When I turned 29, I started to compile a mental list of things I wanted to accomplish the year before I turned the big "30". With every passing 21st of the month, every friend turning 30 around me, it became more apparent that the time in my twenties was running out.
So I've finally put my list onto paper and started to get to work. It's not exactly a bucket list, because turning 30 isn't the end of the world as we all like to exaggerate, but more of a year-long goals list. Which, you really can do at any age.
1. Learn a New Skill
When was the last time you tried something new for the first time? There are seriously soooo many free ways to learn a new skill today: Skillshare, Udemy, YouTube University; the possibilities are endless!
Find something that piques your curiosity and sign up for a class today. And if you're really committed or are more of a hands-on type like me, pay for a class in person! Consider it as an investment in yourself. You're totally worth it.
2. Take a Pottery Class
There's something about getting down and dirty with clay that just seems oh so soothing...
And there's nothing more rewarding than actually using something you made yourself. (We're assuming they turn out fine here. But don't worry, I believe in you and your abilities!)
3. Complete a 30-Day Challenge
Maybe you want to improve your hand-lettering skills, declutter like a minimalist, or get into exercising. What ever it may be, start with a 30-Day challenge to get things going. It's all about the small and consistent actions that can really get a habit to stick.
So join a popular challenge or create one of your own and get others to join with you! If it doesn't work out, that's okay too. You tried it out, discovered it wasn't your thing, and can move onto the next. I'm proud of you for trying.
4. Go to the Movies Alone
Wanna see the latest movie out in theaters? Go alone!
You get to watch what you want, when you want, and you don't even have to share the popcorn!
5. Create a Capsule Wardrobe
What's more satisfying than a carefully curated closet full of timeless pieces you adore?
Check out Courtney Carver's Project 333 to get started.
6. Organize Your Inboxes
They say there are two types of people: those who constantly reach inbox zero, or those with thousands of unopened e-mails. To the second type: do those ever-growing, ever-red-glowing badges not bother you?!
Unsubscribe, delete, and organize those e-mails into folders once and for all!
7. Go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride
I'd like to think of it as a great ending to the romcom that is my life: hair flawlessly blowing in the wind, in the arms of my newly-significant other, all while watching the sunset with a glass of wine in my hand as the scene fades to black. I mean, a girl can dream, right?
But realistically, it's probably gonna be me, my girlfriends, and a million other strangers in the basket because we're all too cheap to buy a private ride. Oh, and there's a Groupon for it, I'm sure.
8. Visit Banff in Alberta, Canada
I mean, seriously... Google is full of gorgeous photos of the place.
9. Visit a U.S. National Park
There's a reason these parks are protected, they are nothing short of beautiful!
Just remember to leave it better than you found it. :)
10. Pay for a Stranger's Meal
No strings, just kindness. Pay it forward.
11. Write and Send Thank You Notes
Yes, I'm talking handwritten, well-thought out snail mail to some of the people in your life. It's always a lovely surprise in the midst of their regularly scheduled bills and junk mail.
12. Start a Daily Gratitude Journal
Because no matter how horrible your day may have felt, there is always something good to find in it and to be thankful for.
It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Just grab a notebook and start writing. The two questions I ask myself each day are "What was good about today?" and "What do I look forward to tomorrow?" It's as simple as that.
13. Eat More Vegetables
Mama was right. They are good for you!
14. Get an Annual Physical
Did you know that your insurance would cover the cost of your copay for an annual check-up as well? Yeah, me neither. Until I heard those magic words: "Don't worry, we've got you covered.”
15. Wear Sunscreen Everyday
We're not getting any younger, so take care of the skin you're in and protect them from UV damage.
So grab that SPF 30 and lay it on thick!
16. Create a Morning Routine
It's not enough to just get up and go anymore because it just starts your day off on the wrong note. It doesn't even have to be an elaborate 3-hour ritual, but maybe something as simple as making your bed, listening to your favorite podcast, and enjoying your cup of coffee without having to rush out the door.
Plan as much as you can the night before (like your outfit and meals) and enjoy your slower, more intentional mornings.
17. Learn Basic Yoga Poses
It's about time to move beyond that oh-so-comfortable child's pose. Learn some new yoga poses to really strengthen your core and reach your optimal physical, spiritual and mental well-being.
18. Practice Consistent Meditation
They say just 10 minutes of meditation a day can improve your well-being and make you a happier, healthier you. But doing it regularly is hard. I mean, you try sitting still and thinking about absolutely nothing for 1 minute. It's really fucking hard!
But practice makes progress, and the benefits outweigh the initial difficulty. Plus, it's only 10 minutes a day. You’ve got time for that!
19. Explore Your Spirituality
What is the meaning of life? How do we live towards our highest potential? How can we serve others?
All great questions to explore, without having to necessarily bring religion into it.
20. Do an Advanced Health Care Directive
It helps to let others know of your values and wishes when it comes to your medical care while you are relatively healthy, in the event you are no longer able to express them later.
Check with you doctor's office for a copy you can complete, or download a form online specific to your state. Then make sure all your healthcare providers and family are aware that you have one.
21. Get House Plants
Yes, I've done the impossible and managed to kill not one, not two, but 6 air plants. But I'm not quite ready to accept defeat because I will become a plant mama!
22. Start an Herb Garden
Beautiful, and edible? What can get better than that?
23. Plant a Tree
I mean, they create the very air we breathe and improve the air quality overall.
So plant one, hug one, then hug yourself. It's well deserved.
24. Save an Emergency Fund
It puts you at ease, knowing that you are prepared for the unexpected and don't have to go further into debt in the event of an emergency.
Start small and work your way up to the first $1000. It's worth it, I promise!
25. Open a Roth IRA
Sure, they say the best time to invest was in the beginning of your 20s, but the second best time to start is now!
Take advantage of the tax-free growth and compound interest. Your future self will thank you.
26. Start a Business
Got a little side hustle going on? Sometimes you just need to call it what it is: a business, not a hobby, and start charging accordingly.
Know your worth. Then add taxes, shipping, handling, and contributions to your retirement. You just opened a new Roth IRA, after all.
27. "Unplug" From Electronic Devices for a Day
Be honest. When was the last time you went without your cell phone for a whole day? Mine was 18 years ago, and that's only because I didn't own a cell phone yet.
It will definitely be a struggle. I mean, what will you do when you're in line or when you need directions? Talk to people, notice your surroundings, emerge yourself in nature. Do what you need to in order to avoid your devices for just one day. You might find yourself feeling refreshed.
28. Go Stargazing
Yes, I'm telling you to stare at those big balls of gas in the night sky. They're beautiful.
29. Watch a Sunrise
Get caught up in the natural beauty of Earth and breathe in the beginning of a new day.
30. Always Follow Your Curiosity
It's something much more attainable than the pressure to identify your passion at this very instant and follow it. We were born curious beings, after all.
So question everything, step out of your comfort zone, and start following your curiosity, wherever that may take you.
P.S. It is completely okay if you don't get to everything on your list before you hit the big 3-0. Years later, I still have not been on a hot air balloon, but I am still following my curiosity, and that is what this was all about for me.