#Before30BucketList

Hey.

So.

I know I’ve been gone for a while. I also know that good blog posts don’t start off that way. But I’m a rule-breaker so deal with it.

Anyway, lots of stuff has been going on. I still don’t have my own working computer, which is the main reason I’ve been gone. I’m using my dad’s because I just can’t handle not writing anymore. I know I have to fill you in on the past thousand years (I got married?!), but for now we’re just going to act like there hasn’t been a giant gap and dive right in to the here and now.

I turned 29 on March 19th. Not usually a big deal. Typically, people freak out when they turn 30. But I’ve never done things typically. So I realized that I’m fine with the firsts that come with change — I’m always down to try new things; the issue I have is letting go of the lasts. Therefore, since 29 is the last year of my 20s, it’s difficult for me.

But I put that freak out to good use.

I’ve already been getting out and about and exploring and experiencing more in the past year than usual. But I decided to go big this year. First, I dubbed it my “year of experiences” — in which I would try my hardest to get out there and experience life instead of remaining uninterested and bed-ridden. Then it quickly changed to my “yes year” — meaning I would say yes to anything and everything people invited me to or even mentioned. From there, I decided there were things I wanted to do so the whole thing turned into a sort of bucket list. But a Before 30 Bucket List. Along with going with the flow and having fun experiences that come my way, there’s a list of about 80 things (and growing) that I’m trying my damnedest to accomplish by my next birthday. Which means I have until March 18th, 2018 to do a shitton of stuff.

I made this list in part by Googling those dumb articles about “30 Things to Accomplish Before you Turn 30” and incorporating some of their ideas into my own. It was a funny adventure, however, because when you think about it how many people really think to look at those lists in their late teens or early 20s? I’m guessing most people don’t really hunker down about being successful in their 30s until they’re close to 30, so some of the lists cracked me up. One of them had “Travel Alone,” “Have A Baby,” “Live Abroad,” and “Buy A House”. All on the same list. Sorry, but only superheroes can pull off all that shit in a year. I did add one of those things to my personal list, though, so it wasn’t a total loss.

I’ve already knocked out a few items, and those posts are in the works. I plan to keep you updated on all of the list shenanigans, and I’m keeping track of the random stuff that happens to come along but isn’t on the list so I can give you a wrap-up at the end of the year (MY Year, not the Calendar Year). But first I simply wanted to introduce to you the idea, and prepare you for the posts to come.

So here is my list. Many things are vague and I allow wiggle room. You’ll find out what I mean by that in upcoming posts of things I’ve achieved. In italic are my plans/ideas, so you can join me!

