Monday, March 3, 2014

24 Before 25

I've spent the first few days of my 24th year of life hiding in bed with peppermint tea, tofu noodle soup and Netflix thanks to a nasty stomach bug that's forced me to ditch out on work -- and cancel my own birthday party. Gross. While I may feel like complete and utter crap right now, I'm determined to make this year awesome. Inspired by similar birthday goal lists I've seen floating around the Internet, I decided to come up with my own little list of things I'd like to do and accomplish before my next birthday to really help me make the most of the next 365 days. As it stands now, I have a job I love, my finances are stable, I'm surrounded by incredible people and for the first time since becoming an adult, I have the means and the time to pursue my passions and try new hobbies on for size. My goal list definitely reflects this change in pace from years past -- with a few major, life changing aspirations thrown in for good measure, and I'm excited to share a little bit of what I have planned for this year with you today.

Go back to school -- for real this time // Call me the queen of excuses, seriously. Semester after semester, I've failed to register for classes because of the commute, the time commitment, the fear of failure, whatever. No mas. I'll be enrolling for the summer semester and will finally be on my way toward becoming a funeral director by the time June rolls around.

Find and move into a house with Zack // After nearly eight years of friendship and three years of dating, we both feel it's finally time to commit and live together full-time. We're casually looking at houses in and around Denver now, but within the next few months the search will be thrown into high gear and we're hoping to have a little house of our own by late summertime.

Stay smoke free and develop healthier habits // As I'm writing this, it's been 20 days since I've had a cigarette. I had a go at quitting last year that failed, but this time I'm determined that cancer sticks and I will never, ever, ever be getting back together. While I'm at it, I'm also trying to cut back on caffeine and focus on being more physically active. It's amazing how cutting out one vice seems to make the whole task of getting healthier seem a million times easier.

Get a memorial tattoo for my Nana -- and visit her grave // My Nana was one of my best friends and was easily one of the most important people in my life. When she passed away in 2010, a huge void was left behind for me that I still haven't really come to terms with. This year, I'm planning to get an epic memorial tattoo to give me a visual reminder of the impact this incredible woman had on me, and I will be taking a day trip out to visit her grave in Fort Morgan.

Read 52 books // A book a week? Challenge accepted.

Sew 10 skirts or dresses -- and learn how to use my sewing machine // Despite being an avid sewer since I was a teenager, I've never had access to a sewing machine so I've always had to do everything by hand. Last year, I inherited a machine that belonged to my Nana, and I plan to put it to good use by making myself some nice new skirts and dresses for when the weather warms up.

Volunteer at a farm animal sanctuary // One of my ultimate pipe dreams is to open my own sanctuary for abandoned, abused or neglected farm animals.  Seriously, I don't think anything in the world could possibly make me happier. In the meantime, I want to start regularly committing some of my free time to helping out at one of the existing sanctuaries here in Colorado.

Hike 100 50 Miles // When I wrote my list on paper, 100 seemed like a realistic goal based on the amount of hiking I've done in years past. After thinking it over, however, and realizing I no longer have weekday availability for hikes, I'm thinking 50 miles is much more attainable.

Knit or crochet a blanket // I've been knitting like crazy since teaching myself last month, but so far I've only tackled small projects like scarves and dishcloths. In all my years of crocheting, I've pretty much stuck to the same kind of stuff. This year, it's go big or go home, and I'd love to make an enormous, bedspread style blanket. Here's a few of the patterns I'm thinking about tackling 1 // 2 // 3

Go on at least one road trip with Meg // We've been best friends for 12 years and have never gone on a real road trip together. We were supposed to drive out to Arizona to see Tiger Army together in April, but the tour got canceled so a Plan B is in the works.

Start a flower and vegetable garden // A garden is one of my top priorities once we find a house, and I can't wait to fill it with lovely flowers and start growing some fresh food.

Write a submit a short story for publication in an anthology // I've had the rough draft of a short story idea gathering virtual dust on my desktop for over a year. I will finish it this year, and I'm hoping to submit it to an anthology publication around Halloween.

Start learning a second language // Zack and I have been talking about learning Japanese together, but I'm also considering giving Russian a go.

Grow and tend a Bonsai tree without killing it // I've always been fascinated with the beauty of Bonsai trees but far too intimidated to try growing and caring for one myself. I'm planning to take a Bonsai class at the Botanic Gardens so I can finally get into this hobby after dreaming about it for years.

