It’s quite hard to write a round-up for a year’s worth of action-packed-tivities! And takes perhaps a bit more effort than I’m willing to commit to, especially as life carries on with no shortage of amazing opportunities coming my way, and my responsibilities to life/work/home ever-present. It’s hard to say no – and I put my blog on the backburner for obvious reasons! Live life to the fullest – in real life! I am trying my best to live a content-rich life.
So my 30th birthday came and went in August without much fuss. As I’m not into big showy parties, we met with family for a lovely lunch at Mimi’s Bakehouse. I ordered a huge slice of cake and feasted.
Being the youngest of my circle of friends here in Edinburgh means I’ve been to a bunch of 30th birthday parties already. For Stuart’s we got a bouncy castle and had a BBQ and raced around a village hall in pantomime horse and zebra costumes. For some of our other friends, we went out for friends-meals and hired out rooms at clubs and went for epic 3-hour plus karaoke sessions. I suppose it’s been hard for me to imagine that turning 30 would ever happen to me, or have any significance.
So when I set out the 30-by-30 goals I wanted to achieve this year, I wasn’t sure how it’d make me feel or if I’d be pushed enough to even try. I wasn’t sure what I might learn or if my opinions would change.
I found the following in passing & thought it relevant: “-30- has been traditionally used by journalists to indicate the end of a story.” But I suppose it hasn’t really felt much like an end of a story, or even a beginning, but just more.
I set out to do the following things around September last year:
- Adventure! (go somewhere new)
- Apply for UK residency
- Buy a house
- Carpe diem (take opportunities when they come)
- Catch a fish
- Clock up 30hrs karaoke
- Cut 30lb
- Dine on coins
- Donate/bin 30 of my possessions
- Go to a music festival
- Grow my own garlic
- Learn German
- Learn to code
- Learn to do a two-finger whistle
- Learn to quilt
- Mommy&me vacation
- ‘Own’ my city (discover, explore)
- Ride in a helicopter
- Ride in a hot air balloon
- Ride more rollercoasters
- Run a race
- See the Northern Lights
- Take up archery
- Travel the UK by train
- Try all 30 flavors at Wings
- Try glass blowing
- Try Paleo
- Try silversmithing
- Wake up at 6am for 30days
- Write a poem a month (at least!)
Many of these things I did as personal tests (catch a fish, run a race, rollercoasters, two-finger whistle!, glassblowing) to push myself and continuously strive to learn new things.
Some I did to improve my well-being/detox/declutter my life (donate/bin 30 items, paleo, 6am starts)… I think it became clear that I often allow my life (how I eat, how I buy, my outlook, etc) to sort of tick over sometimes, instead of being an active participant. I wanted to try to be more conscious and present — to pay attention to myself, my body, and my immediate surroundings. I learned that a (life) clear-out is a good way to find clarity and perspective.
Some were big life goals (buying a house, applying for UK residency, seeing the Northern Lights!). [ps. Photo to the left is of the cookies we delivered to our new wonderful neighbors! So kind – they’ve given us flower bulbs, birdhouses, hand-lathed egg cups and more! I love my ‘hood.]
Others focused on investing in my friends/relationships (mommy&me vacation, dine on coins, Wings!, karaoke, music festival).
Some I started but didn’t finish, or didn’t manage to do, or often just decided weren’t important to me anymore… (silversmithing, German lessons, learning to code, quilting, …and the garlic was an utter disaster…).
But life goes on and I’m sure I’ll keep trying and tick a few of these things off. And it was interesting to see how my priorities changed to accommodate the new opportunities presented to me. German lessons/learning to code fell to the wayside as a Marketing course became available to me (through my work), for example. We tried to go to Alnwick by train; failed and then I only managed a train trip to Derby, even though I’d wanted to go to Cornwall and Dover and France and all sorts! Someday I suppose… But I realised that I’ll probably be a perpetually-juggling-projects type, with multiple craft/writing/sport activities on the go at the same time.
A few of the things I was *SO CLOSE* and will probably still write them up at some point, or at least wax nostalgic about them. I got to 28.5 hours of Karaoke! I wrote 12 poems! But most are rubbish and some months I managed multiple poems while others I couldn’t push myself to write anything (probably because I was glassblowing or riding helicopters…). I went to an AMAZING hot air balloon festival and saw 9 hot air balloons launch into the sky at the same time – it was breathtaking! But I did not ride in one.
I lost half of the 30lb doing paleo but then really questioned why I care so much about losing 30lb anyway (which would be unhealthy) when I’m happy with my appearance and am fit and generally eat well; I’ve been obsessive about my weight in the past and think it is (a discussion for another day but) not worth fixating on the trivial. But still! Close!
And some of the things on the list, I suppose were more ‘long shots’ that I fancied trying but discovered weren’t feasible in the time allotted (ie. take up archery). I think this just made me reflect on and re-prioritize my existing commitments. I love playing basketball (multiple nights a week) with my team; I’ve left off attending (so many!) poetry events to free myself up already; and I am now so guarded with my precious, precious time. Although I am still keen to say ‘yes’ to every opportunity, I think I’m a lot more mindful now of how (or who) I’d rather be spending my time (with).
But I think I found the ‘general’ activities the most satisfying: Adventure!, Own my city, Carpe Diem. The whole year was an adventure. I think this list gave me a fun focus and pushed me to take more risks, prioritize, say ‘yes’ to the right projects, and push myself (when perhaps I’ve let myself lie fallow for too long). Looking back, I still can’t believe I learned bee-keeping this year, or did so many little (but meaningful!) charity events, or cut/donated my hair!, or got pet chickens! I became a First Aider at work, took a marketing course (professional certificate), and I can’t believe we saw the Northern Lights! I think mostly, this set of goals hasn’t affected my mentality so much as encouraged me to reflect more – to note and appreciate the very rich and full life I am so fortunate to have – and reminded me to open my eyes, explore, and go for it.
It’s been an AMAZING year, and an amazing transition into my next decade.
Kei Miller, The Cartographer Tries To Map A Way To Zion
Jen Hadfield, Byssus
Colette Bryce, The Full Indian Rope Trick
Harry Giles, Visa Wedding
John Hegley, Peace, Love & Potatoes
Helen Mort, Division Street
Wendy Cope, Family Values
Wislawa Szymborska, People on a Bridge
Audiobooks: Maze Runner (Bk 1 & 2), Thinking Fast & Slow, Abhorsen trilogy (Sabriel). And Serial! Take it you’re all already listening to this amazing podcast?
Kate Boy – Self Control
Ryn Weaver – Promises
Years & Years – Take Shelter and Desire
Calvin Harris feat. Ellie Goulding – Outside
Clean Bandit – Real Love
Lykke Li – No Rest For The Wicked
Echosmith – Cool Kids
Sykes – Gold Dust
Banks – Drowning
Reckon it’s about time for my year-end round-up so keep your eyes peeled for that in the near future. But until then – go big or go home!