Published on January 9, 2013, by

I’ve tried to categorize my goals by type thus far, but these hold outs defy categorization:

Credit Card Dog

This dog officially has more credit cards than I do. (Photo by eikootje on Flickr.)

Thing #13 – Fix My Credit

Credit seems to be a hassle for everyone.  You struggle to get it, you struggle to keep it up, and it’s fraught with Catch-22 scenarios.  I did some damage to my credit when I was in my early 20’s (remember those bad decisions I mentioned?) and opted out after that.  I’ve paid off my car, but that’s really the only major action my credit report has seen in more than 5 years.  Because I’d never imagined myself buying a house or getting a credit card, I wasn’t really too concerned about it.  Honestly, I was a sucker.  I had no idea how much money I could save by using a credit card and earning mile/points.  Now I follow The Points Guy and I’m ready to get in on some of those rewards.  Before I do that, though, my credit needs a bit of a face lift.  Not a huge one, I hope – we’ll see when I finally order my credit report!

Tim's New Car

Tim, about to drive his brand new car off the lot.  Lookin’ good, babe!

Thing #21 – Get A New Car (Or Move Where One Is Not Needed)

I waffled about putting this Thing on the list for a while.  My trusty little 10-year-old car is certainly “good enough” for me right now, I don’t want a car payment, and I really don’t enjoy driving.  After I got this car, I was in a bad accident – that and a number of other issues that I’ll discuss later have made me fearful of upgrading.  But I know that I’ll have to do it eventually because my car won’t last forever.  The only way to avoid it would be to move to a place where I didn’t need a car – adding that caveat to the list made this goal a little easier to focus on.

My Living Room

This was taken in 2010, the last time my living room looked this clean and organized. I’ve only accumulated more stuff since.

Thing #25 – Refuse To Buy Physical Things For A Year

I have a love-hate relationship with STUFF.  I started out denying myself the permission to buy stuff – my money went to “more important” things, I wasn’t worth it, someone else wouldn’t like it, and so on.  When I moved into a place by myself (after therapy, which dealt with the “worth” problem) and realized that I could decorate it any way I wanted to, I kind of went crazy.  I definitely made up for all the time I spent NOT buying stuff I wanted.  Not that these are fancy things by any means – it’s mostly knick knacks like picture frames, lamps, small statues, etc.  And honestly, some of that stuff really does make me happy when I see it – my environment is full of things I love and that can’t be underestimated.  But now I just have SO MUCH STUFF.  After Tim moved into my townhouse, we were at capacity.  After my business partnership ended and I took on the physical equipment, it became absolutely BURSTING.  I feel buried by it, and I also feel a little guilty for being such a “good” consumer.  I want to take a break from consumption – not to re-learn self-denial, but to remind myself that I truly have “enough”.

AZ name change form

I’m not as worried about filling out the form as I am about the $400 it takes to file. Ouch!

Thing #26 – Legally Change My Last Name

There was a trend that started in the 70’s or 80’s of people hyphenating their children’s last names.  To everyone that did that – ugh.  To those thinking of doing it – don’t.  Just don’t.  I have a hyphenated last name and no one can ever find me in an alphabetical list, online forms occasionally won’t let me enter ‘-‘ because it’s a special character, and though my two last names are simple, when you put them together, people can’t figure them out.  I have always disliked my last name – when I was a kid, it set me apart from others at a time when that was downright dangerous, and as an adult, it leads to a lot of confusion and eyerolling.  “No, I’m not married.  No, I’m not divorced.  No, I didn’t change my name – just try looking it up under M instead of T.”  I have wanted to drop the last half of my last name since I found out that it’s a thing you can do, I’ve just never prioritized the cost or the hassle.  I’m looking forward to getting this done right before my passport expires!

Thing #28 – Read 300 Books

Reading is one of my favorite things!  I don’t understand, nor would I want to spend any large amount of time with, people who DO NOT read.  In fact, what sets this goal apart from the others is that I might have accidentally accomplished it anyway.  That is, it involves reading an average of 30 books a year, and while I’m not sure how many I read in that time, I have the feeling it could be pretty close to 30.  So why put it on the list at all?  Reading 300 books is like taking 300 separate adventures, which is what this blog is all about.  It will also help me read with more awareness and give me a venue to talk about what I’m reading.  You can see what I’m reading, how I’m progressing, and recommend books to me on!  Please make recommendations – finding 300 great books seems more daunting than reading them.

start at thirty logo

Thing #30 – Write In This Blog For 10 Years

Remember how I said I’m bad at finishing things?  That’s what this goal is all about.  Working on this blog, in and of itself, is a huge commitment.  Putting the time and work in will be a major accomplishment.  It’s something I can look back on and say… I did that!  Even if I never develop a readership, I’ll still be proud that I put myself out there.  And if nothing else, I’ll have an amazing document of all my adventures.  Wish me luck!

