26 things before 27

For the past couple of years I’ve used my birthday as a time of reflection on where I’ve been and where I’d like to go. There’s nothing concretely symbolic about birthdays, just like there’s nothing magical about choosing January 1 as the day that you’ll really start making an effort to get this whole life thing right. But obviously the older I get the more this phrase rings true: “The days are long, but the years are short,” and I don’t want to look back on my 20s and wish I would have slowed down to live a little.

So, for me, the New Year is for resolutions, but birthdays are for bucket lists. The 26 things I’d like to do before I turn 27:

  1. Travel to New York City
  2. Ride a bike to a different town
  3. Take a handful of yoga classes
  4. Learn to bake a pie
  5. Visit at least two new states
  6. Fill up a journal
  7. Paint something
  8. Write a poem or a song
  9. Take a solo overnight trip
  10. Read all the unread books I own
  11. Run a half marathon
  12. Travel outside the country
  13. Eat at CC’s City Broiler here in Columbia
  14. Find an organization I think does good work here in town and volunteer my time for them
  15. Send a lot more snail mail
  16. Learn to do a few easy car-maintenance things myself
  17. Shoot a fish with a bow
  18. Plan a trip with just one other person
  19. Keep some house plants alive
  20. Learn to cook a few traditional southern dishes
  21. Keep up with this here blog but also don’t worry about it too much
  22. Spend a whole night looking at the stars
  23. Cook a nice meal for some friends. Cocktails and all.
  24. Join a D-league sand volleyball team
  25. Go to several Mizzou football and basketball games
  26. Re-do a piece of furniture
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25 lessons in my 25th year

  1. Clean as you go. While cooking, while living.
  2. Dallas is diverse, flawed, beautiful, resilient. It’s also not home.
  3. I like audiobooks.
  4. Sunscreen is always a good choice.
  5. How hard it is to move two states away when you’re full-fledged adult who has acquired some stuff.
  6. How easy it is to move two states away. Like all the sudden nothing about your life is the same as it was the week before and you aren’t sure how you even got here.
  7. I don’t need a DVR or cable to be happy. Not even close.
  8. The Bachelor franchise is crap. (Yes, unfortunately I did NOT learn this until the year of our Lord 2016.)
  9. Who Father John Misty is.
  10. Seriously, trust your gut.
  11. Staying engaged in politics is exhausting but worthwhile.
  12. If a fitness tracker motivates you to work out even half the time, it was worth it.
  13. I don’t have to apologize for liking crappy country music or instagramming my glass of wine to people who I would consider “edgy,” and I don’t have to pretend I’m not interested in weird movies and progressive politics for others. Life became so much more fun once I stopped trying to fit in either box.
  14. I like Indian food.
  15. Columbia is definitely still as great as I thought it was. Maybe even better.
  16. You’ll mostly get the jobs you’re passionate about.
  17. Working in higher-ed is a different beast than the corporate world.
  18. The fake succulents aren’t nearly as satisfactory, but at least they last.
  19. Books are always worth the money.
  20. Starbucks is almost never worth the money.
  21. A little self-care goes a long way.
  22. Alone time is a precious commodity to be grateful for while I still have plenty of it.
  23. Plane tickets are getting cheaper. Google flight alerts are handy.
  24. Changing your hair is actually really fun.
  25. I’m a completely different person than I was five years ago. I wonder who I’ll be at 30.