TIME TO TURN 30!
On Friday, I'll be turning the big 3-0! Even though it's just another birthday, there's always something exciting about launching a new decade. It feels like a clean slate, a fresh start. Like turning to a new chapter in the book of your life. And, as anyone who has turned 30 probably already knows, there's something about this decade that feels different. It's the first "adult" decade (in my opinion); the first time you might grapple with not wanting to be the age that you are; the first time you realize that, wow, this is your adult life.
My twenties were tumultuous and terrific, filled with love and loss, listlessness and life lessons. In my twenties, I graduated college and grad school, moved across America and back again, fell in and out and in love, lost and found friends, got drunk and got (3+ years!) sober, put to rest two of my best friends (Pooky and Bella, whose pawprints still linger on my heart), wrote and read and wrote some more, cried and laughed and danced and tripped over my own two feet. I made a lot of mistakes, but I made a lot of progress too. While there are certainly some things I would undo if I could, I can look back on my twenties with a sense of gratitude. Many of those years were tough, but all of them added up to a pretty damn good decade.
And the last year of that decade was not too shabby. If you've been reading Positively Present for awhile, you'll probably recall the list I put together last August: 29 Things To Do Before I Turn 30. For the past few years, I've been putting together these lists in hope of making the most of the year to come. And by posting them here, I found myself much more accountable for checking them off than I would have had I simply jotted them down in my notebook. To keep up that accountability, let's take a look at the recap for this year's list...
29 THINGS BEFORE 30 RECAP
1. Publish + sell my books. Yes! Stay Positive came out this year and I just signed my first book deal, a few short days before my 30th birthday! // 2. Go horseback riding. I was a little nervous to get back in the saddle, but I did it! // 3. Throw a bangin' baby shower. It turned out to be quite a success (see photos here on Pinterest). // 4. Travel solo with my BF. We'd never gone on a trip just the two of us, but we made it happen in Disneyland this spring. // 5. Learn how to meditate. Totally failed on this one. Maybe in my 30s... // 6. Read at least 50 books. I read 85 books in 2012 and 75 in 2013 so I think I've exceeded my own expectations. Check them out on GoodReads! // 7. Make 1 Pinterest craft per month. I didn't quite do 12 crafts, but I got pretty close with 9. // 8. Create a stellar media kit. Indirectly took care of this one as I was prepping for my book deal! // 9. Help my mom sell on eBay. // 10. Make more moola. Done and done. Now I just need to keep bringing it in... // 11. Express gratitude more often. I've done my best to tell those I love how thankful I am for them. I'm a lucky girl! // 12. Volunteer + help animals. // 13. Enjoy my time with Bella. It was heartbreaking to lose my beloved Bella this year, but I made the most of every single moment I had with her. And now I'm making the most of my time with this crazy pup! // 14. Watch less reality TV. Yeah... I don't know what to say about this one. The shows are just too good! // 15. Scan + file old photos. I snagged a ton of family photos from my parents' house and scanned them. So happy to have them safe in the computer! // 16. See a great concert (or many!). I made it to quite a few amazing shows this year, including: Tegan & Sara (twice!), fun., Taylor Swift, The Killers, and Dispatch! // 17. Quit my RedBull habit. I managed to stop drinking them for a few months, but I can't lie: I'm back at it. And I love it. Maybe some habits aren't meant to be broken... // 18. Rid my life of useless items. I've still got quite a few things I could get rid of, but I've donated tons of clothes, books, DVDs, and dog toys and it feels awesome. // 19. Go picking at an antique store. Did this and quite enjoyed it. How could I not when I uncovered two Sweet Valley High hardback books?! // 20. Visit the Smithsonian Museum. It was awesome to check this out. Look at these animals! // 21. Create a Project Life album. I had so much fun working on this! Does the fact that I heart scrapbooking mean I'm officially old? // 22. Practice InDesign + Photoshop. With the help of the awesome Nicole's Classes (I took 12 of them!), I've worked on InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator—and I'm more than a little obsessed with all of these Adobe products. // 23. See David Sedaris speak. Funny man David Sedaris can crack me up like no one else and it was amazing to see him give a talk just across the street from where I live! // 24. Celebrate 3 years sober. // 25. Do one adventurous thing. Adventure isn't really my strongest point, but I ! // 26. Send more snail mail. Not only did I start sending more cards and letters, I also started making them myself which has been super fun. // 27. Start wearing my jewelry. I haven't really stepped up my jewelry-wearing game, but I do wear my Bella (and now matching Barkley!) necklace every single day. // 28. See A Christmas Carol. Saw it again for the first time since I was a kid and it was awesome. // 29. Organize my memory boxes. This is always a work-in-progress, but I did get a lot done this year.