Published on January 5, 2013, by

Being silly is serious business.  I think it might be one of the best things someone can be.  Sure, silly is occasionally embarrassing  but it’s also really fun.  I like things that give me a chance to laugh at myself because it’s a good reminder that we’re all a little ridiculous sometimes.  Only when we take ourselves too seriously does that become a bad thing.  So, to flex my silly muscles (of which there are many):

Karaoke Time

It’s Karaoke Time! Picture taken by Sarah Sosiak on Flickr.

Thing #10: Sing a Song at Karaoke

I absolutely love to sing.  I do it in the shower, in the car, and even while I ride my bike if there’s no one standing around.  And I’m TERRIBLE at it.  My voice naturally has a ‘cartoon squirrel’ aspect to it that’s no good for song.  I know this about myself and it has prevented me from singing in public even though it’s something I occasionally want to do.  I’m going to put my self-consciousness and fear of judgement aside so I can belt something out… even if I get booed.


The adorable Corgisaurus… someday you will be mine.

Thing #11: Get Another Dog

What makes this a silly goal?  Maybe it’s silly because it’s no big deal – anyone can go out and get a dog any time.  There are 78.2 million dogs living in 39% of the households in the US.  Having a dog is pretty darn normal.  But I don’t want just any old dog!  I want to get a corgi, which might be the silliest breed of dog.  I want a rescue corgi that I can name Toby, Sharky, or Isobel, and that I can occasionally put in a dinosaur costume.  Like this:

Corgisaurus with Caveman

or this!

Baby Corgisaurus
or this!
Corgisaurus Rex


Lady Gaga Corgi

Yes, I realize this is a Lady Gaga costume. The best Lady Gaga costume EVER.

So why haven’t I gotten my corgisaurus yet?  1) I don’t want to be a bad dog parent and get another lil’ guy when the Grif and I are still adjusting to his diabetes diagnosis, and 2) I live in a townhouse with a miniscule back yard.  It’s 100 sq ft of concrete, actually.  Not ideal for two little doggies – not even the best choice for one.  Oh, and 3) I don’t want to buy from a breeder.  I’d rather rescue an old or sick, abandonded corgi (or a mix, I am not above getting a mutt) that really needed a good home.  Adoption is a better fit for me and that takes time, too.  But eventually the right dog in need will find a home (and a costume) with me.

Photobooth Pics

Every classy party should have a photobooth for people to get un-classy in.

Thing #14: Throw a Big Party

I guess this doesn’t, at first glance, seem like something that should be on a life list.  Who can’t throw a party?  You buy some booze and invite your friends – easy peasy.  Well, that might be a party but that’s not really what I’m talking about.  I want something bigger!

Wedding are pretty much the only socially acceptable huge party an adult can throw for themselves but, to be totally honest, I may never get married.  While I can handle that, I reject the idea that it means I never get to spend a stupid amount of money on a fun event just to celebrate family and friendship.  I want to throw a party with a theme!  And a dessert buffet!  And a photo booth!  And an excuse to dress up in something ridiculous and princessy!  I was going to do that this year but life got in the way, so I had to put it on the list.

This Year Will Be A Good Year

Postcard sent to and published by PostSecret

Thing #24 – Have A Secret Posted By PostSecret

Have you seen the PostSecret website?  Or read any of the books?  If so, you may already know how truly amazing it is to see your own secret reflected in someone else’s work.  From the moment I found the blog, probably 4 or 5 years ago, PostSecret has been my Monday morning ritual.  No matter what kind of mood I’m in, it resonates with me – it’s life affirming and hopeful; it’s heartbreaking and tear-inducing.  I’m a regular reader and I even save all of “my” secrets (the secrets I have but someone else put on paper) to my computer, but I’ve never made my own.  There are things – some serious, some not so much – that I’ve never said (and may never say) out loud, and now I am ready to release them.  I’m going to keep writing and sending them until I see one in print.  It will be an epic congratulations to myself for letting my secrets go.

