Today, I turn 29 and over the past few months I’ve started to think about things I’d like to achieve before I turn 30. I’m not talking the big stuff – as much as I love to plan things, I don’t agree with the pressure of setting an age goal for things like getting married and having kids.
This is more about personal challenges; the things I put off doing or say I don’t have time for – when in reality I probably do. I’m also incredibly impatient, so if things don’t come naturally to me, I don’t stick at them – hence why I can’t cook a meal that doesn’t consist of turkey dinosaurs.
So, here’s the list, and over the next 12 months I’ll be aiming to tick off as many as possible. Come and join me on my journey – I might even cook for you…
1. Learn to like gin
I’ve kind of cheated a bit on this one, because I always intended it to be on my 30 before 30 – I wanted to like something that wasn’t wine or beer. Then, on a plane to Vegas (as all good stories start) I ordered a G&T and it was quite nice…and over the past few months I’ve been embracing gin. I still don’t like it enough to choose it over wine most of the time, but don’t worry, this year I’ll power through and take on the arduous task of drinking a LOT of gin to ensure it’s on par with vino by my 30th birthday.
2. Finally understand what verbs, adjectives and adverbs are
I appreciate that as an editor, writer and someone with a degree in journalism that it’s ridiculous that I don’t know this stuff, but I’ve just never been able to get my head around them. Knowing what a noun is is about as far as I get, and sometimes I remember that a verb is a doing word, but that’s only when I hear Massive Attack’s Raindrops…
3. Read the Harry Potter books
I have a confession to make…I never read past book five in the Harry Potter series. I know, I’m sorry. My husband actually bought me all seven books for Christmas a couple of years ago, and they are still neatly lined up on the shelf, untouched. So, this year I’m going to make it my mission to read all of them from start to finish, and find out whether Dumbledore really does die. (Spoiler alert).
4. Learn more about my family history
I always feel terribly embarrassed when someone asks about my heritage, because I don’t really know much about my ancestry, even at grandparent level. When you watch TV shows like Who Do You Think You Are, people always say they regret not asking more questions when their relatives were alive, so I’m going to take this opportunity to discover what I can, while I can. I’m looking forward to it. My mum being faced with a barrage of questions every time I see her…maybe not so much.
5. Learn to run
I don’t consider myself to be unfit, but despite the fact i can do a 45 minute spin class without dying (just about), for some reason I have zero stamina for running. I really like the idea of pounding the pavements out in the open air, and it’s free exercise, but whenever I try I remember how horrendous I find it, and leave it a year before trying again. But this year will be different. Maybe…
6. Save some money
I am terrible with money. I don’t make big purchases, but I do buy a lot of unnecessary crap, and by the time payday comes around each month I’ve seriously depleted my funds. But, I’m determined to save something this year – and then maybe I’ll spend it on something nice…(I’m not sure I understand the concept of saving!)
7. Grow something in the garden
Much like my cooking skills, my gardening skills leave a lot to be desired. My mum and brother are both green-fingered but that gene seemed to have skipped me. Unfortunately, I have an acre of land outside and no clue what to do with it. A few years ago I attempted to plant a wild flower garden, but my father-in-law mistook them for weeds and that was that. So, this year I’m going to take more of an interest in the garden and hopefully something I plant will survive…
8. Learn how to sew on a button
When I told a friend about my lack of sewing skills, she was physically shocked – “but…you’re a wife!” Indeed I am, but not the kind who can do…well, anything practical. My mum, who used to make her own clothes is a dab hand with a needle and thread, but for some reason I never took an interest. And now, at nearly 30 I still have to ask her to fix my clothes. But not after this year! I shall master the buttons, and maybe a hemline too!
9. Write a novel
I totally get that time is of the essence here, and with 29 other tasks on this list, this may not be do-able. But, writing a novel is my lifelong dream, and it deserves to be on this list, even if it ends up being more of a short story, or a poem…
10. Get better at photography
I really, really want to be good at taking photos, but I’m just not. I’m too impatient to get the right lighting, too awkward to wait around for a long time, can’t pose…but, my cats deserve better, so this year I’m going to ace the camera thing so that their little furry faces can look even better when I plaster them all over Instagram.
11. Learn a language
Again, possibly not do-able in a year unless I dedicate some serious time to it, but I hate that I can only speak English (and even that’s questionable sometimes). By this time next year I’ll know how to order wine in French or beer in German. Because those are the important things I need to learn, obviously.
12. Learn to say no
I’m going to blame my starsign here, but being a libra means I’m quite passive. Which in turn, means I tend to just try to please people rather than being confrontational. But, this year I’m going to try really hard to be more assertive and start saying no to things.
13. Watch more films
If it’s a Disney movie or a romcom then I’ve probably seen it, but other than that I have very little experience in watching films. Partly it’s to do with the fact I have a terrible attention span, but I also have to really be in the mood to sit and watch a film – I immediately view them as two hours of my life I’m not getting back, and instead I’ll sit and watch Friends for five hours straight. But, it is embarrassing when people talk about cult classics and you have no idea what they’re on about. Apparently you can’t just use Friends quotes to make you look more intelligent. Who knew?
