30 Before 31

About five years ago, I started an annual tradition of making a list of goals to accomplish by my next birthday. I prefer this to resolutions (for New Years I pick a word I want the year to embody as opposed to a list of things), because I feel like there’s less universal pressure and I tailor it more to my age than the year itself. 

Each year the number of goals correlates to how old I am – IE: 25 things to do by 26, 26 before 27, and so forth. If you’re interested, you can see 25, 26 & 27 HERE. (I realize I’m going to have to cap the number at some point, because anything more than 30 already seems excessive, so we’ll see…) 

I love checking in throughout the year with a reminder of things I want to accomplish, then being able to look back and see what was important to me and how I’ve grown and changed. In the wake of my recent birthday, Im sharing this year’s list of goals with you, accompanied by how I did in terms of accomplishing them. 

  1. Go More Analog: Check. Since my job requires me to be so plugged in all the time, it was important for me to disconnect more this year. I did a few social media fasts, a couple purges (unfollowed most influencers and stopped hate-following people….) and I switched off screens in a few ways: Vinyl over MP3s, cookbooks over Pinterest, film photography instead of just my phone, paperbacks over kindle, notebooks instead of the notes app. I also refused to check my work email on vacations (game.changer.) and have been trying to monitor how many minutes I spend on Instagram daily. I’ve even made lengthy lists of all the things I enjoy doing instead of automatically checking my phone.
  2. Slow Down. (Say No, Stop Interrupting, Take My Time, Be More Patient): Check?? This one is hard to qualify/quantify my progress on, but I know I’ve slowed down a bit and prioritized my time, nights at home, and embracing the NON-plan. It has made me look forward to things more, stress less, and enjoy the moment more fully.
  3. Learn About Film Photography: Check. I’m no Leibowitz, but I went from not even knowing how to load a film camera to having it become one of my most treasured hobbies. I love it because it actually helps a lot with goals 1 and 2 – I’m more patient, decisive, and focused, and it requires me to take my time and concentrate on the process, not the result. I’ve also found that shooting on film helps me remember the moment more. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve baked into my life.
  4. Get a Polaroid Camera & Use It: Check. This is pretty self explanatory and a total blast.
  5. Return to Regular Writing: CHECK! What you’re reading right now! This one was HUGE. I’ve missed blogging SO much, and am thrilled to be back. I’ve also done a ton of personal writing, LOTS of journaling, and co-wrote a full season of my web series! I’m starting to submit my work to other places and it feels fantastic to be not only writing more but putting it out there. I was lucky enough to see a panel with screenwriter Nell Scovell and receive a copy of her new book, and it was a truly pivotal moment when she said (and I paraphrase) “The only way to get better is to put your writing out there. Opening yourself up to judgement is the only way to improve.”
  6. Collect Patches: Half-Check. I got really into this for about a month then totally stopped caring. I’ve got a dish of some cool ones but that’s about it.
  7. Visit a City on my US List: Check. My dude and I went to Austin, TX last fall for Austin City Limits and had the BEST time! While I’m still more partial to Sonoran Mexican food, the queso and music scene did not disappoint.
  8. Swim IN the Ocean: Check. After living in LA for years, I’m ashamed to say I’ve almost never gone in the ocean when at the beach. I jumped in three times this summer and it felt incredible. I’d forgotten how invigorating it feels.
  9. Make Exercise a Regular Routine: …..Nope. This will be added to the list for THIS year… I’ve been busy, OK?!
  10. Host More House Parties: Check. Hosting gatherings used to be a huge part of my life and had fizzled for a variety of reasons. It was important to me to get back in the habit, and I’ve been having folks over in groups big and small about every other month. It makes me so happy to see the people I care about in my space. (It also makes my exorbitant Los Angeles rent feel a bit more worthwhile… plus, like, you know – decorating and picking the wine…)
  11. See a Psychiatrist about Medication: Check. This isn’t something I talk about a ton, but it’s important to me to share in case anyone else is struggling. I found a psychiatrist towards the end of last year when my grief and anxiety were so overwhelming I could barely focus on anything. I was prescribed low-dosage meds for my ADD and anxiety and they have helped SO SO much. If anyone reading this is trying to cope and debating the need for prescription medication, I urge you to at least go get a consultation. Meds were invented to help us and all of our different brain chemistries, and they really do work.
  12. Go Camping: Check. I went glamping, but I’m still counting it because it was in nature and it was the BEST! We stayed up near Santa Barbara HERE in a safari tent and got ALL the pros of camping (s’mores, looking at the stars, being away from everything), and NONE of the cons (dirtiness, tons of set-up and break-down). PLUS they have an on-site wine shop AND a massage spa.
  13. Send Minimum One Piece of Snail Mail Weekly: Check. Is there anything better than getting a postcard or letter in the mail!? My goal averaged out in that I will send nothing for a bit then about 5 in one day, but I’m proud of this and I want to amp it up this year even more.