To close this post, here’s a gallery of some secrets that relate to this project:

Published on January 1, 2013, by

A lot of people out there are making lists of New Year’s resolutions right about now, trying to figure out how to be ‘better’ in 2013.  I’m thinking about it, too, though my list is already done for the next decade’s worth of New Year’s Eves.  My broad goals are simple ones: be better, have more fun, travel more, love more, learn more, be worth more.  I bet your resolutions, dear hypothetical reader, fit in to those categories, too.  And so I present a collection of inspirational images, mostly culled from Pinterest over the course of 2012, to put you in a can do mood!

For those who want to travel:

Book A Ticket

Travel Makes You Richer

For those who want to learn:

First Time


Never Stop

For those who want a better job:Love What You Do

Make A  Living

For those who want to have more fun:



For those who want to be happier:



For those looking for a reason to change:
Don't Be Afraid

Do It


For those who want to lose weight, let me wish you good luck and then ask you to reconsider.  You might have noticed that none of my goals involve my weight or appearance.  That is certainly not because I don’t want to change those things – I do.  I’m as unhappy with the way I look as any other girl raised in a society that values beauty over intellect and talent.  But I’ve learned not to listen to that cultural voice whispering in my ear about the need to lose 20 lbs because that voice is a jerk.  Losing weight or otherwise being more attractive is a bullshit accomplishment.  I’m going to get old.  My looks are going to go and that weight is likely to come back.  But my experiences?  I’ll have those forever.  I may not be any skinnier when my list is complete, but I’ll be so much more interesting (and happier, too, I’ll bet).  So to those trying to lose weight, maybe consider changing that goal to “be healthier, at any size” and enjoy my words of inspiration for you:


Love Yourself

There, now I’m all fired up for 2013!  So how will I be starting the list after my birthday?  Ordering a copy of my credit report (Thing #13), tracking down info about glass blowing and violin classes to see which I can fit into my schedule (Things #1 and #3), and trying to find a good time to book a cruise (Thing #8).  Already so much work to do!

Published on December 30, 2012, by

The following Things are a little vague, I admit.  Sometimes a dream is an experience or feeling you want to have instead of a clear goal with solid details.  I know what I want to do, what experience I want to have, I just haven’t figured out the specifics yet.  That being said, there’s still a method to my madness vagueness.

the simpsons treehouse of horror

From Treehouse of Horror

Thing #9: Do Something that Really Scares Me

As I mentioned before, I have an anxiety disorder.  I am scared of a lot of things.  Listing them all would be entirely too boring but just keep in mind that I manage to freak myself out over Halloween episodes of the Simpsons.  Embarrassing to put that out there, but it’s true.

The biggest fear I have – my one true phobia – is falling.  It’s different from a fear of heights because I can be up high as long as I distract myself from thinking about falling, but it impacts some of the same things.  Just thinking about skydiving or bungee jumping is torture.  I won’t even go on roller coasters because they simulate the feeling of falling.  Maybe I’ll try to conquer that fear, since I’m finally getting more comfortable with Treehouse of Horror and Supernatural.

Getting a tattoo from the wonderful Nicole McCord

Getting a tattoo from the wonderful Nicole McCord

Thing #15: Complete a Half Sleeve of Tattoos

I have no idea what I want to get tattooed at this point.  Mostly.  I do know that I want to get an art nouveau mermaid tattoo to go with the shell/wave I already have, and I’m pretty sure I’ll get the Pilgrim’s Shell after I complete the Camino de Santiago.  Beyond that… I’m hoping I figure it out as I go.  I’d love to collect ideas from all my travels, and it would be awesome to get some work done by artists in other states/countries, so that my arm ends up being a collage of my experiences and passions.  What a beautiful collection of memories that I’ll always get to keep with me.

You're Winner!

Thing #16: Win a Contest

Some people are born winners – the right cards are dealt for them, their names get picked in drawings, they always end up with a hotel on Park Place.  Other people just don’t have the same mojo and I am one of those people.  I never win contests.  I’m usually thankful for that because it keeps me from being a gambler or taking too many financial risks.  But, you know, I’d like to be a winner for once!  Not sure yet what kind of contest I’ll go for.  A costume contest or bake-off would be fun, and it would be more effort than chance.  Or I could enter drawings for travel stuff, which would help me with my other goals.  Maybe I’ll just enter any contest I happen to come across.  I’ve gotta win eventually, right? (I am not good at statistics.)

Chopping wood

Technically, I’m destroying something. But this is the only picture I could find of me holding some kind of tool.

