It’s so weird to me to be turning 29. Some days I still feel like I’m 25 and never going to get any older and some days it feels like I’m on the verge of 90. It’s safe to say I thought my life would be very different by now to be totally honest. Not better or worse, just… different.
Then again I don’t think I’ve ever really had any set expectations for what my life would turn out to be like. My big picture goals always remain, but how I get there is constantly changing.
The thing about going into my last year of my 20s is that it feels like the last chance to do all the things I should have done in my 20s. I mean I did the big things; worked hard to get the career I wanted, traveled. Everyone always says I was born 30 and I’m too old for my age. And now I look back and kind of feel like I deserve a last shot at my 20s.
So in the next year before I turn 30, I’m going to check off my 30 Before 30 list. Some of the list are things I wish I’d done more of in my 20s and some things are about who I want to be a year from now. At the end of the day it’s all about being a better person and the kind of person your dog thinks you are.
1. Worry less
I spend way too much time worrying. Will I do enough to earn a promotion? Will I have enough money to retire before 100? Will that guy ever text me? Will anyone besides my mom read my blog? Why would I put all that effort into worrying about possibilities when I can actually do something to make it happen with that energy.
2. Call My Friends
We are talking pick up the phone and call them like we used to in junior high. If I’m being honest here, I’m so over texting. I mean it’s great when you can’t really pick up the phone and call, but you can’t have a whole relationship via text. So much gets lost in translation and it’s easy to forget to respond.
3. Do Something That Scares You
It doesn’t matter what age you are, you should be doing something that scares you every single day.
4. Learn A New Language
OK, I’m not going to learn an entire new language in a year; that seems like an aggressive goal. But for the past 3 years I’ve said I would learn French because I fell in love with France and also because I just desperately wish I were a Parisian girl. So when I am in France next I’ll know when they’re making fun of my Midwest American accent. Instead of putting it off time and time again, I’m starting this year. It also helps that I learned I live down the street from an actual French school, so it feels lazy to not do it at this point.
5. Find a Cause
There are so many wonderful causes to support and imagine how much better the world would be if we all picked one, JUST ONE, and did something. Even just donating to help. The older I get the more I think about how lucky and grateful I am to have so much. I’ve always donated to a few causes each year, but lately I’ve felt like there’s more I could do. This is the year of doing more.
6. Host A Dinner Party for Friends
I love dinner parties! There are not enough dinner parties in my life. I picture myself as Ina and Ina is always having dinner parties. More Ina & dinner parties this year.
7. Do Something You Never Thought You’d Do
I don’t know anyone who got anywhere by only doing what they’d done before. There’s something to be said for the feeling of excitement at doing you said you’d never do.
8. Take a Cooking Class
One of my favorite things is to cook. I learned pretty much everything I know from my wonderful Grandma Bunny who was one of the best cooks to ever live. Growing up I spent as much time as possible at her house and we’d either cook and bake or we’d watch Ina or Julia together. I still love to cook and try to only eat out once or twice a week. Something I’d love to do more is take more cooking classes.
9. Write a Letter to Myself at 39
Don’t you ever think back to who you were 2, 5, 10 years ago? I always wish I knew what my hopes and goals were for myself then. What would 19 year old Tracy have said to me? Probably along the lines of girl I pray we have any job. I mean it was 2008, things were not great then. I also think I expected less from life then. So I have to spend some time thinking about what I’d want to say to 39 me.
10. Learn to Really Love My Body
When I first started putting this list together one of my obvious choices was get in the best shape of my life. But when you really think about saying things like get in shape or start a diet or make a lifestyle change, what you’re saying is I want to love my body. Whether you’re unhappy with how you look or you just want to be more toned or eat better, it’s about getting to a place where you are comfortable in your skin.
I remember climbing 10,456 stairs a day in Santorini and for the first time truly thinking to myself I am so grateful for this body I get to do life in. It has taken me all over the world and so many places to come. I spend so much time thinking about how much I hate the little things; I wish my stomach was flatter, I wish my arms were toned, whyyyyy do stretch marks exist??? You don’t have time to worry about these stupid things when you’re busy living life. The goal isn’t to lose 40 pounds or cut out carbs. It’s about finding exercise that I love doing and eating foods that are good for my body but also foods that are good for my soul (like cheese fries). If I’m learning anything this year, it’s that there’s no happiness in perfect.
11. Document Something Every Day
I love taking photos and I tend to take thousands of them. But sometimes I get nervous to take photos or videos. I don’t know why it’s such a stupid anxiety. But I love having the memories. I downloaded the One Second a Day app to capture one second of video every day of the year. So you can look back at the whole year in 365 seconds.
12. Go To More Concerts
This is sort of odd, but I have been to maybe 4 concerts in my life. I don’t even have a really good excuse other than that I just love being at home. Also concerts are expensive. But I love live music and I also love dancing so it probably makes no sense.