  14. Read One Non-Fiction, One Fiction Book Per Month: NO. This is a doable though slightly aggressive goal. I’ve probably read about 8 books this year – way less than my average (see earlier mention of having ZERO focus for about 6 months) – and I’m excited to have turned a corner with this as well. More books all the time!
  15. Renew Passport & Take an International Trip: Check! Renewed my passport just under the wire (oops) and we spent over two glorious weeks living like locals in Paris. (MAD shout out to our incredible Parisian friends who graciously let us stay with them!) It was an absolute dream trip, an inspiration jump-start, and a mental re-set I desperately needed.
  16. Try a Korean Spa: Nope. I still really wanna do this, and there’s one close to my place! I’ve just got to pick a day and commit to getting naked in front of a bunch of strangers…
  17. Take a Class for Fun: Nope. Dropped the ball on this one too, but hoping to fill my house with tons of wobbly ceramic mugs some time this year.
  18. Go Kayaking: Check. This lil desert rat had never been kayaking or canoeing but I checked both off the list when my extended (and outdoorsy) family rented a lake cabin in for the holidays! One of the more magical moments of this year was when I was sitting alone in the middle of a beautiful still lake and flurries of snow starting cascading down. Nature’s cool, guys.
  19. Cut Down on Drinking: Ish. I took a week or a month off here and there, but I also happened to get supperrr into learning about wine this year so that pretty much made it a wash.
  20. Make Things With My Hands: Baby Check. This ties in a lot to being on screens too much. When I was younger I was so into crafts (even made my own high school year books) but I feel like that’s been slipping away. I’m working on doing it more – photo albums, calligraphy, drawing (although it’s hard to do be so bad at it at first), and even cooking. I have a feeling this will make an appearance on next year’s list too…
  21. Start a Girls Club: Check! I’m SO lucky to know tons of amazing women, and I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get them all in one place, so I finally took the plunge and hosted the first (of what are intended to be bi-monthly) lady club meetings! I started it with a little smaller count just to gauge interest, and for spacial limitations, but am truly excited to see it grow and expand more. It was rad to see the awesome women I know from so many different areas come together!
  22. Learn How to Make 3 Cocktails Well: Check! I mastered the the three M’s: Margarita, Mai Tai and Martinis.
  23. Be More Independent: Yes and No… I’m an extreme extrovert who requires lots of attention and very little alone time. This is great when it comes to getting along with people or going to events, but it can get unhealthy and pretty co-dependent in my personal life. If I have a full night to myself I often get anxious or don’t know what to do with my time. It’s something I know I’ll always grapple with, but I’m working hard on learning how to not only cope better, but to embrace time alone. I’m working my way through this book right now which says you should take yourself on a solo date at least once a week. It’s been a good way to push myself to be alone and really enjoy it. I’ve also grown incredibly partial to long walks alone, and writing more helps too.
  24. Stay at the Madonna Inn: Check! This glorious and bizarre themed hotel in the central coast of California has been on my bucket list for yearsand I finally went! My best friend and I established a new annual tradition of spending a night there for our own private Christmas/holiday celebration. We stayed in a room where the walls were MADE OF PINK GLITTER and drank pink champagne dressed up in 70s formalwear and stayed up for 24 straight hours laughing harder than I have in years. What. A. Dream.
  25. Buy New Glasses: Check. I wear contacts 99% of the time, and I think it’s partially because I don’t have any fun pairs of specs. I discovered this company which has super cheap frames and so there was no risk in buying funky new frames.
  26. Limit Social Media to <30 min Daily: Yes/No This is pretty well explained in some of my other goals and the truth is it just depends on the day. But I ALWAYS feel better when I hold up to this.
  27. Get a Library Card: No. I don’t know why past-me made this goal. I hate borrowing and lending things, especially books. Although someone recently sold me on the Audio book selection so I might end up getting one after all.
  28. Trip With My Bestie: Check! See the above Madonna Inn part.
  29. Find a New Perfume Scent: Check. I’ve worn the same scent for twelve years, and while I still love it, I wanted to find something a little more mature, and different for variety. I was coincidentally gifted this pretty bottle and like it a lot! I now actually mix the two of them most days.
  30. Make a Habit of Cooking at Home: Check! I used to hate cooking, burn everything I attempted, and avoid my own meals at all costs. Then something (re: finances & health) came over me, and I now cook more meals at home than not – AND I even enjoy it. I knew I was officially cooking more when my gas bill started costing 10 bucks more each month. I started super simple, I now save recipes constantly, and I always feel better when I make something well. I even find myself browsing cookbooks and kitchen utensils online… who am I?

Do any of you make goal lists? What do you put on them? Any tips or suggestions? I’m currently fine-tuning my 31 by 32 list – open to ideas! (As long as it doesn’t involve heights or basically anything that would be featured on a reality show.) 

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