Thing #17:  Build or Repair Something

One thing my mom told me when I was single:  Find a guy that can fix stuff when it breaks.  Pretty sure that’s the foundation her marriage was built on because my stepdad is a very handy guy.  I didn’t take that advice, though, and while I’m glad I didn’t, I do call my stepdad or my landlord anytime anything breaks.  My only moment of handy(wo)man triumph came when I was able to dig a crushed frosting tip out of the garbage disposal.  The only skill that involved was having small fingers and the willingness to put them in ick, though.  I’d like to be more handy, and more independent, so I’m going to challenge myself to build or repair something major.  What will that be?  I have no idea, but we are planning to buy a house so there should be ample opportunity.

You Can Make A Difference

Thing #20:  Volunteer

Have you ever heard of HandsOn?  It’s a great organization that will let you volunteer for all sorts of different projects.  When I was a tween, my mom and I volunteered through them (though they were called Make A Difference then) – I  worked the door at a fundraiser, folded clothes at a thrift shop for the homeless, cleaned up at a school, and ran a bingo game at a senior center.  It’s weird how clearly I remember these experiences even though my memory is generally terrible.  They stuck with me because it felt so good to help and I did such a wide variety of jobs.  I’d like to volunteer much more in the next decade!  I’m considering joining up with HandsOn again, but I might try out some voluntourism as well.  And I could always sign up for Habitat for Humanity – that would take care of Thing #17, too!

With Random Musician

All my brushes with fame have come in the form of random band members.  And I am almost always blushing.

Thing #23:  Meet Someone I Admire

Doesn’t everyone want to meet their heroes?  I think we probably all have fantasies where we charm the pants off (sometimes literally) that actor/musician/author that we’ve obsessed over.  While I do harbor those fantasies, I know I would probably do no charming, pants or otherwise – I get very nervous and I’m clumsy when I’m nervous, which is a very bad combo.  This fear of meeting someone awesome extends to meeting pretty much anyone.  I really wish I was better at meeting new people but I’m always so scared of embarrassing myself.  Hopefully I can conquer that fear by meeting one of my idols!  So who’s the lucky person that’s probably going to get my drink spilled on them?  Not sure yet!

Anthony Bourdain No Reservations

I think I’ve said it before: No Reservations is a blueprint for my dream job.

Thing #27:  Get a Meaningful Job

The job I have now is by no means a bad job.  I don’t even hate it most of the time.  I get paid well, I have a lot of vacation (by American standards), free medical insurance, and I have some awesome co-workers.  In a general sense, the company that I work for is awesome and they do something I believe in.  It would be the perfect job… if I mattered.  The work that I do just doesn’t MATTER to anyone.  I write and write all day long and those words all go into a void.  I might as well just put paper in a trash can for a living.  It’s depressing.  And the fact that the other parts of the job are so good is actually a bad thing because it prevents me from leaving and getting a job that’s more meaningful.  I’m in this weird black hole where I don’t want to give up my pay and vacation time but I know I’m wasting my potential.  Putting this on the list is a kick in the ass to get out of my comfort zone and find something I can do that’s fulfilling.  I just might wait until after I’ve saved enough for all the Places I Want To Go.

Published on December 28, 2012, by

I expected there to be some major life events in the next decade, don’t get me wrong.  But a big one before I’ve even started?  I hadn’t really counted on that.  I thought I’d get through at least one year without a big change in circumstances and I was wrong.

This weekend, I found out that my best buddy, Grif the dog, has diabetes.

Grif the Diabetes Spokesdog

Grif with a Wilfred Brimley mustache. He says, “Eat your damn oatmeal!”

Back story:  Grif and I have been together for about 7 years.  I got him when he was pretty young, so he’s about middle-aged for a smaller dog.  I’m not sure what breed he is – I used to think he was a mix between a Mini Schnauzer and Westie (which I called a Wowzer), then I thought he might be a Wheaten Terrier, but my vet seems to think he’s a pure bred Schnau (this is relevant info later, I promise).  Breed doesn’t matter, though, because Grif is actually 100% pure comedian.  He’s a playful little goofball that’s kept me laughing even through some very hard times.  Sure, he’s willful and bossy and he pees inside if it’s raining out, but he’s also been my rock – nothing ever gets him down.

Honestly, I still think of Grif as a puppy – not an adult dog with health problems.  In all these years, I’ve only seen him sick once and it was after being neutered.  Even when he’s had a health issue (of which there have been very few, just two ear infections I can remember), he’s still been his happy, peppy, energetic, silly self.

Grif is Silly

Didn’t I tell you he was silly?

Grif was in good spirits last week, but he was drinking quite a bit more water than normal.  We took him to the vet the Saturday before Christmas for what I thought would be nothing – just too much salt or a side effect of living in the desert.  At worst, I thought it could be a bladder infection.

