Last year I created a list of 21 things I wanted to do before I turned 21. I fully expected to be able to check off at least half of them…but as I reviewed the list right before my birthday, I realized I had barely done anything on the list. Yet, somehow, 20 turned out to be a pretty fantastic year.
I’m still a listaholic and a goal-setter, though, so of course I made a list of 22 things I need to do before my next birthday. Hopefully this time I can cross a few more off the list!
Live with intention. This isn’t a goal that I can easily track or “accomplish”, however it’s probably one of the most important items on the list. I waste so much time daily doing nothing – and all that “nothing” adds up quickly. Then I turn around and complain that I never get anything done and never do anything exciting. To live with intention means, to me, that I am more conscious of where and how I spend my time and focus on using my time wisely and actually seeking out opportunity, instead of waiting for it to come knocking.
Continue learning Spanish. I’ve been “learning Spanish” since middle school and yet somehow I’m still incapable of holding the most basic conversation. This year, especially considering my move to Central America, I want to get focused and create an actual study plan I can stick to.
Practice yoga every day for a month. Yoga is another thing I “love” but never actually do. There was a time when I used to practice a few times a week so I know that yoga truly soothes the mind and makes me feel better. I’d love to get back in the habit of doing yoga regularly so I want to jumpstart that habit by doing a 30 Day Yoga Challenge.
Get another tattoo. 20 saw me get 2 new tattoos and a piercing. I have ideas for several more and I cannot wait to add a few more pieces to my travel arm.
Finish a manuscript. Way back when fiction writing used to be My Thing. I would stay home from school “sick” just so I could write and actually managed to finish a few rough drafts of novels. They were terrible but you can’t fix an unwritten manuscript. It’s been so long since I’ve done any true creative fiction writing and I have so many ideas churning in my head that 21 is going to be the year I truly start writing again.
Visit 1 new continent. It’s hard to believe that even after all my travels, I’ve never officially left North America. I adore Central America but I’d love this year to be the year I finally explore somewhere totally foreign.
Attend a music festival. Somehow, despite a few cool opportunities in Costa Rica and being back in the States for festival season, I never actually managed to go to a music festival. This year, it’s going to happen, whether it’s Envision in Costa Rica or Bonnaroo in Tennessee, I will be at a music festival this year.
Catch a sunrise/sunset over the beach. Super cheesy but definitely a goal. I still have yet to truly catch a sunrise or sunset over the beach.
Pay better attention to what my body wants/needs. Another more personal goal for this year is to actually start listening to my body instead of making excuses. Giving it the healthy food it craves, actually moving and not stopping the second I get bored, and resting when I got worn down instead of pushing forward to a complete burnout.
Actually finish an online course. I love to learn and I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to be in school to continue learning. This is especially true in the days of EdX and Coursera, along with free courses offered by many colleges. I always find myself browsing these sites and signing up for classes…then promptly forgetting about them before Week 1 is over. This year I’m going to start – and actually finish – at least one.
Become more involved in politics. When I was a senior in high school, during the 2012 election year, I took AP US Government & Politics and became super passionate about several issues. I could spend all day debating politics and back up my reasoning with actual facts. Now, I barely have any idea what’s going on beyond a few social issues. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to politics so I’m making it a goal to become more informed on the issues and candidates – and put that information to good use.
Improve my photography skills. When it comes to real photography and not just snapping random pictures with my iPhone, I know next to nothing. I know photography is a huge part of running a successful blog and with all of these big adventures coming up, I definitely want to have good photos for myself too, so I want to take this time between trips to actually learn how to use my camera and improve my general photography skills as well.
Write a short story. With the exception of a few school assignments, I’ve never actually written a short story. I’ve always stuck with full-length fiction manuscripts or online articles. I’d like to challenge myself this year by writing a short story.
Publish work somewhere I do not currently write for. Staying with writing, I also want to expand my online writing portfolio. I currently write for a few sites – Epicure & Culture, CultNoise – and have had posts published on a few others. I’d like to expand that list and have my work published somewhere else. Bonus points if it’s an on-going gig.
Celebrate a holiday abroad, particularly a local one. This is another goal leftover from last year, since I ended up coming home before I was able to experience any holiday abroad. Hopefully this is the year that it happens. I’d love for it to be a local, cultural holiday!
Explore Pennsylvania more. How pathetic is it that I’ve lived in Pennsylvania for 21 years and have barely seen any of the state? I live 2 and a half hours from Philadelphia and lived less than an hour from Pittsburgh for over a year yet I barely explored either one. There’s so much history here too, especially in Gettysburg.
Be more active in More Love Letters. I can’t remember how I found the site but for the past few months I’ve fallen in love with More Love Letters. I’m one of those people who looove sending snail mail and making others smile so it’s the perfect project for me. I’ve participated in a few of their monthly campaigns and I’d like to make that more of a monthly ritual for me.
Put my money where my mouth is. This is going to be a true challenge since I have a habit of spending my money on random shit without putting real thought into it. But, I want to start putting money where my mouth is. This means shopping local and handmade and supporting small businesses over big corporations and supporting causes I believe in.
Read more. I used to read a book a day. Now it’s a miracle if I read a book a month, though that never stops me from buying more books. Reading is still my favorite destresser and I love it so much that I need to start making time for it.
Get rid of junk. I have a loot of stuff. Most of it is completely random stuff from my childhood or teen years or things that my grandma picked up at yardsales. I also have totes and totes of supplies for crafts that I’m never going to actually get around to making. Even if I don’t completely reduce my life down to a backpack, there’s no need for me to hang on to most this stuff. It’s just cluttering my room – and my brain.
Earn $500 a month writing. When I was in Nicaragua, I was making enough money online to pay my (very cheap) rent. But when I came home, I lost my biggest freelance job and just stopped caring about the rest. I’m at the point now where I’d like to start making enough to supplement my travel fund. I think $500 a month is an achievable goal, whether that comes from being a virtual assistant, blogging, or freelance writing.
Learn self-defense. One regret I have is that I did not learn self-defense before leaving for my solo travels. I was never in a situation where I needed it but I think knowing at least a few key self-defense moves is important, especially since I travel solo so much. I’m hoping to find a local-ish course or class to take.