1. Rock Out At A Concert
2. Go To A Brewery  
3. Meet Favorite Author
4. Attend A Big Sports Event (76ers)
5. Unplug For A Full Day
6. Try A New Sport (Surfing)
7. Girls’ Getaway
8. Learn To Play An Instrument (Online course from SkillSuccess)
9. Improve Wine Knowledge (Online course from EventTrix)
10. Learn Family History (Family Tree DNA Test)
11. Learn To Gamble (Card Games Book)
12. Learn To Cook (Online course from Rouxbe)
13. Visit A New American City (Denver Sept 27th through Oct 3rd)
14. Have Portrait Taken
15. Read Classic Novel About Women, By A Woman 
16. Go Skinny Dipping
17. Throw A Dinner Party
18. Test Drive Dream Car (Velocity Driving in Philly)
19. Sing Karaoke (Clancy’s in Somers Point, NJ every Tuesday night)
20. Skydive (Tandem Skydive @ Skydive Baltimore / Tandem Skydive @ Skydive Jersey)
21. Climb A Mountain / Rock Climb (while in Denver)
22. Learn To Bartend (Online course from Bartender & Barista)
23. Scuba Dive (Discover Scuba Diving Course @ Indian Valley Scuba in PA)
24. Learn A New Language 
25. Go Camping
26. Volunteer 
27. Go Whitewater Rafting (Valley to Summit in PA)
28. Apply For Dream Job (Submit book manuscript to publishers)
29. Go Hiking (in Denver)
30. Learn Astronomy 
31. Stop Drinking Soda Altogether (Last soda on March 19th – half a soda on June 9th, half on August 3rd, half on August 6th)
32. Ride A Roller Coaster (6 Flags in Jackson, NJ)
33. Learn To Dance
34. Dive With Sharks (Cage Diving in West Palm Beach in November)
35. Start Workout Routine √
36. Get Organized
37. Stop Smoking
38. Read A History Book (Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W Loewen)
39. Learn How To Build A Computer (Online Course from International Open Academy)
40. Fire A Gun 
41. Write A Letter To Yourself Now (At 29) As If You’re 39 
42. Eat Healthier
43. Get A Passport
44. Experience Something You Dreamed Of When You Were Younger 
45. Take A How-To Class
46. Write A Book (In progress)
47. Read A Classic Book 
48. Watch A Classic Movie 
49. Make A New Family Tradition 
50. Learn A DIY Craft
51. See A Broadway Show (Cats)
52. Ride A Motorcycle
53. Go Fishing
54. Invest
55. Get A High-End Name Brand (i.e. Expensive) Bag or Pair Of Shoes 
56. Walker Stalker Con (New Jersey Dec 10th)
57. Buy A Round For The House
58. Budget
59. Visit A Famous Fictional Location (Coyote Ugly in Denver)
60. Visit A Rock Icon Location (Strawberry Fields — John Lennon Memorial @ Central Park, NYC)
61. Rent A Vacation House With Friends
62. Throw A Fundraiser
63. Travel Alone
64. Go To A Music Festival
65. Party In A Big City
66. Complete a 5k / Walk For Charity
67. Eat At A Famous Restaurant (Tavern on the Green in Central Park)
68. Eat Something Unusual
69. Watch A Meteor Shower (Aug 12th, Oct 7-8th, Oct 22nd, Nov 18th, Dec 13th, Dec 22nd)
70. Ride A Mechanical Bull (Mountain Bar @ Bally’s Casino, AC, NJ)
71. Get Lost On Purpose In An Unfamiliar Place
72. Bake A Cheesecake
73. Explore All Of Central Park
74. Go Horseback Riding 
75. March In An LGBT Pride Parade
76. Go Skiing / Snowboarding
77. Go To A Tattoo Convention (Bally’s Casino, AC, NJ Nov 3rd, 4th, 5th)
78. Bring Son To Storybook Land
79. Get A Job 
80. Zipline (while in Denver)
81. Improve Credit
82. Go Back To College
83. Go To A Rodeo (Cowtown Rodeo)
84. Get Out Of Debt 
85. Finish Sleeve
86. See Favorite Band Live (Guns N’ Roses October 8th in Philly)
87. Ride In A Hot Air Balloon (while in Denver)

So there you have it. I even bought a nifty “Bucket List Journal” so I can keep track of everything.

I know it’s a lot to take on. And I know some things are probably not going to happen. But I’m going to do my best to try to at least attempt them all within the next year. Or, technically, 11 months, 1 week, and 1 day.

Also, I have already done many things on this list throughout my life. But once you put it all down on paper and in front of you, you realize how little you do the fun things anymore and how much time has passed since your last adventure, so these are simply all the things I’d like to accomplish while I’m 29 — no more, no less.

Also also I’m not doing them in order so you’ll be seeing random numbers throughout the next 11 months, 1 week, and 1 day.

Do you have a bucket list? Do you want to do mine with me? Do you have any advice or ideas for new goals? Let ‘er rip in the comments!

(p.s. thank you for sticking with me throughout my ridiculousness.)

(p.p.s. I met Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess but technically that happened four days before I turned 29 so it’s not part of the list, I just wanted to tell you how excited I am about it, and let you know that I’ll write about it soon.)

#Before30BucketList: Get A Job

(First, go to this post if you don’t know what my #Before30BucketList is. I’ll also be going back to that and noting each goal accomplished and maybe adding or editing some items, if you want to keep up but miss out on some of my posts.)

Once upon a time a girl had dropped out of school and needed to find a job. One day, while eating some tacos at her favorite taco joint, she had an epiphany — she needed to work there, immediately. (It was only a block away from her house, after all.)

So one day, after eating there with her friends, all wild-eyed and wild-haired and wild-clothed, she asked the owner if he was hiring. She still doesn’t know why, but he took a chance on her. She was 17. The year was 2005.

Over the next seven years, the girl and her boss went through some serious ups and downs in their own lives, involving each other, and sometimes involving coworkers. She would leave the job and come back. The boss would be an asshole and she would swear it was over but it never was. (You see, her first job had prepared her for almost anything any boss could throw at her.) It wasn’t all bad though — these two had a connection and he continued to take chances on her and made her feel like family.