The vet did a quick blood test and his sugars came back at 384.  That is pretty high – normal is between 70 and 140, just like it is for people.  And just like Type 1 people, diabetic dogs are treated with insulin shots.  Twice a day, I have to give Grif a little shot under the skin on his shoulders.  Luckily, it’s way easy and he doesn’t even notice it.  Unluckily, he has to get the shot at the same time every single day – which means waking up at 6:30am, even on weekends and holidays, and always being by 6:30pm in the evening.  It means planning every outing to end before 6pm or start after 7pm, and never staying overnight at a hotel or a friend’s house without prior planning.  It’s the end of spontaneity in many ways that I wasn’t quite prepared for yet.

Instagram of Grif at Christmas

Because we couldn’t leave him at home, Grif spent extra time with us this Christmas. So far, diabetes means special food, car trips, and a silly hat.

So what does that mean for the list?  I can’t take the glassblowing class I was looking at because it starts at 6pm.  Violin, language, and dance classes will all have to start pretty late – hopefully evening classes exist.  I won’t be able to get a second dog, at least not until we’ve all become very well-adjusted.  I’ll be more limited in when I can travel and how long I can be gone, which may put a damper on the bike trip and the Camino.  My wonderful parents have said that they don’t mind sitting for the Grif and giving him shots (my step-dad is diabetic, so I bet he can sympathize), but I couldn’t put them out by leaving him for a whole month.  Besides, they might pass out if they learned how expensive his new food is!  Which reminds me, money might be a bit tighter, too.

Yes, it will have an impact.  Some things that I planned to do this year and next might have to be put off for a little while, but that’s okay.  I have 10 years, after all!  And Grif is important to me, enough to delay some of my goals to make sure he has a happy, healthy little doggie life.  That’s the lesson, I think:  things will happen, my circumstances will change, and my list might seem harder to complete, but that doesn’t mean I’ll have to give up.  It’s reaffirming, in a way.

Grif on Mardi Gras

Grif is looking sharp in those Mardi Gras beads… just don’t ask what he had to do to get them.

Now if I can only resist this face when it’s treat time, both Grif and I will be okay.

Published on December 18, 2012, by

Here’s a confession: I didn’t finish college. There are a number of reasons why, but none of those reasons have anything to do with not enjoying school. I love to learn new things. Almost too much – I never did settle on what my major would be because I had too many interests. I’ve tried to teach myself independently since then, with varying levels of success, but there are some things I want to learn that I just can’t do on my own.

Chihuly at the Desert Botanical Gardens

Chihuly’s work at the Desert Botanical Gardens

Thing #1: Learn How To Blow Glass

I can barely remember a time I didn’t want to blow glass. I visited a glass work studio with my school when I was a kid and, even though I couldn’t have been more than 7 years old, it made a huge impression on me. Pulling that red-hot glass out of an oven and turning it to something so shiny and beautiful – it’s practically magic. When I was in high school, I saw the PBS documentary on Dale Chihuly and was captivated by that magic all over again. I was lucky enough to catch his installation at the Phoenix Botanical Garden and it’s still one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen – the amazing colors, fluid quality, and dream-like shapes made the desert landscape a lot more interesting.

My near life-long love affair with the art form and the fact that it takes both time to learn and a certain amount of physical strength and ability is why I chose this for my #1 goal. This will take a lot of effort on my part. I have what I call ‘noodle arms’ – there are no muscles in there – and I hate the heat, so this might end up being more strength and endurance training than art form. I am okay with that.

Anna Bulbrook

Anna Bulbrook, of the Airborne Toxic Event. Yes, technically, that’s a viola – but would you have known that if I hadn’t said anything?

Thing #3: Take Violin Lessons

Music is a passion of mine, one of those things that makes life worth living. I’ve always wanted to be musical somehow but it’s never worked out – I can’t sing, I gave up the flute in 6th grade, and I failed at teaching myself the guitar in high school. Music is a language that just doesn’t click in my brain.  Or that’s what I’ve told myself to avoid admitting that I never tried SUPER hard to learn it.  Tim (the boyfriend) is an amazing guitarist – when I accused him of being born with natural talent, he reminded me that he played every day for a decade and sucked for most of that time.  So what would happen if I really focused and put the effort in? Maybe I could be musical, too.

