much fun!
  15. Take an online course: I love learning and I love being in school, and if it were possible for an average middle-class woman, I'd probably just be a student forever. But, it's not possible. So, next best thing? Take a course online! I'll get to learn something new, but still afford to live and not be in debt for the rest of my life. :) Photography seems to be the popular thing that most people want to learn, and I don't want to copy other lists, but honestly, I really would like to learn how to take better pictures (and edit) without investing tons of money in a big fancy camera - if that's possible? That, or perhaps a course relating to small business operation.
  16. Learn to enjoy cooking: One of my current part-time jobs involves cooking for a large amount of people. Admittedly, I'm not making anything terribly complicated, but I had never done much cooking myself until starting this job because I don't enjoy cooking (on a regular basis, for myself, etc). I like to eat, and I like to watch cooking shows, but I find regular meal planning and preparation extremely time consuming and exhausting. In the next two years I hope to learn to appreciate it more, and maybe even learn a couple "signature dishes."
  17. Get more organized: I have my own systems of organization. Some of them make sense to other people, some of them don't. I'd like to learn how to discipline myself in organization and time management, if possible. I think as far as organization is concerned, uniformity is key for me. If everything looks the same, it makes the whole space look better, and that will help me to keep it that way.
  18. Become smarter financially: I have tried to cut back on spending, but I am still known to make silly impulse buys and other unnecessary purchases. By thirty I'd like to be able to say that I only spend my money on necessities and the occasional splurge. I want to keep better track of my finances and do my own taxes. It's not that I don't know how, I just don't know how to start. I'd also like to be able to say that I'm debt free and/or financially independent by thirty, but I think it's going to take longer than two years to get to that point... I will, however, hopefully be on the right track.
  19. Plan for my retirement: I have seen what happens when people don't properly plan for the future, and while at this point I have no dependents and no major debts that will weigh my parents down if something were to happen to me, that could always change in the next few years, so it would be prudent to start preparing now. Always room for improvement, but I did talk to my financial advisor and we set up a plan to automatically invest $50 a month into mutual funds (since March 2016).
  20. Spend more one-on-one time with my nephews: For years now I've thought of giving "the gift of time" gifts to my nephews for birthdays and Christmas, but I've yet to do it, for various reasons. They're preteens now and before I know it they won't want to spend time with their boring old Auntie! They already prefer hanging out with my brother more than me, so I need to make an effort to spend time with them (together or individually), attempting to do things they like to do.
  21. Host a dinner party: This will, hopefully, come with having my own place, but it could happen before then as well. I want to invite people over and be able to say I prepared the whole meal, start to finish, by myself. (This is also something that appeared on a lot of other lists).
  22. Learn to be ok with being solo: I have been to the movies by myself, once, and it was a huge deal for me. There are a lot of times that I don't do things I want to do, because I have no one available to go with me, and because I get anxious in large groups which is magnified when I'm also alone. But I realize that my friends are moving on and becoming less and less available, and I just need to be ok with doing things by myself, otherwise I will become a hermit and a crazy old cat lady, and people will make fun of me and point and laugh when I tiptoe out of the house in my pajamas to get the newspaper...
  23. Be a more knowledgeable car owner: I strongly feel that one should have to undergo training on general maintenance before being able to own machines including cars and computers. I can fuel up and check/add oil, but that's about where my knowledge ends. When I mentioned to someone that I didn't know how to change a tire and maybe they should show me, their response was "call CAA." So helpful. -.- 
  24. See a live show/concert: Seeing a Cirque du Soleil show is on my life bucket list, so the concert/show could be that, or a favourite band/artist, doesn't really matter what, but it's gotta happen. My brother and I went to see Walk Off the Earth (my fave band of Canadians!) in Montreal in April 2016! I didn't write about it, but I instagrammed it!
  25. Go to La Ronde: Yep, sometimes it's the simple things. La Ronde is a Six Flags amusement park in Montreal that a lot of kids get to visit on class trips, but I was never part of one of those trips, and even though I have a cousin who has lived in Montreal for years, and who has offered to take me, I still have never been. This is about to change. I finally went (June 2015) with my brother and cousin, you can read about it here.
  26. Walk the Foresta Lumina: Another local attraction, this interactive lighted forest walk started last year and I really really wanted to go for my birthday, but it didn't work out and I was super disappointed. It was such a success, tho, that they're doing it again this year. So fingers crossed I can go this August! Got to go for my 28th birthday (August 2015)!! You can read about that here.
  27. Visit the Abbey at St-Benoit du Lac: This is a local monastery known for their cheeses. They also have a store with other local goods that I'm really interested in visiting! Went for a quick visit in August 2015 - bought cheese, chocolate, and jams to try! You can read more about it here.
  28. Eat food truck food: I can't really expound on this one much. I just love the idea of food trucks so much, and the ones you see on TV are always so cool and trendy, so I just feel like I need to try food truck food, and it just so happens that there is a food truck festival in Montreal once a month all summer long, so no excuses! My brother and I went into Montreal in May 2016 for the food truck festival, along with our cousin & her family. I didn't write a post about it, but I instagrammed it! :)
  29. Personal: They can't all be public!
  30. Unknown: I'm leaving the last one open, just in case I come up with some spectacular thing that I haven't thought of yet. :)
So, there you have it! Some big goals, some small ones... Hopefully I can cross off the majority of them by August 2017. If nothing else, this project has helped me think about and look forward to the future a little more.

Do you have a milestone birthday looming ahead of you? I'd encourage you to make your own birthday bucket list. It's kind of fun! :) And of course, I'd love to know what some of the items on your lists would be! Do share, and don't forget to throw me some ideas for my 30 Random Acts of Kindness! ;)

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