Eventually, one sunny day in February 2012, the boss had enough. The girl’s car was breaking down so she called someone in to cover for her but it was the new girl and she showed up half an hour late. Oh, and the girl was using again.

So the girl and her boss went their separate ways. Kind of. She still ate there frequently and stopped in just to say hi and got him to cater her son’s birthday parties and eventually, in 2016, her wedding. (Everyone thought a taco bar was a bad idea but then raved about it afterward.)

Then, in Spring of 2017, the girl’s husband told her she needed to get a job and stop being such a waste of life (those weren’t his exact words). So she went back to her trusted old boss and told him to hire her back. He had seen that she had been getting her life together, so he took another chance.

In April of 2017, after a five year hiatus, she started filling in when help was needed or people requested off. It was working out well.

18157925_10209484929263517_4138456704940070770_n

Check our cook Diego creeping in the far left.

It took her a short time to remember all the specifics, and she felt at home almost immediately. Her boss still bitched from time to time, and she still bitched back. But at the end of the day it was always “Good job, don’t let the door hit you on your way out.”

Now the girl had money to contribute to the bills and buy her $4 daily lattes that her husband always bitched about (and cigarettes, but she’s working on quitting so we won’t mention those). She got out of the house and away from her kid (though she still loves him) and started to feel good about life again, contributing and all. It may only be a small-time waitressing (and take-out and prep and sometimes delivery) gig at a seven table restaurant with no AC to most people, but to her it’s a way of living. A good one.

On May 8th, 2017, the girl was officially put on the books and had a real job.

18814872_10209749265911768_6177743942925131285_o

T-Bone and Reds, taking selfies before lunch rush.

The girl’s boss and she were very happy that things were going so well.

Now, in June, it seems there’s no end in sight. The girl is working as much as she can (though still part-time, but that’s perfectly okay) and the boss seems quite alright with that. He pretends to be irritated with her often but deep down he knows he’s happy she’s around.

18814121_10155117795265901_630891492011259727_n

Literally today: “Reds’ Rebels ready for Sunday Funday!”

And they all lived happily ever after. Hopefully. Or maybe died horrible deaths. Who knows, their stories aren’t over yet.

(P.s. If you live in or visit the South Jersey area, come in to Red’s Jersey-Mex Cafe in Ocean City. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Also, if you’re a stalker please don’t stalk me there, I have work to do.)

Companions: Boss, Co-workers, Customers, Insanity, Hilarity

Cost
I got the job by spending approx. $1 on gas. But then I bought a bunch of “work related” clothes. And I use gas every day to get there and sometimes for deliveries. So really it’s impossible to know how much I spent, because also I’m sure I’ll buy random “presents” for my boss (such as stuff I think we need or items that are outdated), but then I make money so everything will have to be calculated at the end of the year. I write down how many days I work and how much I make each day in my trusty planner, and I’m going to add in how much I spend. Because I’m anal as hell. So check back when the bucket list season is over in March 2018, and I’ll figure out if I made enough to offset the costs of this whole thing.

Goal Total: $ To Be Determined

13th Goal Accomplished
List Item #79: Get A Job
On 05-08-2017

Bucket List Total: $182

#Before30BucketList: Make A Family Tradition

(First, go to this post if you don’t know what my #Before30BucketList is. I’ll also be going back to that and noting each goal accomplished and maybe adding or editing some items, if you want to keep up but miss out on some of my posts.)

I didn’t mean to accomplish this one when I did.

I thought about it a lot. It seemed easy enough and important because Mike technically just became a part of our family last year, and I tend to push my old family traditions on him because I don’t like to let things go (hence this whole bucket list). So coming up with a new one for my son, husband, and myself seemed like a great idea.

We went through a few different options. I thought of “Just Because I Love You Day” in which we would pick a specific date every year, not too close to any major holidays, and make each other cards and get each other little gifts (something simple and probably unnecessary, like from the dollar store or Five Below).

Mike wasn’t too thrilled about that idea and came up with Water Park day, which changed to 6 Flags day (since that’s something on my list this year anyway). We might still try to do this every year, but once I noticed we repeated something this year that we had done last year that was closer to us and cheaper, I jumped on it and made it our new tradition.

20170510_201250_burst01.jpg

My son was such an excellent reader in school this year, he won a badge allowing him free rides for four hours, from 1 to 5, on May 6th. Family members could join for $20. My husband and I both had work until about 3:30 so my son’s best friend’s mom took them, and she bought the $20 pass. Once we got off work, Mike and I relieved our friend of kid-duty, let her go home, and took over the activities for the next hour.