I chose the violin because I love it, but also kind of because of a joke. A joke about Jack White. Stay with me: Jack White seems to have a soft spot for fairly mediocre female musicians (sorry Meg!) and I’m pretty sure that I could BE a totally mediocre female musician, so I thought I would start a White Stripes cover band in which I do all the lead guitar parts with a violin and then invite Jack White to join the band. Can’t you kind of picture him in a band doing covers of his own songs? Ah well, it makes me giggle anyway.

Bad Translation

“Say What?” by Mark J Taylor on Flickr.

Thing #7: Learn a New Language

I am envious of the multi-lingual.  I don’t know why but the ability to speak multiple languages is exotic, almost romantic. It probably comes from growing up in the states, where it’s rare to meet someone fluent in anything but English. I studied Russian in high school but have lost a lot of it since, started both German and French in college but didn’t finish either (online language learning is not for me, apparently), and tried to teach myself Finnish briefly a few years ago. I can say a couple of things in all of those languages but probably only enough to greet someone and ask for the bathroom. I’d like to do better than that this time. I want to hold a whole conversation in another language or, failing that, at least be able to read all the signs, book a hotel, find a restaurant, order some food, etc.

Right now, I’m thinking I’ll probably learn Spanish. It’s the most useful for me since I live in AZ and it’d come in really handy on the Camino de Santiago. But I’m not set on that so who knows? I am a woman of many whims (obviously).

Threadless Break Dance Tee

Thing #19: Learn How to Dance

I did say that I have trouble understanding music, so you may have guessed I don’t have much rhythm, but have I mentioned how embarrassingly clumsy I am? Because holy crap, I am SO clumsy. I’ve fallen over while just standing on flat ground. I regularly bump my extremities – it’s like I don’t know where my limbs are. You know how if you cut off a cat’s whiskers, they can’t figure out how big their body is? I’m like that all the time. It’s a curse.

No natural rhythm + clumsiness = I’m a bad dancer. It used to keep me from dancing at all, but as I aged and learned that no one (or at least no one I cared about) was looking at or judging me, I started to indulge. And whoa, though I am bad at it, I love it! It makes me feel amazing – on the dance floor, I can be physical and free and channel the mental energy that music gives me. I just have to hope no one is videotaping me, because I never want to see that from the outside.

Being able to do at least one dance well would be fantastic. I have no idea if there’s any practical application for it, but does that matter? Maybe I could break it out at parties or something.

This list isn’t about practicality anyway! It’s about doing some things that I *think* I will enjoy. And maybe I won’t – maybe glass blowing will be too hot and dancing will be too difficult and the violin will hurt my neck and eat up my fingers. Even if they’re all absolutely miserable, at least I will have tried them and given some of my more impractical dreams a chance.

Published on December 13, 2012, by

Narrowing The List down to just 30 Things wasn’t easy, especially when it came to the travel goals. Nearly a third of it is travel-related for a reason – I want to see the world. There are so many places I want to go, things I want to see, people I want to meet, that I am occasionally overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of it. Making this list has allowed me to become more focused and prioritize a bit.  From “everywhere,” I’ve gotten down to just 9 goals… for now, that is:

Northern Lights by Visit Finland

The Northern Lights, taken by Visit Finland.

Thing #2: See the Northern Lights

The Aurora Borealis is Mother Nature’s laser light show – who wouldn’t want to see that?! The bonus is going somewhere snowy and cold and dark – a place completely opposite from my home state of AZ. Not sure quite yet where I’ll end up seeing these or how… Cruising to Alaska? From a dog sled in Northern Canada? From a glass igloo in the Laplands? All of those sound like great options!

Bicycle on the North Sea Route

A bicycle on the North Sea Cycle Route, taken by ebygomm.

Thing #4: Bike a Long Path

I’ve recently gotten into bicycling. Every night, my boyfriend and I loop around our neighborhood on our Electra 7 speed cruisers, usually going a few blocks away to an area with a few nice hills. It’s fun, occasionally thrilling, and often peaceful – sometimes I even get that zen feeling that runners talk about. We love it. And, just like anything else that I love to do, I want to take it over seas. There are a few amazing bike paths in Europe that go through multiple countries and I want to conquer one – probably the North Sea cycle that goes through the Netherlands.

Camino de Santiago Passport

Camino de Santiago passport, taken by James W Berk.

Thing #5: Walk the Way of St. James

I bet this one is on a lot of bucket lists! The Way, called the Camino de Santiago, is a pilgrimage walk to a church in Spain where the bones of St. James reside. Millions of people have walked the Way over hundreds of years. It used to be a religious journey but now it draws people of all different faiths and non-faiths – it’s a meditative adventure for any kind of traveler  I’m not sure which path (there are multiple) I’ll take or how long I’ll walk yet, I just know that I’m going to make it happen, hopefully with a dear friend of mine. If you want more info on the Camino, start here or check out this awesome blog about it.

