My 30 before 30 (aka please let me be a functional adult after I leave my 20s)

During the week of my birthday, I noticed a couple of posts popping up around the blogosphere that revolved around setting goals for milestone birthdays. (The two in particular that crossed my path were Vee’s 25 before 25 and Amanda’s 30 before 30, but they are definitely not the only ones to create posts like this.) While I was hesitant to come up with my own list at first, worrying that if I were to not reach these goals by 30 I’d end up being disappointed in myself, I ultimately decided it was worth a go. Not only did I want to see what thirty items I would come up with, but I decided that even if I didn’t do them all just making a conscious effort towards making them happen would make me a happier , better-functioning person (and really, these days that’s all I really want).

30 Goals for 30 || Thoughts about where I'd be at 30 age 18 vs. age 28 || illustration by Asti @

Click to see a larger (though still sloppy) image of the illustration

It’s actually funny when I think about what I thought life would be like a decade ago vs now. It just felt like once high school was over I would figure everything out and by 30 I’d have this whole list of accomplishments I could rattle off: a family, a home, a good job. It all just seemed so much simpler then… and of course it was, everything was before my brain introduced depression into my life.

But now? Well, I would just like to figure out how to be a functional adult. I’d like to be able to make and maintain friendships without having a meltdown or letting my insecurities rule me. I’d like to find a job and actually stick to it without having a breakdown in front of everyone and ultimately quitting once I hit the lowest of lows. I’d like to learn how to accept the bad days and not let them consume me to the point that months pass by. I’d just like to do a lot of the everyday things that I think some people take for granted.

So, without further ado, my 30 before 30 list: a collection of things I want to work on during these next two years before I hit the next big birthday milestone, a majority of which I feel will help transform me into the functioning adult I’d like to be (while still also having fun).

Friends, Family, and Love

1. Make a conscious effort to stay in touch with friends.
2. Reach out to old friends, colleagues, etc. and give thanks/bury negativity/let go of grudges.
3. Continue steady rotation of pen pals.
4. Regularly spend quality time with my family.
5. Convince Steph (my sister-in-law) to go out drinking and dancing with me one more time.
6. Successfully secure a spouse visa to move to the UK with Dave.
7. Have a lovely wedding to the man of my dreams!
8. Determine “us” activities/days for Dave and I.
9. Take extra special care of my dogs to the best of my ability while I can.

Mental and Physical Health

10. Keep peeing clear (aka staying hydrated).
11. Be mindful of eating.
12. Continue taking dental hygiene seriously.
13. Make yoga a daily habit.
14. Successfully complete C25K.
15. Start challenging my brain by learning again.
16. Start up daily mood journal/gratitude list again.
17. Practice positive thinking.

Blog, Creation, and Career

18. Create everyday.
19. Step outside of creative comfort zone.
20. Continue blogging in a way that makes me happy.
21. Explore creative work as possible source of income.
22. Become employed, whether traditional or freelance.
23. Give YouTube another shot.

Other Hobbies and Travel

24. Continue taking care of succulents.
25. Get back into habit of using DSLR.
26. Read at least 24 books a year.
27. Take dance lessons.
28. Visit a new country.
29. Go on a road trip.
30. Go camping.

Phew! That’s it! Now, I originally was going to write more details next to each list item but, well, I ramble a lot and this post would’ve been super-duper long so I didn’t. If you’re curious about any of the items above though and want to know more, let me know and I’ll talk more about it in the comments!

Do you have a 30 before 30 list (or a similar equivalent)? Love the idea or meh? Any items that would be on your list that are similar to mine? And do you think your list would’ve drastically changed versus what you expected a decade ago? If so, how? Let me know in the comments below! (And wish me luck in successfully completing mine!) 

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It’s my birthday and I’m going in the closet.


It’s my birthday and I’m going in the closet.

That’s right. It’s my birthday. As of today I am twenty-eight (eek!) and, since it’s my big day, I finally get to go in the closet.

Now, let me clarify here. I am not using the phrase ‘going in the closet’ as some kind of metaphor for revealing (or hiding) my sexual or gender identity. No, I am talking about literally going into a closet. Why? Because that’s where my birthday present is.

You see, I got an email from my dad on May 10th. And in that email it said:

“i got your birthday present..
mom said i should wait til your birthday….
my thinking is, it’s here, it’s not like it will be a huge surprise…
there is a reason i went the route i did, which i’ll share after you see your present…..
anywho, if you want your present early it’s in the box in my closet…
but if you want to open something for your birthday, then stay out of my”

May 10th I received this email. Just over TWO WEEKS AGO!

And c’mon, you know my first obvious response: “PRESENTS?! LET’S GO! GO! GO!” I mean, he said I could open it now and I don’t really care about opening it early (I actually got my birthday presents from Dave last month) so why not?

Your Birthday Presents are in the Closet || Illustration by Asti @ atypicalnarrative

But I didn’t do it. I was tempted. I was honestly really so close to doing it. But I didn’t.

Why not? Well, if I’m honest, it’s mainly because of that second line: “mom said i should wait til your birthday.”

Oh mom. Way to ruin all the fun. 😉

You see, my mom likes things to be a certain way. Take my dad’s birthday, which happened last month. She decided to throw him a little party with just the immediate family and while we were waiting for everyone to arrive dad decided he wanted to open his presents. I let him open his from Dave and I because why not? It was his birthday! But mom told him he shouldn’t open any (and wasn’t allowed to open the one from her) because he needed to open them once everyone was there like a normal birthday party.

In other words, who cares what the birthday boy wants, it’s not the way things are supposed to be done!

Do I Open my Birthday Presents Early?! || Illustration by Asti @ atypicalnarrative

So I could have opened the closet and grabbed my presents over two weeks ago and it would’ve mostly been fine, but to save mom the grumbling I’ve decided to wait… and wait… and wait.

Until today.

So, without further ado, I am finally going into the closet to get my birthday present. Wish me luck!

(Sidenote: Wouldn’t it be hilarious if the closet was empty this entire time and my parents were just testing me? I don’t think that’s the case because I know my dad isn’t really bothered when I open it, but sometimes that’s an added layer to my indecisiveness: should I open it just to see if this was a trick?!)

Your turn! Has something like this ever happened to you? Would you have opened the closet prior to your big day, or would you have waited? And, if you are someone who opens presents early like me, do you find it ever bothers you on the big day with nothing actually happens? Let me know in the comments below (or at the very least wish me a happy birthday ;))!

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Or if you’re just interested in reading a similar post:
When Your Future Mother-in-Law Uses Your
Toothbrush to Clean the Birdcage