My son loves the log flume. He always looks terrified but he would go on it again and again if you let him. I, however, hate the log flume because I’m not too fond of roller coasters and I hate getting wet. But because it was for him, I went on it.

It wasn’t that bad. His best friend hated it and said he’d never go on it ever again for the rest of his life. I went and paid the million dollars for the keepsake picture because why not, when I realized that my son and Mike had taken the same exact picture last year.

FB_IMG_1494515823493

So although I’m not in 2016’s photo and Mike’s not in 2017’s photo, we were both still there and my son is in them both, so we’ve decided to make this our new yearly tradition. Every Spring, right before Summer, when Wonderland opens but isn’t too insane, we’ll take the boy and (from now on) throw all three of us on the log flume and pay for the keepsake picture and keep adding them to my son’s wall (where the other two are) until the whole damn thing fills up and we have to improvise.

I hate water, and everyone hates having unflattering pictures of themselves, but I am so excited for this every year. And before you know it we’ll be 80 and he’ll be 57 (or something, I’m tired and bad at math) and we’ll be one of those ridiculous families recreating old kid photos and it will be awesome.

Companions: Husband, Son, (this year son’s friend)

Cost
Gas: $1
Parking: $2
Picture: $12
Ride Tickets: This year we got them free because my son won a free pass for doing some sort of excellent reading assignment in school, but the ride itself costs 5 tickets per person so in future years we can expect to spend about $15 on the ride itself (although sometimes they have sales and if you buy more they’re cheaper and I almost always find a few old tickets lying around, so let’s just calculate the cost for this year).

Goal Total: $15

12th Goal Accomplished
List Item #49: Make A Family Tradition
On 05-06-2017

Bucket List Total: $182

#Before30BucketList: Write A Letter To Yourself Now (At 29) As If You’re 39

(First, go to this post if you don’t know what my #Before30BucketList is. I’ll also be going back to that and noting each goal accomplished and maybe adding or editing some items, if you want to keep up but miss out on some of my posts.)

This was one of those items I found on another Things To Do Before You’re 30 list on the internet. I wasn’t really sure about it but it was a new one so I figured I’d add it to my list.

I overlooked it for a while, thinking I could easily finish it much later on in the year and that maybe it would give me more time to think of something genius to say. But then I got on a roll one week, knocking out item after item, and I wanted to keep it up so I went for it.

First my mind tricked me and everything I thought ended up more-so being present me writing advice to future me, so I spent hours looking through every top article on Google until I found the one that had this goal, where I looked more closely this time and read “Write the letter as if you are already 30, write everything you have experienced in your 30s even if for now it’s just pretend. Doing this really helps to show yourself what your dreams are and what you would like to have experienced and achieved by the time you reach 30.”

So first, that makes no sense. You can’t write a letter as if you’re 30 and explain everything that has happened to you in your 30s. So I altered it and decided I’d be 39, exactly ten years from now, writing to myself now. Only I also didn’t like the whole “write everything you have experienced” because I haven’t experienced those things yet. I didn’t want it to be one of those wish-lists because ultimately there’s always at least one thing you haven’t accomplished or changed your mind about and while they may be eye-opening for some people, they always make me sad. For instance, when I was 17 I wrote that when I was 19 I was supposed to have finished my first novel and moved to Paris with an old boyfriend. Literally none of that happened, and it just makes me laugh at myself (and not in a good way) when I go back and read my high hopes.

So I made this one a little more lenient. I gave a little advice and I gave a little “future premonitions” but mostly I made sure I knew that everything was (is) going to be okay. Because everyone deserves to hear that. Even when you don’t achieve your goals from ten years ago, you’ve achieved so many more that you didn’t even think of back then. And that’s what I wanted to focus on. (Plus the two major things I’m working on right now that I’m super motivated to accomplish.)

letter to myself

If you can’t read the photo, it says:

“Dear 29 year old me,

It was all worth it. I’m where I’m supposed to be. And you’ll get me here. Thank you — for all your achievements, failures, close-calls, perseverance, much-needed breaks. For all the screw ups and perfections. For the crazy mind that I still have, but have learned to embrace and handle better.
I’m surrounded by love and life. And there’s still so much ahead. Listen to Augusten’s advice about writing every day — you’ll finish your book and I’ll write another. Oh, and stop smoking. I can afford way more adventures now.

Love, 39 year old you.