Chinstrap Penguin

“I am so very cute and you should definitely hug me!” says this Chinstrap penguin in a picture taken by Liam Q.

Thing #6: Touch a Penguin

Why is this a travel goal? Well, I can’t touch a penguin in Arizona. Not without getting arrested, anyway – though one of our zoos does have a few South African penguins, they don’t offer encounters with the little guys. There are several aquariums in the US that do encounters, though, so that’s an option. I could also encounter (by which I mean, attempt to hug) them in the wild in New Zealand, South Africa, or the Galápagos (though some places have rules against touching). Maybe I’ll even venture to Antarctica and experience it the way travel blogger Andrew Evans, one of my travel heroes, did.

KT, Snorkeling in Hawaii

Here I am, snorkeling in Maui. If you look really close, you can see Tim’s thumb ruining the shot.

Thing #8: Snorkel in the Caribbean Sea

I discovered a passion for snorkeling on a recent trip to Maui.  I had snorkeled a couple of times before but never saw anything that blew my mind.  Then I got this close |_| to a sea turtle! Which was great, because I really can’t see well without my glasses. I want to snorkel in Curaçao or Bonaire, the southern-most Caribbean islands, but with contacts in this time.

Mom, on the way to Turkey

This is my Mom, when we were finally on our way to Turkey.

Thing #12: Take My Mom to Costa Rica

This goal is less about realizing my dream than helping my mom live out one of her own. I could go on and on about how selfless and amazing my mother is, but suffice it to say that she really deserves to cross this off her life list. She’s earned a week of sitting in the sun, playing in the ocean, and enjoying the beauty of nature.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, photographed by Scott Smith

Thing #18: Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida

Nerd alert! I love Harry Potter. Is there any other children’s series that is so fundamentally anti-establishment? It’s all about teaching kids not to trust the government and that is a message I can get behind. It’s also, at its core, truly magical. The world that JK Rowling created is a hell of a lot of fun and I’d like to let my inner child play around in it for a while. Drink butterbeer! Explore Hogwarts! Shop at Honeydukes! As much as the cynical adult in me knows it will be crowded and expensive, the kid in me says it will be worth it.

Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway, photo taken by DigitizedChaos.

Thing #22: Drive the Pacific Coast Highway

The PCH – RTE 1 starts in Dana Point and goes all the way to Leggett in Mendocino County, passing through some of the best California beach towns. It got amazing views, beautiful parks, and beaches out the wazoo – which sounds to me like all the best of CA. Where RTE 1 ends, the 101 picks up, and can take you through the Pacific Northwest, all the way to Tumwater, Washington. I’d like to do this in a hybrid or electric vehicle, starting here in AZ and ending Olympic National Park, during the late summer months when AZ is totally unbearable.

Old World Map

Ye Olde Worlde Mappe

Thing #29: Visit at least 10 countries on at least 3 continents

This is kind of a cop-out, since a few of the other goals should take me to a number of different countries. The Camino goes from France through Spain, the long path we ride could be just about anywhere, seeing the northern lights might take me to Canada or Finland, touching a penguin could bring me to New Zealand, and then there’s Costa Rica and the Caribbean. So why put this on the list? Because I want to do more, to see more, to go more places than that and I just don’t know where yet. For now, this is a summary goal. Who knows where it will take me!

Published on December 8, 2012, by
My Anxiety is Not the Boss of Me

Anonymous postcard submitted to PostSecret and my new philosophy.

I confess:  I have some very conflicting emotions about starting this project. On the one hand, I’m super excited to give myself the chance to accomplish goals I’ve had since I was young. If I manage to complete everything on The List, what an amazing decade I will have had! I’ll have so many stories to tell and new skills to use; I will certainly be a richer person for the experience.

On the other hand, I’m so anxious about failing. Not necessarily about not doing every single thing on the list, but more about not doing any of them. What if, after a decade, I can’t cross off a single thing? I’ll add 30 regrets to an already long list.

What if I do them but can’t manage to blog about it? I’d be letting myself down there, too. When I was a teenager, I really wanted to be a journalist that traveled the world. I thought I’d to go to college and major in journalism, then get a job with Rolling Stone (yes, my favorite magazine at the time) and jetset with rock bands or write political hit pieces ala Matt Tiabbi. That was pre-blogging era, of course – now pretty much anyone with an internet connection can be a reporter. Committing to this blog would fulfill that goal in a small way, even though I won’t be paid for it. I genuinely  want to do it, but I’m anxious about my ability to keep it up.

