My 30 by 30 List . Quarter-Life “Bucket List”

August 28, 2013 separator Life

My 30 by 30 List
ziplining in Costa Rica*

I started this 30 by 30 list way back in October 2012, and then I just couldn’t seem to make myself put the whole thing out there for the world to see. I couldn’t decide what should make the cut, and I just kind of let it fizzle out… Plus, it’s a little scary to put yourself out there for the whole internet. Andrei knew about the list already and may have facilitated a few items, so I’ll publish as-is for now and then update it soon!


Once upon a time, I was an ambitious almost-24-year-old. And I made this list. And now, on the precipice of 27, I can look back at that version of myself and smile that irritating smile of someone who knows better – a smile that will only grow with time. I suppose I’m no less ambitious now, but I’m certainly more realistic. I’ve learned to place higher value on fewer things.

Once, I wasn’t scared of most anything. Now, for better or worse, I’m a pansy. I have to really talk myself into things that didn’t used to feel daunting. Not in the least. That’s okay. That’s what growing up looks like, I’m sure, but that means that as we grow, we have to challenge ourselves more.

This is for me. My challenge to myself. I want to make myself check things off the list now, before I get too scared. Or even before I change my mind and prioritize things differently. One day, skydiving won’t be as important to me, so I’m going to do it now. And then have a heart attack.

My 30 by 30 List

  1. Run a marathon. The whole thing. (UPDATE: I was sidelined for a long time by an undiagnosed herniated disc and then finally had back surgery. I copped out on the marathon and am counting two halves as a whole. ;D)
  2. Skydive, before I’m too rational too “jump out of perfectly good plane,” as my father would say. (DONE 11.02.13 – Details here)
  3. Get published in an American print magazine. I’ve been published a couple times in a Portugese mag, but I’d like to be able to read it myself. ;D (DONE just in time on 11/01/2015 – will share pictures soon!)
  4. Get a dog, preferably a puppy, but anything cute and happy to see me after work will suffice.
  5. Have a gorgeous, fun wedding. Is this cheating, since I’m already engaged? I don’t care. I’m too excited to worry about it! (DONE 08.17.14 – Details soooon)
  6. Visit 21 countries. That seems reasonable, since I’m already at 19. (UPDATE 05.03.14 – After honeymooning in Thailand & Cambodia, I’m at 23!)
  7. Learn to shoot entirely in manual. Pictures, not deer(s). (I pretty much only shoot in manual these days!)
  8. Hug an elephant, camel, or penguin. I need to make my hug repertoire a little more exotic. (UPDATE: Done, done, and done!)
  9. Sew something I can actually wear. (This counts, right?)
  10. Learn to speak Romanian. Or Arabic. (UPDATE: While I can’t even carry on a full conversation (yeah, at all…), I’ve been making a real effort to learn enough Romanian to try to get by on the phone with my grandma-in-law. I’ve made a little bit of progress lately, and I’ll take it.)
  11. Volunteer at least 500 hours. (DONE, and I actually got a Ronald McDonald Family Room Volunteer of the Year award
  12. Learn calligraphy – the pretty, swirly kind. (Check. Did my own wedding invitations, too!)
  13. Bring back the disappearing art of snail mail.
  14. Learn to be a gardener, and grow something to eat. (You can do it, too!)
  15. Create art. Show people. (DONE: You can find lots of my lettering here as free downloads, and there’s even more here. I like to dabble in lots of different artforms, but lettering is always my home base.)
  16. Make a point of letting people know how much they mean to me.
  17. Turn the thousands of pictures on my hard drive into something more than data files. (DONE 11/28/2015 Andrei and I just ordered a photo book for our first year together and will order one per year when we get around to organizing another batch of photos. We’re creating The Story of Us, one volume at a time!)
  18. Watch all the Indiana Jones movies. Ditto for Star Wars. (Thanks to Andrei, I think I’ve made it through the whole list.)
  19. Get a little closer to figuring out where I stand with God, religion, and church.
  20. Start my Etsy shop back up and running (and figure out what I want to sell…) (DONE 10.01.2014 – Here it is!)
  21. Wear sunscreen always to avoid more sunburns and impending skin doom. (DONE: I even washed it into our clothes for our Thailand and Ecuador trips!)
  22. Read more. Whole books, not just magazines. Maybe even real paper ones once in awhile. (I’ve been powering through some serious Stephen King lately. Other stuff, too, but mostly Stephen.)
  23. Throw a really good dinner party – everything homemade, delicious, and pretty to look at, too. (DONE: I guess you’d have to ask my guests if it was really good ;), but we had a pretty good one for Andrei’s birthday, along with a super fun wine tasting game!)
  24. Find a way to bring Spanish back into my daily life before I lose it all. (I’ve been speaking Spanish with a few gals at work, AND Andrei and I are heading to Ecuador!)
  25. Spend more time with the people who matter most but live far away. (We have an amazing group of friends from college who always make an effort to get together at least once a year, and since moving to DC, we’re a lot closer geographically to lots of them, too!)
  26. Engage in regular yoga practice, and maybe get my heels a little closer to earth in down dog. (UPDATE: I was going to yoga 2-3 times a week for a long time, but then I got rather derailed by back surgery and need to get my butt (and back) back in gear!)
  27. Let go of comparison. My blog will never be Design*Sponge; I’ll never have JLo’s bum; and I damn sure won’t ever be able to sing a single note on key. It’s okay though because JLo’s not nearly as good at naming cats as I am. (UPDATE: Here’s yet another that’ll never be fully “complete.” I can’t even necessarily say I’ve made real progress. I have lots of days where I’m able to shelf those feelings and really celebrate my own success. And then I have days scattered among them where I feel like I’m barely treading water compared to the success I’m seeing around me.)
  28. Learn to say ‘no.’ It’s a lot harder for me than it seems. (UPDATE: This is one I don’t think I’ll ever be able to completely cross off a list because I’m a constant work in progress. But I’ve made so, so much progress on this front! I’ve learned that oftentimes the discomfort of saying “no” is so much more fleeting than the
  29. Organize my life a little better. If I can find my right shoe, keys, or phone a little quicker in the morning, I’ll have more time for a cup of coffee. (UPDATE: I’m only allowing myself to cross this one off because I said a little better. I’m still basically a hot, hot mess, but I’ve made real progress, and that’s good enough for this one.)
  30. Celebrate turning 30 as the wonderful start of a new decade, not as some crisis-level milestone birthday to be hidden from and complained about. Thirty isn’t old, people. Let’s not cry about it, okay?
*Could there be a more wretched picture of me? No, probably not. But there also couldn’t be a funnier picture of me, and you shouldn’t take yourself too seriously, right?


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  3. That picture is HILARIOUS — and I have a video (!!!) of me screaming and making that general face in completing the same Bucket List item! 🙂

  4. I love this picture so, so much. I’m inching toward one of my bucket list items this Saturday (gulp). Panic!!

  5. I did the skydiving in May with my brothers. We sat through the 8 hour class and did the non-tandem version solo jump (with instructors jumping beside us, thank goodness) from 14,500 feet. It is definitely something I recommend doing once, and only once.

  6. Haha cute! I loved the list, and am proud of some of your choices. I also, am at the precipice of 27- and will never be jumping out of a plane 😉

  7. Regarding number 10: “Lindsay este stea”

    I can speak a bit of Romanian as I had a little Romanian girl in my class. She couldn’t speak English very well so, to make her feel more confident, I asked her to teach me Romanian. She thought it was hilarious that I couldn’t speak it properly and she loved knowing more than her teacher!


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