(p.s. – 11 years!)”

And now reading this makes me happy. Because I know I believe in myself and the path I take even if it differs from the path I set. And hopefully if I do read this again ten years from now, I’ll feel the same way.

Companions: Pen & Paper

Cost
None, I used items I already had.

Goal Total: $0

11th Goal Accomplished
List Item #41: Write A Letter To Yourself Now (At 29) As If You’re 39
On 04-24-217

Bucket List Total: $167

#Before30BucketList: Get An Expensive Handbag Or Shoes

(First, go to this post if you don’t know what my #Before30BucketList is. I’ll also be going back to that original post and noting each goal accomplished if you want to keep up but miss out on some of my posts.)

This one came way easier than anticipated.

Originally I just put this on the list because I had read it on another list and figured what the hell. It was a fairly easy item, but also one I wasn’t too concerned with because I’d rather spend that money on experiences than stuff.

I did look into some things I would like and how much they cost and then searched places like Groupon (which has been my knight in shining armor for this list) for deals. I found a pair of Chinese Laundry shoes I sort of liked for a sweet deal of $10, and I liked the company because my mom’s wedding shoes were Chinese Laundry (or something), but I ultimately decided not to go that route because it defeated the purpose of getting something expensive.

I kind of put this idea on the back burner and checked the interwebs every now and then, but wasn’t overly worried about getting something. Then, the same day I finished reading The Bell Jar, I went to my in-laws for dinner (which we often do on Sundays or Mondays). I told my father-in-law about my list and he asked to read it, agreeing with many things and questioning others and ultimately making fun of me for this one.

But then he told me he had a Dooney & Bourke bag that his mother had ordered right before she passed, that arrived after she passed, so it was literally brand new and had never been used. It still had the packaging in it and everything.

Apparently they looked it up a few years ago and it was worth about $400 and they tried to sell it but no one was interested so they just put it away. And even though I didn’t buy it, technically my list says “Get an Expensive Handbag or Shoes” so this totally counts.

Dooney&Bourke

I took about a thousand pictures with this thing but I’m no good at selfies that aren’t close-ups.

I would just like to say how awesome all of my in-laws are, because they’re always so accepting of my shenanigans and encouraging and surprising me with amazing stuff.

Companions: Husband, Son, Father-in-law, Stepmother-in-law, three dogs-in-law

Cost
Nothing because my in-laws are awesome.

Goal Total: $0

10th Goal Accomplished
List Item #55: Get An Expensive Handbag Or Shoes
On 04-23-2017

Bucket List Total: $167

#Before30BucketList: Read A Classic Novel About Women, By A Woman

(First, go to this post if you don’t know what my #Before30BucketList is. I’ll also be going back to that original post and noting each goal accomplished if you want to keep up but miss out on some of my posts.)

I got pretty excited about this one. I found it on another list about things for women to do before they turn 30, not just anyone in general. Although I have weird views on what a woman is and all that, I do identify as a woman in most instances and have dealt with society’s views on women for my whole life. Plus, reading is pretty much my life, and for some reason I find that I haven’t read nearly enough “classics” that I should know like the back of my hand by now, so I jumped on this pretty quick.

I kind of chose this book randomly. First, everyone knows about Sylvia Plath. I follow a blog called The Belle Jar. I’m deeply affected by mental illness (though I’ve never been suicidal), and am constantly interested in how women lived during different eras because fuck, man, I couldn’t even imagine.

I was afraid it would be slow-reading, as many older books are to me, but I delved right in and didn’t stop. Between all of other lifely duties, it took me only a few days to finish the book. Some parts were riveting. Some parts were confusing. Mostly it left me with a sense of empathy and pride — because I understand what it’s like to not understand, and because so many of us have persevered to make a different world from the one in which Sylvia Plath lived.

Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar

Do you think she imagined someone like me reading someone like her when she was alive?

(I’m not going to write a book review or summary because that’s not really my style.)

Thankfully, I didn’t get depressed after finishing this novel, as I usually do when I read (or finish reading) books, which is kind of odd considering the material. Maybe it’s because I was more excited to have crossed another item off my list.

I absolutely recommend this book to everyone. Whether or not you take anything away from it is up to the way your brain interprets things, but either way it’s a good story.

Companions: Sylvia Plath

Cost
Book: $9

Goal Total: $9

9th Goal Accomplished
List Item #15: Read A Classic Novel About Women, By A Woman
On 4-23-2017

Bucket List Total: $167