Last year, I made a list of 24 things to do before I turned 25. This was actually my second time making such a list, but the first time around, I filled it with typical type-A, overachiever-type things and composed my list 36 days before my birthday. While I was planning a wedding and getting ready for Christmas and about to help my husband move to Oregon and in month four of working for myself full time.
Needless to say, my 23 didn’t go so well, at least not before 24. Less than half of those items were done. But now, another year later, I can give myself a (tiny) pat on the back because, hey! I’ve done a lot of those things! And I did things from my 24 list too!
The really weird thing (to me) is that I didn’t look at either of these lists for, well, almost an entire year. It wasn’t until I started thinking about writing my 25 before 26 that I went back to look at 24. It wasn’t like I printed out the list and posted it on my bulletin board where I’d be reminded every day. Hi! We’re all the things you should be doing with your life! And therefore whatever you’re doing right now isn’t good because it isn’t one of us. (And yes, that really is how my to-do list talks to me.)
Instead, it was the conscious, deliberate act of writing them down that caused them to happen. Just like Havi’s personal ads. In the comments, I referred to myself as “the girl who needs serious lessons in asking for stuff.” And yeah, that’s still true. But apparently I was doing a better job of asking for things than I thought.
Other than writing the list, I can’t think of any days that I sat down and said, Alright, today is the day I do this thing. But along the way, without so much as remembering they were on the list, I managed to simplify, to expect less, to be thankful, to have adventures, to give generously, to be more fearless, to apply for challenging business opportunities, to finish a writing project, to volunteer, to read, to sew, to host fabulous parties, and (my personal favorite) to redeem hurtful and negative things for good.
This year, I’m carrying over several of things from 24. Those work-in-progress-ey kinds of things, like:
- expect less
- be patient
- be thankful
- appreciate the everyday
- do acts of selfless kindness
- redeem hurtful and negative things for good
- give generously
- be more fearless
- remember that having an open heart is always worth it
- keep getting better at being myself
I was tempted to carry over even more things from 24, because many of those things are things that I want to continue doing in 2010. But instead, I’m getting more specific. Whereas 24 had things like keep reading (so many lovely books!) and have an adventure (honeymoon in the Cook Islands! road trip to Canada!) and host fabulous parties (progressive dinner! game nights!), 25 has things like:
- read at least 12 books
- have an adventure in a place I’ve never visited before
- host a spring swap
- try Zumba
- give myself permission to be imperfect (i.e. adopt a wabi sabi mindset and start giving myself what I seem to be very able to give everyone else)
- take a letterpress class (for crying out loud! this is the third year this has been on the list! why do I put off things I would love?)
- watch 100 50 25 Netflix queue movies
- hire an honest-to-goodness business coach and/or assistant (i.e. start treating my business more like a business and less like contracting)
- record more of my dreams
- keep volunteering, even when no one takes me up on it
- write at least two real cards or letters every month (cannot include: thank-you notes and occasion cards, like birthdays and weddings)
- give acceptance and encouragement at every opportunity
- set boundaries
- remember that everything is spiritual