Last year for my birthday, inspired by my friend Rosie and others, I made a list of 25 things I wanted to do before I turned 26. My birthday is tomorrow (happy debt ceiling default to me! JK GUYS PLEASE NO), so I thought I'd take a look back.
I didn't plan to complete every last item on the list, and I never looked at it in a Type A way. The year flowed naturally, in its own way, making space for many of these hopes, and setting others aside for now (/I forgot or didn't feel moved to do them). For a few, especially some of the more overarching mental ones, it feels like I fall in between. And that's cool, too.
Regardless of the outcome, it was a really fun practice that I'll be doing again this year. So stay tuned!
25 THINGS TO DO BEFORE I TURN 26:
Continue to write my morning pages.
Be intentional with my time.
Take a photography class. I took one at the National Whitewater Center in April. Really neat day.
Begin building writing and photography portfolios.
Get a library card. Next step: Using it much more!
Read 25 new books. Okay, so I've fully read only 21. But I have 2 that I'm working on (In the Garden of Beasts by Larson and Traveling Mercies by Lamott), one that I'm planning to get this week, and a big old wedding planning book. So let's just go with close enough to 25. Here they are! (* indicates those I highly recommend.)
*On Writing - KingWrite for NaNoWriMo. I didn't finish, but I did write quite a lot! Mainly used it as a jumping off point for free writing.
*The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - Joyce
Proof of Heaven - Alexander
*Major Pettigrew's Last Stand - Simonsen
*Daring Greatly - Brown
*I Was Told There'd Be Cake - Crosley
Shaped By the Word - Mulholland
*A Jane Austen Education - Deresiewicz
The Pig Comes to Dinner - Caldwell
*The Forgotten Affairs of Youth - A. McCall Smith
My Jane Austen Summer - Jones
Downton Abbey Season 1 Scripts - Fellowes
*The Memoir Project - M. Roach Smith
*Still Life - Penny
*A Year of Biblical Womanhood - Evans
Water for Elephants - Gruen
*Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? - Kaling
*Beautiful Ruins - Walter
The Fire of the Word - Webb
A Testament of Devotion - Kelly
Adulting - Brown
Write morning prayers as a devotional practice.
A 3-year-old co-writing/editing project: either complete it, or let it go.
Get an online subscription to The New York Times.
Cultivate deeper self-compassion. (And when I struggle, explore why.) I can't quite explain why, but I feel better here. I think that School of the Spirit, having an accountability partner, emailing my best friend with prayer requests each week, bloggers/mentors like Rosie Molinary & Mara Glatzel, my family and my friends have all helped me work on this, perhaps even when they did not realize it.
Pull out of my ruts of cynicism. (And when I struggle, explore why.)
Redesign my blog. You're looking at it! Such a satisfying venture.
Gain at least one significant mentor for my writing. Several, actually.
Go camping/to the mountains. Yes!
Go on an out-of-town adventure with my boy. Knoxville, Asheville, Jacksonville, New Orleans, Panama City Beach, Seattle, Portland, DC, the mountains...
Begin planning a trip out of the country.
Champion a feasible reunion with my friends from Study Abroad.
Try out new recipes. Sweet potato turnovers, recipes from The Acid Reflux Solution, open-faced turkey sandwiches with sauteed spinach, strawberry shortcake French toast, pasta with yogurt, peas and chile, scrambled eggs with leeks and pasta sauce...
Find and use a dining room table.
Host a dinner party at my house.
Make or find someone to make a youth group t-shirt quilt. My dear friend Kady (from youth group, of course) is working on it, specifically because she saw this on my blog. Please do yourself a favor and go check out her amazing craft blog. She is so talented!
Create 5 original pieces of art.
Walk to work 5 times.
Push myself to swim one mile.
Be aware of my health. Sometimes I'm too aware (like in a Woody Allen hypochondriac kind of way), but overall I think I've done well with this, and made strides in areas that need work.
Accumulate $x in savings. Okay, I wrote this number down somewhere but I'm too lazy to find it right now. Overall, I'm satisfied with how saving is going.
Choose what graduate school degree I'd like to pursue, and begin exploring options. For most of the year, I didn't plan for this one to happen. In fact, I un-planned for it a good bit. But since then, heart and mind and timing (and encouragement!) have aligned, so here I go. I'll share more about this as it (hopefully) falls into place.
In the meantime...
Bring on 26!