Category Archives: 30before30

On Turning 30

old40storm - edited

Maybe it hasn’t hit me yet, but turning 30 doesn’t scare me.

I have this notion that my 30s will really be a time for me to get to know myself. I’ve done a lot of changing over the last decade, and I’m sure I’ll do the same in this coming one, but I hope that I will approach those changes with more confidence and less stress. I’ve spent a lot of time worrying, and becoming a parent — while accompanied by plenty of worrying, in forms I’d never known — has helped me see that time spent worrying is sometimes time spent wasted. Yes, worrying can lead to greater understanding and sometimes to solutions, which is great. But worrying with no cause and to no end — I have better things to do.

Last year, I’d created a list of things I’d like to do before I turned 30. Some of them got completed; some did not. Here’s a run-down:

  1. Run a 10K — Fail. I did get back up to a solid 5K time, although I haven’t been consistent.
  2. Have a bike picnic — Picnics yes, by bike no.
  3. Get another tattoo — Yes! On my right wrist. I love it.
  4. Be 10 lbs lighter — Yes! Muscle definition abounds.
  5. Knit a scarf — Done! Not extremely well, but I like the cowl I ended up with.
  6. Make a cookbook — Nope.
  7. Go camping — Yes! Although we did not stay overnight. More info to come.
  8. Pay off credit card — Sadly, not yet. Still plugging away at that debt though.
  9. Go to a theater performance — Nope.
  10. Decorate a fancy cake — Yes!
  11. Make a big painting for the house — Kind of?
  12. Make a t-shirt quilt — Nope.
  13. Explore my hometown — I’ve taken Aoife to 5 different playgrounds and done lots of walking, although we haven’t done “touristy” things.
  14. Visit a local museum — Nope.
  15. Take a dance class — Nope.
  16. Go sledding — Yes! Aoife hated it.
  17. Sharpen knives — No, I’m still risking injury every time I cook by using dull knives.
  18. Get a pedicure — Yes! This was one of the first things I did, and let me tell you, it’s time for another one.
  19. Find my perfect shade of lipstick — I found a couple but haven’t settled on anything for daily use.
  20. Have a date night with Ryan every month — Well … we didn’t always call it an official date night, but I’d say we succeeded here.
  21. Create use-able space in the basement — Not exactly.
  22. Visit a ghost town — Nope.
  23. Write a handwritten letter once a month — Nope.
  24. Make a friend outside of work / be a better friend — Not especially.
  25. Bake a pie from scratch — Yes! For Thanksgiving.
  26. Learn to change a tire — Yes! If you count stroller tires. I did not do this for our car.
  27. Fill all my empty picture frames — Nope!
  28. Write a will and make it official — Nope!
  29. Get a bra professionally fitted — Nope!
  30. Visit a state park — We did this, but it overlapped with #7 above.

So 13 out of 30 isn’t terrible. I think many of these I ended up not really caring about (sharper knives? really? they cut just fine!), so I wasn’t fully engaged in doing them and I actually forgot half of what was on my list anyway over the year.

The best result out of all of this list-making is realizing that I’m not defined by this list and by the things that I want to do. I should remember the things that I accomplished rather than dwell on the things that I never got to, especially if I didn’t really care about them in the first place. Instead of focusing on checking off each little item, I (for the most part) lived in the moment and enjoyed life as it came, welcoming spontaneity and changing plans — something that used to be very difficult for me. Again, I chalk a lot of this up to becoming a parent — it was a situation that forced me into accepting life as it is, not as I think it should be.

And that is NOT to say that I think you have to become a parent to have that realization. I think any experience that stretches your abilities, your mind, your confidence — travel, getting a new job, getting married — any challenge — can help you realize it. For some, it happens long before 30; for others, long after.

I spent the last year learning about myself. Learning about my daughter, this wonderful person who is still quite new to the world and who has her own personality and quirks. Learning about my job and what it is about it that I truly love (thankfully, that includes most everything of what I do). I learned that I waste time when I have a Facebook app on my phone, so I deleted it. I learned that I really don’t care about Twitter, even though I have felt in the past like I should.

I learned that life is a process. Plans can change. Plans sometimes should change. I learned that I can welcome change in myself and it makes me stronger. I learned that I welcome the next decade — heck, even the next three decades or six or however many I am meant to have. I learned that I can keep striving to be the best person I can be, for myself and for others — and I’ve learned that I can let go of that ambition if I just need a bit of time to gather my thoughts, and I don’t have to beat myself up for needing that. There is strength in that, too.

I’ll be back again soon to let you know of a few plans and projects I have up my sleeve for this coming year.



August Update

Time for a 30 before 30 update!

1. Run 10K – Hasn’t happened yet, but after it’s not so darn hot outside (maybe September?), I’m going to go back to square 1 and use the Couch to 5K plan to get started and build from there. I’m going back to square 1 mainly because I will have the jogging stroller with me and that’s a whole different animal.

3. Get another tattoo – Progress! I have an appointment scheduled for a couple of weeks from now.  A triskelion (an Irish symbol) on my wrist, for my daughter.

4. Be 10 lbs lighter – I weighed myself a few weeks after my birthday and found that I was actually lighter than I expected. I don’t want to lose 10 lbs anymore, but I want to keep … redistributing the weight I’ve got. I’m doing that through working out in the mornings and following the No S Diet. So, this item can essentially be removed.

5. Knit a scarf – I watched a few videos and figured out how to knit (but not purl yet). With just the knit stitch, I can make a garter stitch scarf. Which I am doing, using Lion Brand Jiffy in Avocado and size 8 knitting needles. I’ve knitted about 5 inches of a scarf. I plan to join the ends and make it into an infinity scarf when it’s completed.