14. Go on a solo trip
I’m not talking two weeks in the Maldives (although I wouldn’t turn it down), but I’d like to go somewhere on my own, just for a little adventure. Look out, Butlins in Bognor, I’m coming for you…
15. Be able to touch my toes
I’m incredibly inflexible, which is highlighted every time I attempt to do yoga, but end up resembling a drunken walrus. For 29 years I’ve wanted to be able to touch my toes, so this year I’ll hopefully do it…
16. Get into cycling
Bikes were never really my thing – I didn’t learn to ride one until I was about seven or eight, and then I fell off and broke my helmet and my face, which kind of knocked my confidence a bit. However, this year I cycled over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and it was amazing, so I’m determined to finally conquer my fear of cycling and start riding more frequently (in the summer on cycle paths – I’m definitely not going to be commuting by bike!)
17. Learn how to do my hair and makeup
Despite the fact I’ve always had hair and have been wearing makeup for a good 15 years now, I still have no idea what I’m doing. I’m able to create a look every day that is just about passable, but I’d like to actually master some techniques and maybe some days not look like I’ve just rolled out of bed, when I’ve actually spent 30 minutes applying concealer…
18. Walk a marathon
As previously mentioned, I’m not a runner, but I do love walking. This year I’d like to take a gentle 26 mile stroll, and hopefully raise some money for charity in the process.
19. Learn how to take a good selfie
Ugh, I know, such a first world issue. But seriously, how do people take them?! Is there an evening class I can attend?
20. Learn how to be a bit more content
Unfortunately I’m impatient and always want exciting things to be happening, which leads to bitter disappointment when I’m spending my Friday night watching back-to-back Friends. Again. I’m only really happy when there’s a lot going on, but I’d really like to just be able to appreciate the small things a bit more, and not to be on holiday to be happy (although it definitely helps).
21. Have a lie in
This sounds ridiculous, I know, but I don’t know how to have a lie in. I’m a morning person, always up early and even in my uni days when I’d been out until the early hours, I still found myself awake at 8am. The trouble is, when I’m awake I want to get up – I can’t see the point of just staying in bed. But, in the name of research, I’m willing to try being lazy…
22. Go to a festival
I’ve been to plenty of live gigs, and a few one day music events, but never a festival. And I think I want to go to one, if I can get over the fear of using the toilets…
23. Be more decisive
Again, going to blame the starsign for this one, but I am terrible at making decisions. And, when I’ve made a decision, I then panic it’s the wrong one. But worrying about them is such a useless waste of time and before I’m 30 I’m making it my mission to be able to make decisions quicker, and without panicking about the consequences. Maybe…
24. Cook a meal from scratch that doesn’t end in disaster
There’s a reason my husband Jamie does most of the cooking, and that’s because my skills are a little bit hit and miss. It’s mostly to do with the fact I’m impatient and don’t like to follow recipes, but as a result most of the dishes I create are inedible. Last time I had to cook dinner I did turkey dinosaurs, which isn’t really the Nigella Lawson domestic goddess look I’m going for.
25. Become more knowledgeable
A bit vague, I know, but quite often it becomes apparent to me that I’ve managed to make it this far in my life without knowing much about anything. I don’t know a lot about politics, or current affairs, or art, or geography…the list is quite long. In many conversations all I have to offer is a joke, or an anecdote about Harry Styles, neither of which are appropriate for every situation. So this year the plan is to read more, listen more and be a bit more clued up on things that aren’t Taylor Swift’s dating history.
26. Create a capsule wardrobe
I love to shop, in fact I’d say it’s one of my favourite past times. But, it also means I have a wardrobe full of things that don’t go with other things, and too many pairs of shoes to count. But, I’m forever reading about capsule wardrobes so this year I might get organised and attempt to cull some of the unnecessary items from my closet. The sequin jacket is staying though, sorry.
27. Be totally spontaneous for a day
I’m a planner and I love to know exactly what’s happening at each minute of said plan. I don’t really like change, or not being in control of a situation, and I definitely never just live in the moment – I’m always worrying about what’s next. So, just once over the next year I’m going to have a day of spontaneity. I can’t tell you when though, because that would be planning…
28. Stop procrastinating
Although I do love to plan, I’m also very bad at actually getting around to doing things, and tend to spend more time coming up with excuses for why I can’t do things than it would actually take to just do the thing. But this year, it’s going to change. I’m going to DO THE THING.
29. Learn more about wine
I worked in a vineyard for five years and found the whole process of wine making fascinating (although I mostly enjoyed drinking it to be fair.) However, I’ve never really pursued my interest further, and this year I’d like to learn more – and probably drink more in the process. What? It’s research…
30. See more of Kent
One of the reasons I started this blog was because although I’ve lived in Kent for the majority of my life, I still have a lot to see, do and discover. I tend to spend most of my time in a very small pocket of the county, so over the next 12 months I aim to step (or drive) outside of my comfort zone and visit places I’ve never been. Suggestions please – I’m especially open to anywhere with a good pub…