13. Take A Road Trip
When was the last time you got in the car and just drove? No real destination, no real plans. I never take the time to see anything near St. Louis because I’m always excited to get off to a new city. I want to see more of where I live.
14. Celebrate Treat Yo Self Day
Because I think we all deserve to dedicate a day to nothing but caring for ourselves. It can be a shopping spree, spa day, or just laying on the couch in pajamas eating whatever you want. Self care is uniquely yours.
15. Perfect My Homemade Pancake Recipe
I realized not so long ago, that I make very mediocre pancakes. And in that moment I (somewhat irrationally) thought I could never have guests stay over, I have nothing to offer them. If you just thought “but your self-worth isn’t based on homemade pancakes” then please leave now I don’t know how you found yourself on this website. I can’t turn 30 not knowing how to make homemade pancakes for house guests.
16. Look at My Phone Less
I find myself looking at my phone way too frequently these days. I rely so heavily on my phone for not only my job, but the blog. Between e-mails, social media, and photos I feel like I can spend an entire day on it. I’m just tired of it. This year less phone, more time in the moment.
17. Go To Paris…again
I love Paris so much. I can’t believe it’s been 4 years since I was there. It’s one of those cities where you can walk forever and still not see a fraction. I could spend an entire day just strolling or sitting in Jardin du Luxembourg. Not to mention I have a special 30th birthday present to pick up for myself on Rue Cambon.
18. Spend more time on hobbies
Why are we the generation of no hobbies? I’ve always loved photography and I’ve loved having the chance to capture so many travels. Last year I started doing watercolor after years of drooling over my friend Whitney’s paintings and have loved it. I find having something to do for no reason whatsoever is so relaxing.
19. Say Yes More
I am a known plan canceller. If turning down plans were a professional sport, I’d be the Serena Williams. I love to stay home. I love to snuggle on the couch with Chuck. But I’m starting to get to the point in life where I feel like I’m missing out on these great relationships with my friends. I love having people to talk to and to support and have support me. Having friends is the best, why do we cancel on each other? More yes this year.
20. And Learn to Say No
I’m a classic people pleaser when it comes to work. I never want to turn down an opportunity because what if it’s the thing that gets me to the next thing. I’m starting to learn that if you say no to one thing, another great thing will come along. You’ll get where you’re meant to be, the path may just look different. There is no reason to say yes to everything out of fear or the need to please someone else. Learning when to say no is one of my biggest goals this year.
21. Make a chocolate soufflé
I live in abundant fear of the chocolate soufflé. I can bake pretty much anything, but just the idea of this gives me anxiety. I will not turn 30 with the fear of deflating a soufflé in my heart.
22. Read 1 Book A Month
I love reading, but the past year has been filled with reading only investment related everything. My brain needs a break. Sadly last year I only read 5-6 books, which is an insanely small amount of books for someone with an apartment filled with books.
23. Stop Holding Grudges
In no way does this do any good. It hurts only you. Letting go of the negative gives your mind the peace it needs to move on with life.
24. Spend More Time Outside
Every Summer I go on and on about how happy I am that it’s warm and how I spend as much time outside as possible. I never take Summer for granted and in Winter I remind myself to spend as much time as possible outside. I don’t mean spend more time outside like go pitch a tent and become “outdoorsy”. No thanks. I mean walk to meet friends for dinner, have a picnic and read outside, or go on long walks with Chuck.
25. Complain Less
Lately I’ve been incredibly self aware of how much I’ve been complaining. It’s one of my least favorite traits in myself. Let’s be honest though, we all need a good bitch sesh now and then. But I’m done with the day to day complaints. Big problems only from now on and no complaining without solutions.
26. Do Something Spontaneous
If you know me, spontaneous is the opposite of everything I am. I love a plan. I live for a plan. I yearn for plans. Less plans, more excitement.
27. Do More Yoga
Because the other day I hurt my back hanging a picture. Hanging a picture. Old age sneaks up on you.
28. Redecorate and Organize my Home
I think at 30 you don’t have to keep the clothes you wore at 25. You also probably don’t have the same taste in décor as you did at 26. Out with the old and in with the new.
29. Understand What I Love About Wine
The obvious answer is everything. I know the types of wine I love to drink and sort of why I like them. But I know nothing technical about it. I know enough to come across as confident in my wine ordering. I should be able to easily navigate a wine menu by 30.
30. Find the Perfect Red Lipstick
It’s a classic beauty staple and I have yet to find the one that is exactly right for me. It’s out there somewhere and this is the year I find it.
I’ll keep you updated on the progress of my 30 Before 30 throughout the year. If you try any of them let me know! Does anyone else make goals for their birthday? Anything you wish you’d have done before 30?