Yep. It’s time to admit it. I’m old. I never thought I’d be old. When I was 14, we had a trainee teacher come in and he was 25. Whoa, I thought, that’s crazy old. I wondered what I would be like at 25, and found it unimaginable; just too far-fetched.
Today I turn 29 (whaddya know, there is life after 25 after all!). Yep, just one away from the big three-oh. I think the main things I’ve been dreading about this day are that 1) my online dating profile will automatically change my age to 29, the age which reeks of desperation (some women have this internal deadline to get hitched by 30), and 2) I won’t be able to say “I’m only 28” anymore, because “I’m only 29” just sounds ridiculous. (It’s already hurt me enough I have to check a whole new check box in survey forms now.)
Okay, okay, I know I’m probably the one that’s being ridiculous. All of my friends have successfully celebrated their 29th birthdays and no one seemed to be making a big deal out of it except me, always the late baby of the bunch.
But as always, being probably also the most drama one of the bunch, I just had to go read all those “Absolutely Must Do Before You’re 30” lists splattered all over the internet. I figured I’d just steal a couple of points from here and there and use it as my own list. This proved to be a little more difficult than I thought, considering stuff like “Go on a road trip”, “Travel alone for once”, “Try meditation class”, “Make friends with a random stranger”, “Hook up with someone at a music festival”, “Swim with sharks”, and stuff like that, I’ve already done.
For some of the other stuff, well, I’m not that interested in growing a plant, am not around enough to have a dog, and I can’t quite skip (some rather important) steps and decide to have a baby.
Still, I intend to use the next 365 days before I turn 30 to the fullest. So I’m compiling my own list from scratch, with stuff that’s really important to me and only me. I thought maybe I’d do 10 (nobody wants to read so much anyway), but I decided I’d challenge myself. 30 in 365 to 30. Wish me luck!
I know. I’ve tried to do this for years. YEARS! This time it will happen. Anyone want to volunteer to help me? I will pay by the hour. The JD is simple: Just sit next to me and watch me clear stuff. Prod me if I’m taking too long being sentimental while going through old stuff. Cough loudly when you catch me trying to hold on to things that are very clearly junk. Offer to take things off me so I will feel my items are going to good hands and not the trash.
2. Set up a home
I’ve been living in the same place for a while, and it was once a home, but since then, it became just a place to stay, and of late, a place to unpack and re-pack my backpack for the next trip. I’ll admit it: I’d like to come home to something out of an IKEA catalogue.
3. Throw a housewarming party
This will force me to do #1 and #2, because otherwise, you guys ain’t gonna have no place to sit.
4. Meet up with friends more
One thing about being away so much, is I really come to miss my friends. Facebook just doesn’t cut it; I crave human interaction. ME. WANT. FRIENDS. *nom nom nom nom* (Oh wait, friends are friends, not food.)
5. Save money
This part’s gonna be hard being funemployed now, but when I do go back to work, I want to continue my habit of living minimally the way I did before this big trip, and save as much as I possibly can without having to resort to surviving on bread and water every day – and still having a social life.
6. Cook for friends
I’d like to cook more. And I’d like to meet up with friends more. And I’d like to save money more. This seems to be the best way to do all of the above!
7. Sleep early
This is a toughie. It happened for a while in very rural Nepal where everyone sleeps by 9pm and wakes up at 5am. When I’m back home I seem to sleep at 5am and wake up at 1pm instead. That’s absolutely dreadful. Time to force myself to be more responsible about my body getting the rest it needs.
8. Wake up in the morning
See #7. I need to establish a morning routine. Wake up, wash up, shower, have breakfast, read news, that kinda thing.
9. Get in shape
My weight has been fluctuating like a bunny on acid while travelling. These days, where I can get a delicious authentic Italian lasagne for 5 bucks, it’s hard to say no to good food. I’d like to have some time to get this in order, meaning eat healthily and get active. Like run. Even if it bores me to death.
10. Climb something
While we’re on the topic of getting active. Maybe not quite Everest, but maybe a little peak. Just a teensy tiny little one?
11. Defy gravity
For a while. Maybe skydive, maybe paraglide, maybe zipline. Just not bungee-jump. Anything but bungee-jump.
12. Celebrate something somewhere else
Well, today’s my birthday, and I’m in Pokhara. Check. Also, upcoming Christmas and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s will be on the road too. Check, check and check! One down, 29 more to go.
