Here I am, having blown out the candles on another new year, sharing another one of my birthday goal lists. I’m feeling guilty that I’ve posted so little to this blog as of late that last year’s list is still on the front page, but I can at least take some comfort looking down the list and noting all the other things that have kept me busy during 31.
If you’re new to my lineup of intentions, when I was 25 I started compiling a numbered list of annual goals in accordance with how old was turning. They range from micro (learn to do a cartwheel) to macro (sell a book), and tangible (renew my passport) to the more expansive (work on being comfortable being alone.)
I’m not too hard on myself to accomplish everything. Sometimes abandoning a project is intentional, other times my priorities realign, other times it’s just that I couldn’t make it happen. These lists are more about having a type of personal barometer in mind for the journey of the year, and being able to look back on what my priorities were at different stages of my life. (Spoiler: your 30’s bring a lot more patience and realism. At 25 the list was all macro, tangible goals, and now they’re a lot broader and more realistic. I’ve traded run a marathon, learn guitar and Spanish, forthings like be kinder to yourself.)
Here’s a peak at 31:
1. Buy a matching suit
Still on the hunt. I’m thinkin baggy, I’m thinkin pink. Send me your recs.
2. Find a good therapist ✔️
This is probably the most important thing I’ve accomplished of late. After four therapists and two psychiatrists over the last two years, I’ve finally found the right fit for me. The tangible, noticeable progress I’ve made in my mental health is one of the things I’m most truly proud of. Not only is processing grief a battle you shouldn’t have to face solo, but I’ve unearthed a lot of other things to work through. APPARENTLY I’ve got some pretty deep rooted issues with co-dependency and separation anxiety, along with a whole other mixed bag of idiosyncratic and needy diagnoses (YOU LIKE ME, RIGHT?!), and finding the right shrink has been God Damn game changing.
I think everyone on the planet should always be in therapy always, but for anyone reading this who’s been on the fence about it – GO! It can take a while to find the right fit, but it is completely worth it. You can look for one through your insurance website, or use psychology today. There are also some really great online resources right now where you can sync up with a therapist digitally. The two I’ve heard consistently recommended are Better Help and Talk Space.
Mental health and self improvement are things I am vehemently passionate about, and I’m happy to talk to anyone should you have any questions.
3. One Second A Day Videos ✔️
If you’ve spent any time with me over the last year, you’ve heard me exclaim “I NEED TO GET MY ONE SECOND!” Which means one second of video documenting the moment. This App, which I’m pretty obsessed with, helps you store 1-1.5 seconds of footage into a calendar for the year and mashes the whole thing together for you. I started doing it in August of last year, and now I have a 9 & 1/2 minute video of almost every day of my life all strung together! It helps me document the smallest moments to the larger ones, and it’s truly amazing how much you can chronicle your life through such small beats.
4. Work Towards Getting Mom an Exhibit
For anyone who doesn’t know, my mother was a brilliant artist. And, as a fate that befalls so many virtuosos, her work didn’t find it’s full audience during her time here. We have an entire spare room filled with canvases and watercolors that I’m determined to find a home for in a gallery exhibit. I just couldn’t make that happen this year.
5. Read some Toni Morrison and Joan Didion
I was determined to read more important female authors – particularly essayists – and fell short. I was reminded of this goal when Toni Morrison passed away last month, and now I feel even more remiss I wasn’t familiar with her work before. Keeping this goal for the new year.
6. Sign up for a CSA ✔️
As part of becoming a more ethical consumer (see number 18), I started becoming way more aware of where everything I acquire and absorb comes from. That has meant a lot more shopping locally, and signing up for THIS CSA is something I’m really excited about. (I actually just registered last week! I’ll report back on my experience more later)
7. Make More of Mornings (up at 7)✔️
I’ve realized that mornings are the most valuable, precious, alive time for me. I’m currently writing this post before work at 8. I grew up in a late night household and worked evenings for the majority of my 20’s, so accepting that I might be an early bird has been a big shift, but one I’m happy about. Those 2 hours before work include journaling, writing, stretching, chores, and always, always coffee and music.
8. Take a Class for Fun ✔️
After what’s been realistically 15 years of wanting to try ceramics, I took a class over the summer and became a member at a studio. It was a really great practice for me since it requires a TON of patience – NOT my strong suit – and is a really zen practice as you have to be willing to fail over and over (and over and over) again. As someone who works on phones and computers all day, it was also a great way to get my hands dirty and be physically unable to look at my phone. It’s something I’ve decided not to continue – it’s too expensive to be bad at it, and I’m too busy to maximize the membership and get good at it, but trying a new kind of class each year is definitely a practice to continue.
9. Print Photos and Make Albums
This is something I really need to do. I take SO many pictures, and even the film ones still live on my computer. As I’ve learned more about film photography and the developing process, I’ve become pickier about printing (I hate things just scanned onto photo paper), so I just need to get it together and find a developing company I like and do it.
