I stared blankly at the “30 before 30” list that my friend posted on Facebook. Run a marathon, go skydiving, visit 5 foreign countries, meet Dolly Parton, and buy a house are all popular choices that I have seen on many “30 things to do before I turn 30” lists, and these items were not excluded from my friend’s list, either. As a fellow goal-setter, I decided that I should sit down and make my own list.
Kristin’s 30 Before 30 List
1. Write 3 books
2. Read 500 books
… And that was it. I’ve visited Australia, Costa Rica, Mexico, and spent a semester in Yosemite. I’ve run a few 5K’s (and that was enough, thank you very much). I’ve owned two houses. I’ve met a few personal heroes. Okay, I haven’t met Dolly Parton yet. But I’ve driven by Dollywood, and I think that counts for something.
I lamely tried at a less ambitious #3 (like cook and memorize 5 “go-to” recipes), but realized that I didn’t really care about any other goals other than #1 and #2. I realized that, unlike some of my friends, my goals are not age-reliant. I can continue to write whatever my age, whereas some may choose to climb Mount Kilimanjaro while their knees are still relatively creak-free.
What a great freedom to know that I can do my loves (reading and writing) whatever the age!
Well. Not exactly.
Knowing that you can continue to work on your passions no matter your age comes with it a kind of comfortability. You find yourself in situations like: “Hm. So-and-so invited me to his board game day… I guess I can skip writing today for that.” Which eventually turns into: “This is a really busy month. I’m going to have to take a break from the novel until this month is over. Hell, I have the rest of my life to write that novel!”
Truly, you should enjoy the moment. If you are given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I will be the last person to say you shouldn’t because you should be at home writing. (Hey now… I see those cogs working. “Well, isn’t everything technically a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?” NO. I have to add that in because if you’re anything like me, you’ve told yourself that excuse.) But the trap always set: Sure. You can put off writing, reading, painting, or whatever your true passion is. And it’ll sit quietly, very patiently (way too patiently). It won’t make a fuss or demand attention, while everything else around you bangs pots and pans for every minute of your time and attention.
In 2014, I’m gonna turn up the heat a little. This year, I’m going to get myself into the habit of putting my passions first. I don’t want to finally feel like I’ve had enough experience as a writer at 40 when I can have enough experience by the time I’m 30. Because I don’t want to have a book published eventually. I want to have a book published as soon as possible.
I’m all about “30 Before 30” lists. And “40 Before 40” and “90 Before 90” lists as well. Whatever list or other motivation helps you develop the sense that if I don’t do it now, then maybe I never will.