Collect, copy, print and organize family photos // There are literally thousands of photos going back five generations sitting in my Poppa's basement right now, and it makes me sad that they're cooped up in the dark instead of being out in the light and enjoyed by my family. I'm really hoping to at least start on making copies of them for everyone or organizing them digitally to preserve my family's history forever.

Expand my collections -- oddities, tarantulas, books, etc // Those who follow me on Instagram know I've already managed to acquire an absolutely amazing new addition to one of these collections ;) For those who don't, I'll be sharing photos of my new baby on the blog in the next few days.

Spend a day as a tourist in my own city // I never realize how incredible Denver is until I start talking about it to people who've never been here. One day this year, I want to go full-on tourist in my own town and check out local attractions that I've failed to visit.

Attend at least three expos, festivals or conventions // I've currently got my heart set on Frozen Dead Guy Days, Repticon and the Mile High Horror Film Festival, but who knows where the year will take me.

Start, keep and complete an art journal // Art journals are beautiful and inspiring. I want one of my own.

Visit seven new cemeteries or abandoned places // Colorado is filled with beautiful ghost towns and Georgia is filled with stunning cemeteries. Between living in one of these states and frequently visiting the other, I;m sure I'll find no shortage of places to get my creep on.

Learn, perfect and record 10 new ukulele covers // It's been awhile since I've shared a ukulele cover on the blog, but I'd love to make this a regular feature in the future.

Improve and strengthen relationships with everyone I love // Ask my boyfriend, my parents, my best friend or my sister. I'm at times a difficult person to get along with, and I can be a serious pain in the ass. But life is short and you only get one shot at making shit count, so this year I really want to work on improving my relationships and being a better daughter/sister/girlfriend/aunt/friend to everyone.

Make a legitimate effort to blog more // Despite regularly neglecting this site, I really do love it. I feel like I constantly have a million ideas and plans for posts that never materialize, and that makes me rather sad. Even if I'm only able to commit to one post per week, that's more than I've been posting.

Continue improving my mental health and live a happier, more productive and fulfilling life that I can be proud of // I don't really talk about it on the blog because mental health stuff sucks, but I've struggled with major depression for nearly half my life and I've been participating in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy for BPD since last July. It's been slow going pulling myself out of repetitive negative thinking patterns that feel hardwired into my brain and learning to break terrible habits that are essentially second nature at this point, but I'm finally in a place where recovery feels possible and I'm content with the progress I've made. I want to continue with therapy, keep up with my homework, better implement the coping techniques I've learned and just be a happier, more productive and more emotionally stable person overall. 


  1. That's a great list of goals you have there. I really need to do that. When my 25th birthday came around a few weeks ago I thought to myself. "Hmm.. I really need to better my life cause I'm not getting any younger." I'm in school and now I'm trying to cut out Coke and go to the gym a lot more so I can lose weight and get healthy. Thanks for this post, It really motivated me to pursue my goals. :)

    1. Happy belated birthday! Getting healthy is a great goal and I feel like the little things (such as cutting out soda) are the easiest way to get there. Good luck with that and with school as well! Aren't you going for mortuary science too? Or am I being a total spaz and thinking of someone else?

  2. Great list! I too am 24, I turn 25 in August. My boyfriend and I have been together for four years and we're finally looking for a place this summer. I like the tourist in your own city idea, though I'd love to come to Denver. I have family there but haven't been to visit in a really long time. My goal for the spring and summer is to go to all the little places in St. Louis that I've never been to. There's also a lot of weird places in Missouri that I can't wait to visit. I don't know if I'll live in St. Louis forever but if I move I want to leave knowing that I saw everything I could see here.
    I'm actually starting on a workout routine today! My mom is a personal trainer so she's ALWAYS been in shape and looks pretty awesome for a woman in her 50's. I just feel blah and want to turn it around.

    1. I'm glad we aren't the only couple to wait a zillion years before moving in together! A lot of people give me some serious stinkeye when I tell them we don't. Denver really is a pretty cool place, and now that we have Trader Joe's and Voodoo Donuts, it's even better! You should totally visit! I've never been to St Louis (or Missouri at all for that matter) but would eventually like to check it out. Workout routines are so hard for me to develop and stick to. I always do well with the gym for like a month then stop going. Heh.


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