Monday, May 2, 2011

Thirty before 30

I recently celebrated my 27th birthday. Nothing like a jarring suckerpunch from my old friend reality (what? how has it been 5 years since I graduated college?! and where the crap did these grey hairs come from?), but I'm starting to feel a sense of calm about it.

My parents, brother and I went out for the customary birthday dinner at the Casa tonight (travels and work pushed it back a few weeks). Over a dirty martini, I groaned that I was in my late twenties. My dad took a swig of his Busch Light and said, "Babe, I wish I was in my late twenties." He said it lovingly, shaking his head at his headstrong daughter, the one that has a habit of wishing life away and yet remains the most sentimental girl in any room.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a Daddy's Girl. So it's fitting that a simple comment my dad made would put my mind at ease about something I've been obsessing about. My dad recently retired at the age of 50, not because he wanted to but because that was the hand he was dealt. He hurt his back very badly at work and, long-story-short, has permanent nerve damage in his feet, making it very difficult to be on his feet for very long, or really do any of the things that he loves to do. And it breaks my heart.

But I have time. That's what I came here to say. I have time to do all the things that I love to do. I have time to do all the things that I keep saying I'd love to do. Being 27 just gives me a little bit of wisdom about the things I want and the resources to do them.

So, behold, thirty things I will do before I turn 30:

1. Work for someone with vision. (If this turns out to be myself, then so be it.)
2. Re-learn French.
3. Get microdermabrasion.
4. Take guitar lessons.
5. Learn to sew.
6. Buy a great sofa.
7. Hang old family photos and create a space for new memories in my stairwell.
8. Teach at the college level.
9. Pay off my debt to my parents (and therefore become debt-free, other than mortgage and student loans).
10. Get a tattoo.
11. Teach Henley a new trick.
12. Watch the sun rise and set consecutively with someone special.
13. Plant something in my yard.
14. "Study" photography, get a half-decent camera and learn Photoshop.
15. Go on a backpacking trip.
16. Join a rowing club.
17. Donate my hair to Locks of Love.
18. Sell a piece of refinished furniture.
19. Create a "studio" in my basement.
20. Take a graphic design class.
21. Go vegan for 4 months. Bonus points for completely organic.
22. Run a 5k and not die.
23. Plan an awesome 30th birthday celebration trip.
24. Visit my 6th country outside the U.S.
25. Have 50 lunch dates. That's one every 21 or so days.
26. Shoot a gun.
27. Do something creative with the huge piece of drywall in my living room.
28. Put off dying my hair. Embrace the grey before I start to cover it.
29. Buy a kayak.
30. Be completely at peace with turning 30, well before it actually happens.

I know myself well enough to know that preparing for the next step is going to be a big part of this one. I also know that I have a lot of work to do before I just relax and let life take the wheel. I have a feeling #30 is going to be the hardest to achieve, and yet the biggest achievement on the list. I better get moving...