thirty before thirty



Okay, I'm still technically 28... but 29 is only a few weeks away and, to be honest, I've been freaking out about this birthday ever since I turned 25. It's just feels like a deadline -- society tells us that we should have certain things figured out by this age. It seems like most of my peers are married, engaged, parents, home-owners, etc. while I'm stuck in perpetual adolescence. I've definitely accomplished a lot in my twenties, and I enjoy my life immensely, but it's hard not to feel like I'm missing invisible benchmarks.

I've spent WAY too much time this year actually dreading my birthday. I mean, on New Year's Eve after the clock struck midnight I looked at my mom and said "I'm going to be 30 NEXT YEAR." It was the first thing that crossed my mind. It's horrible! I feel like my brain is sabotaging me, I just can't stop thinking about it.

Well, brain, I've got news for you. We're not going to spend the next year freaking out and having panic attacks every night.  When I turn 30 next year it's going to mark the end of one of the best years of my life. I'm setting my OWN benchmarks for what makes my life fulfilling and productive!

I'm super serious about this list, it's not just like a new years resolution that I'll forget about one month later. I really want to stick with it and make sure that 30 feels more like an accomplishment than a waste. And even though there are a few silly things on the list, a lot of the items are designed to help push me out of my hermit-like comfort zone and maybe lead to my 30's being a little more adventurous than my 20's.

I'll come back and cross these off as I (hopefully!) accomplish them! Okay, in no particular order -- here are 30 things I'd like to do before I turn *dun dun dun* thirty:



1. Start to learn French. I actually wanted to learn Latin, but I was watching a French film the other day and thought it would be incredibly cool if I could understand what they were saying instead of reading the subtitles. They don't make many movies in Latin so French seems like a better idea ;) I'm going to be using the Duolingo app, and I'm going to try to watch one French movie a week to see if I start understanding the dialogue as my lessons progress!

2. Learn to read music. I bought a balalaika last year but I can't play until I know how to read music. I'm tired of looking at my sad little instrument sitting silent in my bedroom.

3. Learn how to play the balalaika! This obviously depends on #2, but I'm hoping I can at least make progress.

4. Travel to Europe. I'm not sure where yet, but I'm saving up my airline miles already and ideally I'd do some kind of 30th birthday trip next year. I'm leaning towards Italy or France. I'd really love to do this alone on some kind of group tour, but I don't know if I have the courage.

5. Travel somewhere alone. I've flown alone but there's always somebody waiting for me at the airport when I arrive. If I don't get the nerve to travel to Europe alone, I at least want to go somewhere in the US. Probably New York, since I'm already very familiar with it and I think I'd feel comfortable on my own.

6. Complete a 30 before 30 watchlist. I got this idea from Andi's list on letterboxd. I haven't made my list yet (I'm going to be neurotic and wait until my 29th birthday to start it) but I can already think of a ton of must-see films I haven't watched yet and some not-quite-must-see films that I've been wanting to watch for years.

7. Start driving. I've had a car since 2013 and I've been practicing a lot this year but I still don't feel comfortable driving without someone in the car to advise me.

8. Listen to the entire New Order catalog. I mean I want to focus on listening. I don't want to do anything else but play the music, close my eyes, and listen.

9. Write my first book. I actually have four concrete ideas for books -- one is a children's book, one is an art book and two are DIY books -- now I need to get to work on making them.

10. Write a pilot. This is kind of crazy, but I have an idea for a sitcom (I chalk it up to watching too much Parks & Rec, The Office, and 30 Rock, and getting majorly inspired by Felicia Day's book) and the pilot has been writing itself in my head A LOT lately. I need to learn how to format a script and start transferring it out of my brain. I don't anticipate anything happening with it, but I just want to write it anyway.

11. Loosen up. I'm almost too laid back about things like schedules, being on time, plans gone awry, etc. but I'm insanely uptight about stuff like dancing in public, singing out loud when other people are around, clapping, being in the same aisle as other people at the grocery store... I just get anxious easily about really stupid things. I need to get outside of my head and loosen up a little.

12. Embrace my flaws. I highly doubt this is do-able in one single year but I want to really try. As you can probably tell by what I write in my outfit posts, I dissect every aspect of my appearance. I need to just cut it out. I never notice physical flaws when I look at other humans, so I need to stop seeing them in the mirror.