12. Make a t-shirt quilt – I’ve been decluttering and have started collecting shirts from my closet for the quilt.

18. Get a pedicure – I have birthday gift certificates for this! I think we still have plenty of sandal weather left this summer, but I want to get this done soon.

19. Find my perfect shade of lipstick – I did buy a cheap-o lipstick at Walmart a while back. I don’t think it’s the perfect shade, but it was fun to try it out for something different. I actually forgot that I had tried on lipstick and then a couple of hours later went to the store in sweats. I didn’t realize my lips were still painted plum until I caught my reflection in the freezer door at the store. Good times.

20. Have a date night with Ryan every month – Still committed to doing this, but again, my definition of “date night” is pretty generous. I think it counts if we get to watch a movie, play a board game, or even talk to each other without being half asleep.

24. Make a friend outside of work – I am changing up this one! Really, I have plenty of friends outside of work. Because I am so used to them being there, it is easy to lose sight and think that I need more friends. In reality, I need to be a better friend to those that I already have. So, my NEW item is committing to being a better friend. I don’t know if I can add on another monthly item, but I hope to spend time with a friend at least every other month. I can check August off my list already.

So those are the high points. A work in progress, but I have a few more months to keep working on it. This project does make me more mindful of how I spend my days, and looking back on my list, I realize there are some items that I’d practically forgotten about and wouldn’t be hard to check off (sharpen knives, anyone?). I’ll keep you posted.


Progress on a few…

I haven’t completed any of my 30 before 30 list yet, but I have made some progress.image

I just came upstairs from a trip to the basement. It may take more than a year to get that area into useable condition. I mean, unfinished basements are never the most pleasant parts of houses, but I did walk through more spiderwebs than I care to admit. So… We will table that item.

I brought several things up that will help me through this year: The Knitter’s Bible and nice yarn (#5), and stationery (#23). I also grabbed a book on beading and most of my jewelry-making supplies.

(#4) I have re-committed to No S dieting and have held strong with that so far this week. I’ve also been working out every weekday morning for the last few weeks and it has been fantastic!

(#19) Yesterday I was at Wal-Mart to pick up a prescription that of course wasn’t ready immediately, so I killed some time in the cosmetics area checking out lipstick. I bought a .98 tube in a wine color. I’m thinking better to experiment cheaply until I find a shade I like; then I can compare the color to the more expensive brands and go from there. We’ll see.

(#20) Ryan and I also did get to have a “date night” in July. I’m pretty generous with that term, as we sat on pillows on the living room floor and played board games.

Now to make sure no spiders hitched a ride upstairs with me…


#23 Write a handwritten letter – July

imageToday I wrote out thank you notes for Aoife’s birthday and for mine as well. I also wrote out a more personal note to a family member. I’m looking forward to doing this every month – it is something that is so simple that we forget about doing it. It reminds me that I really need to go to the post office and grab a few sheets of stamps. Remember those days when you always had stamps sitting around, because you needed them almost daily? Now I never have stamps handy when I need them.

30 before 30

This past Thursday, I turned 29. I don’t get too worked up about age, but I do like milestones and making lists and jumping on bandwagons, so I decided to create a 30 before 30 list. You’ve probably seen these on blogs here and there. There are no hard and fast rules: some people edit their lists part-way through, some give themselves a year to complete the list and some give themselves a decade, some have themes.

I created my list with the thought that I have one year to complete the items on it. I will attempt to blog each item, but we see how well that worked out with each Project Life layout I completed (yes, it’s still going strong even though I’m behind!). I didn’t add huge, lofty goals since I only have a year, and I tried to stay away from things that cost too much, since we’re on a budget. On the list, I only put $ next to items that will cost more than $10 – because really, doesn’t everything cost a little bit?

Without further ado — here is the list! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think, and if you have a list: what’s on yours? how long do you have to complete it? what milestone are you waiting for?

  1. Run a 10K (the distance itself, not necessarily a specific race)
  2. Have a bike picnic (the best way to roll!)
  3. Get another tattoo ($)
  4. Be 10 lbs lighter (I’ll mark this when I reach that goal, but the catch is that I have to still be 10 lbs lighter when I turn 30)
  5. Knit a scarf (I can crochet like the dickens but knitting confuses me)
  6. Make a cookbook (featuring my recipes and photos)
  7. Go camping
  8. Pay off credit card ($ – obviously)
  9. Go to a theater performance ($ depending on the performance)
  10. Decorate a fancy cake
  11. Make a big painting for the house
  12. Make a t-shirt quilt
  13. Explore my hometown
  14. Visit a local museum
  15. Take a dance class ($)
  16. Go sledding
  17. Sharpen knives
  18. Get a pedicure ($)
  19. Find my perfect shade of lipstick ($ – have you seen prices on some makeup? yikes!)
  20. Have a date night with Ryan every month
  21. Create use-able space in the basement (somewhere I actually feel comfortable sitting when we have a tornado scare)
  22. Visit a ghost town
  23. Write a handwritten letter once a month
  24. Make a friend outside of work (this obviously requires me spending time in places other than home and work)
  25. Bake a pie from scratch
  26. Learn to change a tire (I did this once in driver’s ed and promptly forgot – or at least, I don’t feel confident doing it)
  27. Fill all my empty picture frames
  28. Write a will and make it official
  29. Get a bra professionally fitted (fit? don’t hassle my verb tenses – oh, and $)
  30. Visit a state park (I’m going to try to keep this separate from #7)