13. Go to something big somewhere else
Like Burning Man, or Carnival, or Comic-Con, or Oktoberfest, or Songkran, or Rang de Holi. Something, somewhere.
14. Visit friends in other countries
What’s better than travelling with friends? Visiting friends who live overseas. Not only will I get to spend time with people I’ve not seen in a long time, I’ll also get to experience their lives and their culture and their loved ones.
15. Travel with someone special
Yeah, like, you know. Someone special. I’m not gonna define this term. The looser it is, the higher the probability I will fulfill this. You know you are all special to me, right? [gives self points for trying]
16. Date somebody
For real. ‘Nuff said.
17. Define my rulebook
Sadly, I’m not 18 anymore. I need to have some rules to govern my own life by. I need a rulebook. With rules and regulations and no-can-do’s and I-will-not-tolerate’s. Mama’s gotta realise she’s growing up. [insert sad face]
18. Appoint some guardians in my life
Nobody can do it alone. I’m gonna need a few really good friends whom I can rely on to knock some sense into me when they think I need it. They are the people I’m gonna trust to keep me on track.
19. Go to church
Not necessarily a particular church, and not regularly. I mean just go every now and then to remind myself that I am here because of God’s love and to be humbled by it, and renew my resolution to continually strive to become a better person.
Actually this should read: Do some work that solely benefits others. I feel like ‘volunteering’ these days has become more about what we can get out of it (personal satisfaction, sense of accomplishment that you’re doing good) than actually helping others. I want to volunteer my time, effort, expertise, whatever I can, doing things to help others.
21. Take a course
It’s time to go back to school! It’s been a year since I last was enrolled in a school, and frankly, this entire year has felt kinda funny-weird. Like something’s missing. I’m itching to learn.
22. Learn to play a musical instrument
I’m bad at this. There’s a reason why I’ve never been able to learn to play the guitar, piano or even the recorder. But I know it will only serve to make my songwriting so much better. I can take the entire year to start to learn, right? I don’t have to be good at it before I’m 30… *twiddles thumbs* Okay, that’s it, I’m throwing in there “And/or sing”. I’ll either learn to play something, or take up vocal lessons.
23. Learn a new dance
When people ask me what kind of dance I do, I say, “Bollywood, exotic, K-pop, ballet, Zumba…” and people follow with, “Salsa? Bachata? Ballroom?” And I go, “Er, no.” I’ve never done any partner dances before. I don’t know why. Maybe because I prefer to use dance as a means of expressing myself on my own, and not so much with somebody else. It’s a personal thing. Maybe we should change that. Or maybe, I should try something else entirely, like pole.
24. Upload my portfolio
I do good work. Not comparing myself to others and feeling discouraged, I think I do good work. And the world should know I am capable of doing good work. I really should stop putting this off.
25. Make name cards
I meet so many people all the time, it’s a little embarrassing I don’t have name cards. Yeah they might be a bitch to carry around especially while travelling, but gosh are they useful! I’ve received quite a few on my trips and it’s nice to be able to stay in touch (especially if you can’t add each other on Facebook right away). Also, this goes hand in hand with #20 and #24. Having a list of things I can do on the name cards will open me up to opportunities in which I can do good work to help others.
26. Read a book
Yes, I am ashamed to admit that I have not read a book in god-knows-how-long. Partially because words on a page can never hold my attention long enough (except when I’m writing them, the hypocrisy!). But I think it’s mainly because I haven’t been reading the right books that interest me enough. I think I’ve found a genre I like now, and I’ve also purchased a Kindle, so I hope to be reading a lot more this year. At least ONE book.
27. Write a book
It doesn’t have to be published. I’ve just always wanted to write a book. I’ve known long ago that writing books isn’t really my thing. I hate descriptive text, like a whole paragraph on how quaint the square in Prague is, or just exactly what tinge of orange-brown the autumn was, and frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn. Also, my vocabulary isn’t good enough. I don’t know 54 ways of saying “he said”. But you know what? If Erika Leonard could do it, then I think I can.
28. Get certified to teach something
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I don’t think making a mid-career switch to becoming a full-fledge teacher is in the pipeline, so maybe I’ll start small. But at least, it’s a start.
29. Share knowledge with others
I don’t claim to know a lot. But I can say I have a fair amount of life experience. I’ve learnt many, many lessons in life. And I know I have something to say. And I know I’d like to share what I know with others. I will find a way to do this. Or hey, there’s always this blog.
30. Hug more