I’m also feeling a little overwhelmed by the commitment. I’m bad at making commitments because life is so uncertain and I can always think of a worst case scenario. Especially in the long-term – when I think ten years ahead, I feel like I can’t count on anything. What if I lose my job? What if my boyfriend and I break up? What if my mom becomes disabled or passes away? What if what if what if…

This is the burden of having an anxiety disorder – I am always consumed by what ifs, paralyzed by them. But I don’t want to be like that, I hate it. It prevents me from living in and enjoying the moment. Maybe committing to this list and saying ‘screw the what ifs’ is one step toward breaking that cycle. I’m going to embrace being freaked out.

Published on December 2, 2012, by
In Maui

Me, on a perfect beach in Maui

Hello, welcome to my blog! My name is Katie and I totally wasted my 20s. I don’t think I’m alone there – it seems to me that a lot of people spend their post-teenage, pre-adult years trying to figure out just what it is they’re supposed to do. I definitely fell into that trap – I lived the life I thought I should have instead of the one I wanted. I made some terrible life decisions, got in some bad relationships, spent too much time and money supporting other people, and set all my dreams to the side. *sad trombone*

Now I’m 29, on the verge of 30, and I want to change. All of the bad things that came with living for someone else (regret, debt, a failed business, heartbreak) were great lessons. Now I know that I’m at my best when I live for myself. If I’m following my heart and setting my own goals, things seem to work out. I used to think I was more of a dreamer than a doer, but as I considered creating this blog, I realized that I have an amazing power to get things done and make things happen. The only reason I haven’t made my dreams a reality is because I was too busy lending that power to other people.

Spending my birthday in France

My birthday, 2010. I was not actually in Paris.

Well, as of January 17th, 2013 – my 30th birthday – I’m taking it back! In the 10 years that follow, I will set out to accomplish 30 of my lifelong goals. Some are things I’ve always wanted to do or learn (like how to blow glass), some are things I’ve just never had the balls to do before (singing a song at karaoke  for example), and the rest are places I want to visit (10 countries, 3 continents minimum). I have always loved travel but I’ve never made it a true priority, even though it’s what I would really like to get paid to do… well, that and eat – Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations is pretty much my blueprint for the perfect career.

So why now? Because I’m out of reasons why not. I don’t have kids, or a husband, or a house, or a career – I’m not tied down at all. I make decent money (though that’s likely to change – one of the things on the list is to get a job where I actually matter), I have a lot of free time now that my personal business failed (silver lining!), and I have a wonderful and supportive partner. I can’t think of a better time to cross some things off my life’s To Do list and I don’t want to wait so long that it turns into a bucket list.

My business was cupcakes

My business that failed: wedding cupcakes like these!

The full list of 30 things is posted below and on its own page – I’ll cross them off there as I get them done. In the weeks leading up to my 30th birthday, I’ll be making in-depth posts about my goals so you can find out why I chose them, how I plan to accomplish them, and other fun facts. After the project launches, I’ll be blogging about my progress with The 30 Things, as well as my smaller goals, adventures, and life goings-on. There will (hopefully) be some very exciting moments, and there will probably be a few failures, and then there will be some boring bits where I talk about how I totally freaked myself out taking all this on, even if it is over a decade. No matter what happens, I’m making a goal to post regularly – just check out Thing #30!

  1. Learn how to blow glass
  2. See the Northern Lights
  3. Take violin lessons
  4. Bicycle a long path – 300 miles at least
  5. Travel the Way of St. James
  6. Touch a penguin
  7. Learn a new language
  8. Snorkel in the Caribbean Sea
  9. Do something that really, truly scares me
  10. Sing a song at karaoke
  11. Get another dog
  12. Take my mom to Costa Rica
  13. Fix my credit
  14. Throw a really big party
  15. Finish a half sleeve of tattoos
  16. Win a contest
  17. Build or repair something
  18. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  19. Learn how to dance
  20. Volunteer
  21. Get a new car (or move where a car is not necessary)
  22. Drive the PCH
  23. Meet someone I admire
  24. Have a secret posted or published by PostSecret
  25. Refuse to buy physical things for myself for a whole year
  26. Legally change my last name
  27. Get a meaningful job
  28. Read 300 books
  29. Visit at least 10 countries on 3 continents
  30. Write and work on this blog for a decade