In three days, I'll be entering the last year of my twenties. In three days, I'll be only 365 days away from the big three-oh. Crazy! As always, I'm thrilled to be celebrating my birthday (I'm a big fan of festivities!), and this year my celebrations have an added bonus: recapping the list I put together last August of the 28 things I wanted to do before I turned 29. As someone who strives to be present, looking back isn't something I encourage myself to do often, but I feel like birthdays are one of those rare occasions when it's beneficial to look back on the past year and contemplate the progress made.
As I settled down to review the 28 Things to Do Before I Turn 29 list, I was flooded with a rush of warm memories from the past 12 months. So much has happened -- it's been one of those "big" years -- and I feel content with where I am in my life. I have a lot to be proud of and a lot to be excited for -- and what could be better than that? As I contemplated the wish list I had for last year, I realized how thankful I was to have it. I was grateful that I'd taken the time to think about the things I wanted over the year (a year-long vision board of sorts) and I was also grateful that I now had something I could reflect on as I recalled the year I was 28.
Instead of hazy memories and a vague sense of accomplishment, I had a tangible list (taped near my desk, complete with items I'd crossed out as I accomplished them) I could review, making it easier not only to recall some of the fun times from the year before, but also to see exactly what I had (or, in some cases, hadn't) accomplished over the past year. Doing the recap of the list was both fun and productive, giving me a sense of pride at what I'd done -- and the thrill of knowing I could create a whole new list for this new year of my life. Here's what I discovered when I took a closer look at all the crossed-off items on my list:
The Recap : 28 Things to Do Before Turning 29
1. Write a new short story (fiction!). The piece I wrote isn't my favorite piece of work, but I'm glad that I got back into fiction writing. // 2. Visit the Kandinsky art exhibit. Checked it out last August and loved it. What a talented and inspiring artist! // 3. Discover amazing new music every Monday. Discovered so many new artists on Urban Outfitters and found monthly free songs on Amazon. Yay! // 4. Cover my wall with my own art. Maybe not covered, but I added a few more pieces and it makes me happy to see my own creations on our walls. // 5. Volunteer at an animal shelter. I served the committee for my local animal shelter's annual gala and I loved it so much that I'm doing it again in 2012. // 6. Eat more fruits + veggies. Still a work-in-progress, but I've been doing much better this summer with help of my boyfriend's new healthy eating habits! // 7. Visit Portland, OR + ask about Portlandia. Got laughed at for asking locals about Portlandia, but feel head-over-heels for Portland. Love it and can't wait to go back someday. // 8. Learn how to take great photos with my DSLR. I don't know if my photos are in the "great" category yet, but I've definitely improved and I've actually found that using my iPhone camera has helped my skills as well. // 9. Get something (an article?) published. My first published article, "Living in the Moment," was featured in Life + Dog. Yay! // 10. Keep adding money to my savings. Did an amazing job of this until I left my full-time job and had to start digging into them -- but that's what all the saving was for! // 11. Summit an entry to Postsecret. Can't tell you what I sent in, but I dropped it in the mail this year and it felt good to send my secret out into the world. // 12. Take Bella for more walks. I'm walking her quite often these days and I'm trying to really enjoy the time I have left with her. // 13. Make this cool art for my apartment. This didn't turn out as cool as I'd hoped (perhaps it was my lack of patience...), but I had fun making it. // 14. Stop watching so much TV. I cut my DVR-recording list in half, but I still find myself watching way more TV than I'd like. Adding this one to this year's list! // 15. Read at least 50 books on my list. I've read 67 books since August 2011. Woohoo for reading! // 16. Make a digital scrapbook. I didn't actually do this, but I think Instagram counts. It's a scrapbook of my life! // 17. Finish reading + be inspired by The Spark Kit. The kit was absolutely inspiring, as was The Fire Starter Sessions. So empowering! // 18. Make these polaroid magnets. I made these for myself (and for my sis too!). Really loved this project. // 19. Say "I love you" more often. Hmmm... Not so sure if I did very well on this one. It's still something I need to work on. // 20. Learn to sell on Etsy + Ebay. Etsy? No. Ebay? Yes. Didn't love it, but I mastered it! // 21. Create a book with my Instagram photos. I created one for my parents instead -- but I ended up making some stickers for my holiday cards. // 22. Finish + share my ebook. Successfully launched Live Happily Ever After Now. So happy with it and the positive feedback it received! // 23. Plan a trip to visit my cousin in Hawaii. Funds being what they are, I haven't planned this yet. Maybe in 2012/2013! // 24. Make a new vision board. I just did this one recently + was very pleased with the results. // 25. Organize my art + wrapping supplies. Finally did this! Here's how it turned out. I'm in love with my craft cart! // 26. Participate in this Photo Challenge. Not only did I do this challenge, but I also created Gratitude, Christmas, and 365 Photo projects of my own. Photos really help me stay present and mindful. // 27. Find an incredible Halloween costume. I found not one, but two -- this Elf costume + this ringmaster costume. // 28. Be more positive + present (of course!). Always a work-in-progress, but feel good about the progress I've made over the past year.
The past year has been one of my best. Though I didn't cross everything off of my list, I'm pretty proud of how I've spent the last 365 days. Most of the things I wanted to do, I accomplished. And I did a couple of other pretty cool things too like: quitting my job to start writing full time, finishing the draft of my book (can't wait to share it with you all!), publishing my first workbook, becoming a Google Search Expert (nerd alert!), discovering amazingness on Pinterest (love that site!), seeing a lot of my favorite artists perform live, getting my first full-size Christmas tree (which made me feel very grown up!), and trying out meditation, just to name a few. It's been a very exciting year -- and I have a feeling that this next one's going to be just as thrilling!
I'm looking forward to this next year -- the last year of my twenties! -- and it was fun to spend time thinking about the things I want to accomplish before I launch myself into the next decade of my life. Here are the 29 things I hope to do before I turn 30:
Creating my wish list last year made me realize how much I really enjoy having a checklist, a motivator helping me to do the things I might want to do but might need a little push to get started on, and I can't wait to get started on this next list. If you don't have a list of your own, I'd recommend creating one. It doesn't have to be as long as the ones I've created (even a list with a handful of things can help push you to do what you've been wanting to do), but it should be filled with things that will make you feel happy, productive, and inspired.
What do you want to do before your next birthday?
I'd love to hear what's on your wish list!