10. Seasonal Bucket Lists ✔️
If you can’t tell by this post… I. LOVE. LISTS. Last summer I started making a checklist for each season of things to do, and I’ve been having a total ball. Swim in the ocean, buy Trader Joes peonies, buy a statement coat, see a basketball game. Plussed-up picnics, Dia de los Muertos, make pickles, Palm Springs trip. You get the idea. It’s proven an excellent motivator to try new things, or just acted as a reminder to do the things I love, maximizing each season.
11. Better Posture & Remove “like”✔️
These two will be a perpetual work in progress, and I know the posture really still needs some work, but I KNOW that I’ve cut down the use of superfluous “likes” in my day to day speaking, which I feel pretty proud of. I vividly remember intentionally inserting it into my speech as a kid because a cool older kid told me to… (buries face in hands.) As a lover of language (and let’s be honest – an excessive talker), it has been an interesting look at how intentional I am with my speaking and has definitely stretched my vocabulary in an exciting way.
12. Throw Cranes✔️
For Christmas 2017, following the worst year of my life, one of my cousins gave me the incredibly thoughtful gift of making me one thousand paper origami cranes by hand. In Japanese tradition, folding 1,000 origami cranes gives you a chance to make one special wish come true. By giving me the cranes, she handed her wish over to me for a brighter future. It took me until this year to decide what wish I wanted to use them on and how I wanted to make it. I got some champagne and headed to a bridge downtown where the water flows to the ocean, threw the cranes over, and made my wish. It was a super special experience.
13. Switch to grownup email address ✔️
I’m acutely aware of how unprofessional (and just kind of lame) it is to have your username from high school still be your email address, but life just slips through your fingers and all of a sudden you’re still using taytayvs at 31. Thank goodness gmail lets you connect accounts so you can look professional but still have everything delivered to your teenage address.
14. Start Podcast
Sooooo…. when I made this goal I didn’t fully realize just how intense making a good podcast is, so this extra workload was put on the back burner…… for now.
15. Get finances in better order✔️
I GUESS I did this??? I raised my credit score, paid off the bulk of my credit card debt, maintained my savings (note: did not multiply it…), and increased my 401K contribution (MARY IF YOU’RE READING THIS I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY!) I also started using the digit app which helps you save for specific goals. Mine: Home Ownership (I live in LA so this is a RUL pipe dream, but still.), an Emergency Fund, and a Fancy Piece of Jewelry.
THAT BEING SAID – I am not someone who will ever be referred to as “good with money.” I spend way too much on fancy wines and travel, and consistently slide into payday with legit $30 in my checking. Budgeting is something I desperately need to work on. IT’S A PROCESS GUYS, OK?!
16. Take more Pictures without Sunglasses on✔️
This may seem silly, but when putting together a photo album for my dad for Christmas, I realized I have my sunglasses on in almost every picture. This is in part because my eyes are sensitive but I’m a sucker for natural light, but it didn’t NOT send me spiraling about my insecurities, or start wondering if I’m subconsciously using them as a wall… So I decided I wanted more pictures where you can actually see my face, if only to soothe my vanity later in life as I begin to look further and further like Winston Churchill.
17. Learn to develop film at home
There are a lot of different theories on this one, but the biggest deterrent for me is that I shoot in color. Color processing is much more complicated, and the chemicals required for color can be more harmful, particularly for ladies and fertility stuff. (I’m not especially interested in spawning, but I like to keep my options open.) I’d love to take a class on it, even just for the experience, but doing it at home isn’t worth the squeeze for me at the moment. Unless an alien takes over my body and becomes obsessed with Black and White.
18. Become a More Ethical Consumer: Make the Switch Towards Clean Beauty, Natural Products, Ethical Companies, and Overall Sustainable Living. ✔️
OK. This was huge for me and became a massive passion and interest. I’ve actually got a TWO PART post coming your way soon about this entire process and a TON of things I’ve learned about that I can’t wait to share with you! As such, I’ll keep it brief here. Suffice to say there is SO MUCH MORE we can all be doing every day (and relatively easily) that can help our planet, our bodies and our global community. (You can take a peek at this IG highlight for some initial recs.)
19. Up My Skincare Routine ✔️
A lot of this happened naturally as I got more and more into clean beauty. In the natural beauty world serums and potions abound, and it snowballed into a really fun process of finding more and more ways to take care of my complexion.
20. Buy a Typewriter✔️
I’m a nostalgiaphile and love things that recall the past. Despite working in social and digital media, I try to find moments of analogue and antiquity wherever I can. Records over MP3’s, vintage over franchise, paperbacks over kindle. I’m also on a mission to send more snail mail. All of this has lead me to many nights of swooning over refurbished typewriters online. Juuusstt when I was about to invest, my sweet grandmother moved into a different place, bestowing me with her olive green 1950s Smiths Corona and I can’t wait to pick it up next month! I’m so excited for it to be reunited with my grandparents’ old chair and coffee table that also live with me, and to use the same machinery that wrote both my and my dad’s birth announcement! Maybe I should make chain letters a thing again…
21. Get TSA Pre-Check
Man, this one I just didn’t deal with because going to LAX when you’re not already flying out sounds awful. But I really wish I had. I’ve flown eight times round trip since my last birthday, making that sixteen waits in security lines that I could’ve skipped through. I’ve got a lot more travel coming up (for the foreseeable REST OF MY LIFE) and think I need to just suck it up and make it happen.