13. Actually read the books on The Middle Ages that I've been buying this year. I've acquired my own mini library but I've only read two of the books I bought. I'm so obsessed with this era and the only way to learn more is to start reading.

14. Break some of my bad habits. I wait way too long to pee, which is going to ruin my bladder (TMI, sorry!), I only do laundry when I run out of underwear (I'm one of those people who has actually BOUGHT underwear rather than do laundry. What's wrong with me??) and I drink way too much soda (which is probably why I have to pee so often..) All of that has to get fixed.

15. Volunteer. This will depend on whether or not I accomplish #7, but ideally I'd like to volunteer at the local non-profit movie theater.

16. Watch all of Hitchcock's sound films, in order. I've wanted to do this for so long! I've seen almost all of them already, but I really want to re-watch them in order. It seems like such a fun challenge!

17. Start vlogging. I've been holding back on this because I'm self conscious about my voice (I hopefully probably have made so many comments about my voice that by the time you finally hear it you'll think "well that's not as bad as I was thinking it would be") but I really want to make videos. There was a point in time where I wouldn't show my face in an outfit post because I was too insecure about my looks.. it's all about taking the first step.

18. Take advantage of my location. Like I said a few posts ago, I might be moving out of state relatively soon. Until that happens, I live really close to the Atlantic ocean, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.

19. Make an animation that's at least one minute long. I don't think anything ever makes me feel as accomplished as completing an animation. I've only made 3 (I think?) and they've all been SUPER short.

20. Go to ComicCon. I'm aiming for NYCC next year because SDCC seems impossible to get into. I really, really, really want to go, though. If neither of those are plausible then maybe Paleyfest instead.

21. Learn a new craft skill. I kind of want to just wander around Michael's and pick something on a whim. I don't want to monetize the craft for my shop, I just want it to be a hobby.

22. Try to spend my time more wisely. During one of my "woe is me, I'm almost 30" spells recently I thought about how 8-year-old me would react if she could meet me now. And I realized that she'd probably think I was pretty awesome. She'd be thrilled that my hair is pink and that my job is being an artist/person who makes stuff. She'd be really glad that I'm still playful and didn't turn into a stuffy grown up. But she'd be SO UPSET that I waste time goofing off on the internet. I spent so much of my childhood wishing I didn't have to go to school so I could draw instead. I played restaurant because I couldn't wait to grow up and cook real food. I can actually do those things all the time now, so why the heck do I spend so much time refreshing instagram?

23. Go to more comedy shows. I saw Chris Hardwick perform live this year and it was SO AWESOME. I don't think I've ever laughed as hard(wick) as I did that night. My skin isn't showing any wrinkles yet but I want some intense laugh-lines by the time I turn 40.

24.Make more custom Pop Vinyl dolls. I really want to make an Ian Malcolm doll, and some classic movie ones, too! I'd love to try my hand at sculpting instead of just doing custom paint.

25. Maybe possibly try online dating. Ugh, I can't believe I'm thinking about this because I'm literally the shyest person who has ever existed. Just writing this is making me flush. I mean, the cashier at Michaels was nice to me the other day (I repeat, NICE, not even remotely flirting) and I started blushing and couldn't even look at him. I'm HORRIBLE. At least I'm figuring if I try doing it online I can say upfront that I'm shy and then see what happens. I'm really iffy about this one but I'm putting it on the list anyway.

26. Go to a Spice Girls reunion tour concert. It's going to happen, okay?

27. Volunteer in the 2016 presidential election. I used to volunteer in every election since Clinton's 1992 campaign (I was six but I helped my dad volunteer) but I haven't done anything since '08. I felt like knocking on stranger's doors was incredibly ineffective, but I think I'd rather do something potentially futile than do nothing at all, which is 100% futile.

28. Go to the movies more often. I just got a MoviePass so I'm planning on using the heck out of it. In the last year I've really fell in love with the movie-going experience in a way I never felt before. It's almost like a drug, the way it makes me feel completely removed from my own thoughts.

29. Let go of things I shouldn't be holding onto. I don't want to elaborate a lot here, but basically I grew estranged from someone who used to be very important to me and I need to let it go. I'm holding onto that pain, and it's way too heavy. I want to feel lighter again. Maybe typing this out will help..

30. Go to Disneyland, ride in an airplane, kiss Peggy Fleming, live in a house with stairs, beat up a Russian. (High five if you understood this one.)