I didn't get everything on my list crossed off, but I'd say I did pretty well. And now it's time not only for a new year, but a new decade! Even though it's just another day on the calendar, August 23, 2013 will be a bit momentous in my life, as it signals the start of this new decade—a decade that's both a little scary and a little exciting. Of course, as the day has grown closer, I've been thinking more and more about what it means to be 30 (if, in fact, it means anything different at all!) and, even more so, I've been thinking about what I want my 30s to be like.
This year, instead of going for a list of things I want to do, I'm going for a single word I want to embody. And the word is... FUN.
WORD OF THE YEAR
Yes, my word of the year is fun. It might seem a little silly, even frivolous, but there's a method behind my madness. As silly as having fun sounds, it's actually pretty serious business. And it's essential to living a positively present life. Like most people, I don't really make having fun a priority. I want to be productive, get things done, move on to the next task. I want to work on my relationships and work on myself. But all of that working on things doesn't leave a lot of room for actually enjoying life—which is really what I'm getting at with all this talk of fun.
Fun is that which provides enjoyment, and I don't think I'm getting enough enjoyment out of life. Sure, I have some fun moments and do some fun things, but I've realized that there's a lot more potential for funness. You know those people who seem to have fun no matter where they are, no matter what they're doing? Yeah, I'm never going to be one of those people—but I'm sure going to try. Here's why I think fun is so important and why I'm making it a priority for me this year.
FUN PROMOTES POSITIVE THINKING.
When you're having a good time, you're paying attention to the positive aspects of a situation. Likewise, when you're seeking fun, you do so by looking for the ways you can make the most of a moment. The more the focus is on fun, the more positive thoughts will be pushed to the forefront of your mind.
FUN CREATES EUSTRESS.
Eustress is that good stress feeling you get when you finish a project or ride a roller coaster. It's that kind of stress that makes you feel alive and excited—and the more fun you have, the more eustress you have. I'm going for a lot of eustressful situations this year!
FUN BUILDS BETTER RELATIONSHIPS.
Sure, you can build relationships by communicating and such, but having fun is another great way to build better relationships with friends and loved ones. No matter what you're doing, if you're with someone you enjoy, you can make the activity fun. All you need is a little imagination and an open mind.
FUN KEEPS YOU HEALTHY.
Fun can increase your eustress, but it can also decrease your regular, bad stress. Just think about the last time you had fun. You weren't thinking about your worries or your to-do list. You were in the moment, enjoying your time, and, as a result, you were less stressed. And less stress equals better health!
FUN KEEPS YOU IN THE NOW.
When you're having fun, you're in the moment. You're focused not on what's next, but on what's now. The more fun you're having, the more present you'll be because you're not longing to move on to the next task or event. Making things fun isn't always easy, but having fun makes it easy to stay in the moment.
Fun has its fair share of benefits (in addition to just being plain awesome), and I'm looking forward to making it a priority this year. Now, this doesn't mean I'm just going to be goofing around, doing only the things I enjoy. It means I'm going to make the most of the moments I have and try my hardest to make them fun. If I focus on finding the fun, I have a feeling that everything (even the things I dread doing!) will be more enjoyable. I might be a little apprehensive about this new decade, but I'm going to do my best to make the most of it and make it fun.
If you're on the verge of 30 (or in your 30s), you might enjoy some of these resources I've come across in the past few months...
RESOURCES FOR 30-SOMETHINGS: