photo courtesy my awesome roomie. jazz hands courtesy excitement over hearing wild seals in San Francisco.
I was out for a run with a friend of mine the other day and shared my surprise that my birthday was almost here & I'd barely thought about it. This, if you know me, is unusual (oh, birthdays. I love you). She smiled, laughed & said 'it's because things are so good right now!' And at the risk of sounding like a giant cheeseball-- I think she's right. Easily, 24 has been the best year of my life thus far. I've been thinking about everything that this year has brought me, and I just can't wipe this stupid grin off of my face.
I began writing these birthday lists as a practical, let's-do-this approach to owning my life for the last five years, purposefully shaping the bigger picture into a story I'd be proud to tell-- and frankly, it's worked. Coming up with this list for 25 was a little difficult in the best way possible. No longer do I feel the need to write it down on paper to try something new, no extra pushes are necessary to step outside of my comfort zone. For the most part, I step outside of my comfort zone on a regular basis without the same fear that used to accompany it (except for some things-- I'm lookin at you, 'cook a whole chicken').
So today, on my 25th birthday, as I stare in the mirror at the bare freckled face I once had to convince myself to leave makeup-less, I'm happy. I'm genuinely proud of the life I'm living, and I'm ready to set the intention for another spectacular year on this planet. Let's do this, 25!
2. Make my own hula hoop. Become this girl.
3. Run a half marathon (!!)-- is this cheating because I've already signed up for a race and I've been training for the last two months? Oh well. More to come on this, probably, because I actually enjoy distance running. Who am I? What did I do with Mary?
4. Go berry-picking at a local farm.
5. Make cheese. Eat it. Repeat.
6. Buy a set of acrylic paints & some canvas so that I can paint at home. Where, in my tiny apartment will I find room to paint? Let's cross that bridge when we come to it.
7. Go social-media free for a week. I feel oddly zen about this. Bring it, quietude of my mind.
8. Make gluten-free fish & chips at home. This is the one food that I haven't been able to sufficiently replace since my celiac diagnosis, and I miiiiisssss it. Dangit, remnants of my London study abroad. This will also hopefully serve to conquer my intimidation of a) cooking fish other than salmon and b) deep-frying things without burning them. Fingers crossed.
9. Go zip lining. Does this exist outside of tropical rain forests? Specifically, in the upper midwest? Also, did I mention I'm moderately scared of heights? As in, not when I'm in tall buildings but yes when I'm strapped to a piece of twine with no soft place to fall. This'll be fun.
10. Do an unassisted yoga headstand.
11. Do 25 Random Acts of Kindness (RAOKs). Tally but don't blog about them because hello, defeating the purpose.
12. Try a ballet barre fitness class. Resist urge to dress in the leotard, tutu + topknot uniform from the ballet classes of my youth.
13. Write some fiction. Fun fact: when I was 10, I wrote a 200+ page fantasy novel on our family's ancient PC. My ever-loving parents humored the crap outta me and helped me print and bind it and everything. I can guarantee you it is a cringeworthy terrible Harry Potter mimic, but still. Writing fiction for fun went out the window way back in high school & I'd like to try it again, just to see. I can also one billion percent guarantee that whatever I write will never see the light of day, so this shouldn't feel as intimidating as it does. Right?
14. Go geocaching.
15. Do some financial planning. Student loans are due, man. Time to put on my big girl pants and plan for the future.
16. Visit a new city! The ultimate goal is at least one place I've never been at least once a year. Last year was San Francisco-- who knows where this year will take me!
17. Try the November Project. As a general rule, I dislike bootcamp-esque things. But this past year has been about kicking my own butt and after reading Ali's blog post & doing a little hunting for a November Project in my town, I can't not give it a try. Free and awesome and butt-kicking and local? Sign me up.
18. Drive. In. Movie. This has been on my list for millennia, apparently. It's happening this year. (done 6/27/14)
19. Drink raw liver smoothie shots consistently for a week. Oof, apparently I'm a glutton for weird food punishment. I finally put on my big girl pants and made chicken liver mousse this year and surprise surprise, I loved it. Surprise surprise, raw liver still eeks me out. Surprise surprise, pastured liver is phenomenal for you and so now I must give it a whirl and see how it makes me feel!
20. Learn how to change a flippin' tire. I skipped Life Skills 101, I guess.
22. Try canning something. Try not to let my innate desire to ignore directions and do my own thing cause a massive jam explosion in my kitchen.
23. Get my hair done at a blow-dry bar because I'm fancy and a grownup and I can.
24. Keep saying yes.
25. Give love like it grows on trees. Practice forgiveness like I'm made out of it. Let go of the rules and just enjoy. Listen to my gut. Stand with feet planted firmly in the earth & head far up in the clouds. Look for the magic, leave every person and every day better than I found them, take deep breaths. Be grateful. Be happy. :)