22. Develop book proposal/pitch
Much like my dreams of hosting a podcast, I got a little overzealous about how much I have the bandwidth to accomplish in a year. I’m still loosely developing the treatment for the book I’d like to write, but I decided for sanity and productivity’s sake to refocus my attention in the essay/blog/column arena.
23. Get writing published somewhere ✔️
AND SPEAKING OF COLUMNS! I’m excited to share that I very recently was brought on to be a contributor for the rad lady mag Cinnamon! I haven’t officially published with them yet, but I’m giving myself the checkmark and telling you to keep your eyes peeled!
24. Big Trip with Ellie✔️
I’ve been best buds with my friend Ellie for 19 years, and in all that time we’ve never done a big vacation together. We’ve done lots of fun little ones, and even lived together for an ill-fated six months when we were 18, but I’ve always wanted to do a larger scale girls trip. In February, we headed to Mexico City for 5 days and had THE. BEST. TIME. If you have even the slightest interest in going, I can not recommend it highly enough. It’s SO fun, and vibrant and fascinating. The art and architecture is overwhelming, the people are lovely, the city itself feels lush and vibrant, and of course, the food is bananas. I started planning my next trip back before I even left.
25. Start Taking Vitamins ✔️
When I had my annual physical, the doc told me I needed to take B12 supplements, which spiraled a further investigation into all the vitamins I should be taking (👋, 30s!), andI took this quiz to help me figure it out. (This company also will provide you with personalized vitamin packs that are SO cute and handy, but after making price comparisons I decided it was way more reasonable to buy in bulk and separate into a little daily container.) I currently take B12, D3, DIM and Fish Oil and am easily allured by trending supplements and pretty packaging.
26. Buy a Point & Shoot Film Camera ✔️
I LOVE shooting on film, but carrying my heavy Minolta around with it’s detachable lenses and flash can be extremely cumbersome and not ideal for hopping around town. I did some research and found an Olympus Mju at a flea market that I keep in my purse and am really happy with. It’s teaching me a LOT about film types, and also is reminding me to embrace decisiveness as I’ve gotten a bit trigger happy end ended up with entire rolls from a single night out that nobody really needs documentation of…
27. Switch to Adult Lady Bras ✔️
After living in t-shirt bras by Victoria’s Secret PINK for more years than I care to mention, I decided it was time to move on from the bra favored by middle school girls worldwide. I did some research and tried these and love them. They’ve been a gateway drug to other more “adult” purchases in my closet and I’m excited to find more.
28. Level Up Kitchen Wares ✔️
DID YOU KNOW that having good knives can make the entire difference in how pleasurable cooking is?? I didn’t – UNTIL I got some. In the last two years or so, I’ve gone from burning down the house-adjacent to actually wanting to cook at home. It’s been a pleasant yet surreal transition, and the act of slowly swapping out my ten (yes TEN) year old pots, pans, knives, what-have-you’s, has made me look forward to it even more.
29. Take an International Trip✔️
As mentioned, I had a BLAST in Mexico City, and I also got to go to Vancouver for work. Taking at least one trip out of the country annually is a pretty big priority for me, especially while I have relatively few responsibilities in my life. There are so many incredible places in the US I’m still dying to visit, but few things (for me) compare to getting to experience a culture and lifestyle totally foreign from my own. I’m excited to report I’ve already got trips to Barcelona, London & Paris on the docket for 32.
30. Exercise an Average of 3 days a week
SOME sort of exercise goal has been on my list every single damn year, and I don’t think I’ve ever accomplished it. I’ve never really been very in touch with my body, and I realize now this will always be some level of struggle for me. I got into a great rhythm with yoga the first half of the year but then fell off that wagon, and am now getting back into running as much as my knees allow. For next year’s list I’ve included a wider variety of things to keep me consistently moving and engaged, including working with a trainer, trying a pilates reformer and taking a dance class. To be seen….
31. Invest in a Nice Vacuum✔️
This might come in second place to finding a shrink in terms of game changing. In LA, apartments gather dust like it’s their job, and the obtainment of THIS cordless vacuum has given me life. (Full disclosure: I say obtain because it was actually a super generous gift I received when my aunt found out I was saving up for one.) The reason this was such a big deal not only that I feel like a 50’s infomercial prancing around my house and cleaning with glee, but it taught me an incredibly momentous lesson about investing in the “boring” every day things. The more you can do to enjoy the mundane tasks, the less mundane your whole life becomes.
Hi there – are you STILL reading?! WOW. Thanks for sticking with me! I’d love to know in the comments what are some goals you’ve set for yourself in recent years? I’m building out my list for 33 and could use some inspiration…