Help! (I Need Suggestions) Help!

In the immortal words of my darling Beatles:

When I was younger, so much younger than today . . .

Help me if you can—I’m feeling down, and I do appreciate you bein’ round!

(A quick aside: The Beatles are always right about everything, in case you were unaware.)

To the point, then. The date is Wednesday, October 12, 2011. In approximately 14 months (shy a few days), Yours Truly will be tabbing out of her twenties, only to enter into the next big stage in life: the thirtysomethings. In no way do I consider one in her thirties to be old (I’d say I’m a good 40+ years away from that), but I do think turning thirty is a milestone that shouldn’t go unacknowledged or even uncelebrated. While as an adolescent I had hoped I’d have cured cancer and won myself a Pulitzer by thirty, it just isn’t going to happen, my friends. And that’s okay with me! But that begs another question: What is it, exactly, that I do want to do before I hit the thirty mark? Now that I’m conceivably close to reasonably plotting out the course of my last twentysomething year? What am I going to do with myself for the next few months to make sure that my twenties account for more than economic instability and a long line of mistakes and foibles? To redirect (yet again) to an unnecessary piece of pop culture, how can I—like short-lived Jack Dawson of the HMS Titanic—make it count?

For the last few weeks, like many other almost-thirtysomethings I know, I’ve been thinking about building a 30-before-30 list. The goal of this list is not to challenge myself to accomplish a litany of absurd tasks (such as: Climb Mt. Everest by 30; Publish a series of science fiction novels by 30; Drop 4,193 pounds by 30; etc.), but instead to give myself a fixed set of realistic goals that I believe I will be grateful to have done. Some of the “to dos” may require more work than others, but I think that’s what I wanted this list to be: a combination of larger accomplishments, aligned with some smaller tasks that would perhaps get buried under the larger-task radar. This public broadcast of the list will hopefully bind me to my goals a little more fully, seeing as you will all find me a poor excuse for a woman should I not put my best efforts into accomplishing what I’m setting out to do.

So here, friends, is the list as it stands today:

So there it is: a combination of the large and the small, all of which will be worth my doing. But if you’re quick, you may have noticed that the list is one entry short—which is where you come in.

Help, friends. (I’m pretty sure it’s only those of you who I dearly love who read this blog, really.) What should be #30 on this list? What am I overlooking here? Or what would you challenge me to do, if you were making a list of your own? What could I add to the list that—unlike the more self-serving tasks—makes an effort to improve the world around me? Or, what is something on this list that needs to go, in order to be replaced by something more worth the time and effort? I want some help from you all—the people who know me best.

Take a look at this pathetic creature and tell me she doesn’t need you.

Whaddya’ll say? I need, trust, and value your ideas the most, so please be generous with them! And in turn I promise to you that this will not turn into some warped Julie/Julia project, whereby I curse like a sailor and treat my husband like garbage for the sake of a mediocrely-written blog, only to cheat on him so that I can write a book about that, too. This is my solemn vow.



PS – I’d love to hear if any of you have similar resolutions that you’re working on. Do you have your own list? Did you handle (or are you handling) the thirtysomething changing-of-the-decade guard with panache or panic?Β 


14 responses to “Help! (I Need Suggestions) Help!

  1. Catherine Sawyer

    Host some sort of party!! Themed, of course.

  2. First, I’d like to say that I admire you for looking ahead to it; when I turned 30 I had a 6-month-old and wasn’t really paying attention, so 31 hit with an unexpected force that knocked me down. Now I feel like all my larger goals are on a hiatus until I don’t have such pressing responsibilities. I envy you that.

    Second, I will have to ponder on an addition to your list… My first thought, which is just something that I have been thinking about for myself, is to write down stories heard from grandparents. I only have one grandparent left, and I wish I had paid more attention and written down what the other three had to say. Seeing as how you’re a writer, it might not be so difficult. πŸ™‚

    Oh, and I had to laugh when I saw “Reread Moby Dick,” because mine would say, “Actually finish Crime & Punishment,” and I feel like they’re the same amount of work.

    • S– I love your idea of recording some sort of family history. I live near my grandparents for the first time in my life and could maybe do something along those lines. Also, when it comes to rereading MB, I must admit—I think I’ve read it all at some point, but it’s hard to say for sure. I know I’ve read at least 80% of it. So perhaps “Reading MB all the way through” might be more accurate. I never even tried Crime & Punishment, you brave soul!

  3. The choice of font makes “Finish my quilt” look like “Finish my guilt” which might be the end goal of this list.

    I have not read Infinite Jest, so if you want to do a two-person book club and plow through that, I’m game.

  4. Oh, I love this! I was thinking of my goals for being 29 but thought in broad terms, so I love the list of 30 before 30!! Going to think and post an entry too. Yours is really good.
    I like Sarah’s idea. Maybe give away something or simplify something in your life? I’ll keep pondering.

  5. I know the panic of turning 29 and feeling like you have 1 year left to get your shit together! I was going through it this time last year. I came up with a short list of things to do before my 30th but, in true Angel fashion, didn’t write it down anywhere that I can remember. I wanted to do a marathon, a sub-2hr 1/2 marathon, cook weekly meals for friends, bake more, read all of Jane Austen’s books…
    So, I didn’t achieve all of these but I made valid attempts. And now I’m really excited about entering my 30’s next month! (honestly!) Because, even though I haven’t gotten all my shit together, I did accomplish a lot of great things this year. I feel like I’m a better person than I was 12 months ago. I’m exercising more regularly, cooking new things, baking more often, getting more involved in my church, reading good literature, and looking for more things to challenge me!
    No matter what you put on your list and what you check off your list over the next year I hope you feel the same way I do this time next year. I think your list is awesome. And I think YOU are awesome!!
    I hope you have a great year of living life to the fullest!

    • Angel, you’re awesome yourself! I hope I can look back on 29 (and every year, for that matter) and feel such joy. And hey—why don’t you come up here again for the Fayetteville half and give that 2-hr-time another shot? Maybe I can run the 5K part of it myself, and then we can go eat at Village Inn afterwards. πŸ™‚

  6. List looks so different than my 30 list was. I only had one goal; to get married. I told Edd this right before I turned 28 and in typical Edd fashion he said to who??? Broke my heart at the moment but as you know it all worked out… After reading your list, I’m inspired to do a 50 before 50 and since I’ll be 46 at the end of this year; I better get started…

    • Suze, if I had my own version of Edd in my life, perhaps “get married” would be on my list too. Ha! And also, my sister’s already got the marriage thing covered, so I’m off the hook for a while. πŸ™‚

  7. Well I hope you’re training for the Fayetteville 5K in December, because you are running it with me.

    Your 30th goal should be to visit Crystal Bridges. Maybe even make it interesting and do it during the mad weeks following the grand opening.

  8. My one thing to achieve before I turned 30 was to learn how to drive (hitherto I had lived in cities and towns with decent mass transit systems or cycled and had been too poor for lessons). I managed by the skin of my teeth (10 days). So, I have to say that if there is a basic life skill you haven’t yet mastered then go for that!

    I’m with you on the dress sewing thing.

    Victoria x

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