Twenty-six before twenty-seven

February 7, 2011

Another year, another list.

And I’m coming to realize that this system means you have to do more things every year, and I’m not sure if that’s a sustainable model.

But that aside, let’s talk about successes from my 25th year of life. There were many.

#9 Be more fearless + #11 keep getting better at being myself

I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that 2010 was transformative in this area. My coaching with Regina was instrumental (master of smokescreens! hindering my own vision!). Now, even if I do put up a smokescreen or see fear looming, I can be with it. And I can even ask it questions.

#7 Redeem hurtful and negative things for good

I can’t get into specifics here, but this has been incredibly powerful for me and my relationships. So powerful that I didn’t even need to include it in my 2011 list — because I’m now doing it by default. Highly recommended. Are you making a list? Put this on there. Trust me.

#3 Pray + #5 appreciate the everyday

These are inextricably intertwined. It’s beautiful. They’re both about intention, so it’s no surprise.

#12 Read at least 12 books

I rocked this one. I revised my goal twice during the year — bumping it up to 20 and then 26, and ultimately getting to 30. I know this pales in comparison to the Powell’s employees who read 200 books every year, but it brought me back to my bookworm childhood roots. I was very tempted to make my new goal 52 books in 2011, but I refrained.

Highlights include: The Housekeeper and the Professor, The Book Thief, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Emily’s Ghost and Cutting for Stone. And unless you want to sink into a deep existential crisis, do not read two beautifully written but ultimately hopeless books about mental illness (in my case, A Man Walks into a Room and The Unnnamed) back to back.

#13 Have an adventure in a new place

Las Vegas! The Grand Canyon! Hood River! I’m really not sure how I even found time for all of these places, but I am very sure that it was a good year.

#19 Hire an honest-to-goodness business coach and/or assistant

Both! And they are both fabulous. I let myself believe that I took my sweet time on this so that I’d end up with just the right people. And I did.

Part 2 of this goal was to start treating my business more like a business and less like contracting. On that front, I incorporated my business and hired an amazing calligrapher to do my logotype. Two of my best decisions from the past 12 months.


I hosted a very successful spring swap (#14), became a diehard Zumba fan (#15), and watched many movies — though I doubt it was 25 from our Netflix queue (#18). I also continued to volunteer for everything that was presented to me (#21) and, lo and behold, I’m now overwhelmed by opportunity and am in the process of scaling back. I’m not sure how I failed to see this coming.

And this has nothing to do with any of my intentions from last year, but I discovered two new loves this year: asparagus and pistachios. It was clearly a good year for my tummy too.

The new twenty six

  1. expect less → do less. After two years of giving “expect less” a very high priority on my year’s list, I’ve finally realized that, although my expectations of myself are often too high, that isn’t something that’s going to change in a year or two or twenty. In the short term, I have to focus on what I’m going to do with those expectations. Intention is important, but 2010 had a lot to teach me — a highly intentions-focused person — about the value of action. Which leads us to…
  2. act in the knowledge that actions (external) can change your heart (internal). I always want to evolve from the inside out. Sometimes it simply doesn’t work that way. This is an entirely new concept for me but last year, I learned that it’s true.
  3. be patient → be at peace
  4. take a deep breath and completely redefine my project rates (and trust that what feels right will actually be right)
  5. start saving in a serious and organized fashion
  6. leave the country (for pleasure and for a short time)
  7. create a hard limit for concurrent projects — and enforce deadlines
  8. read 26 more books (one every two weeks)
  9. try six new Portland restaurants (one every eight weeks)
  10. keep one evening open each week for all but six weeks out of the year
  11. try 52 new recipes (one every week)
  12. learn to play at least three songs competently on the guitar
  13. discover a new camping spot
  14. reinstate the four-day work week
  15. plan a surprise
  16. take a letterpress, calligraphy, cooking, wine pairing, etc. class (choose one or more of the above)
  17. eat a fruit I’ve never had before
  18. eat a vegetable I’ve never had before (or previously hated, like my new friend asparagus)
  19. set aside daily time for prayer and study
  20. be more flexible
  21. give generously
  22. be deliberately and specifically thankful every day
  23. achieve one or more of the following personal fitness goals: work out three or more times per week on a consistent basis; reach my goal weight; and/or get back to being able to swim a mile continuously
  24. scrapbook something
  25. paint something
  26. give acceptance and encouragement at every opportunity

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Delights, Intentionality

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