My 21st birthday was in June. It was a surreal birthday, to say the least. I spent the day before at the funeral for a very dear uncle of mine, reflecting on all my memories of him and the lessons he taught me over the 20 years I knew him for. A lot of these lessons weren't things that he sat me down and taught me, of course. They emerged from his many stories about fighting in WWII and the Korean War, his stories of falling in love with his wife, memories of my grandmother (his sister), his experiences living up in the country. My time with him was a blessing and left me reflecting on becoming a better, more courageous and productive person. So, I decided to draft up a list of 21 things to do before I turn 22. Some are goals, things to make me a better person. Some are experiences, things I want to see and smell and touch. Some are things I just need to get done for the sake of doing them.
1. Visit Seattle. I have an old friend living out in Seattle and I've promised to visit him for a few years now, but have never gotten around to it. I've been missing the mountains and my friend, so I think it's time to head out west.
2. Take a road trip. I've made this promise to myself for years, planned trips with friends and boyfriends, and have never gotten anywhere. I've made plans for a few different trips - see Graceland, visit the graves of family who settled in Eastern Wisconsin, hike Yosemite, camp on Lake Tahoe's shores, see the Grand Canyon, explore Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. This year, I'll do at least one of these.
3. Make amends with all the friends I've hurt. We've all hurt friends before. Earlier this year, I made amends with a friend who I had split from a couple of years ago. It felt good, and I want to make sure I do this with the other few friends I left on bad terms.
4. See Disneyworld during Christmastime. Everyone knows how much I love Christmas, right? I've heard that during Christmastime, Disney pump the streets of the Magic Kingdom with peppermint scent. So cool. Oh, I also want to see Harry Potter World at long last!
5. Finish reading Fitzgerald. I want to finish reading all of Fitzgerald's full-length novels - I still have to finish Tender is the Night and I haven't even touched The Last Tycoon - and maybe even finish up his short stories.
6. Every month, do something that terrifies me. I like doing things that terrify me, but I shy away from them because they're so terrifying. But when I do them, I get a thrill and gain a boost of love for myself. I want to keep doing things that absolutely scare me.
7. Become a regular donor at two non-profits. Even now when I'm underemployed & living with my parents, taking public transportation, I find room in my wallet to make occasional donations to my favourite non-profits. Before I turn 22, I'd like to consider myself a sustaining donor at at least two deserving missions.
8. Try a new restaurant every month. Realistically, I probably eat out a couple of times a month. Also realistically, I probably stick to my 5 or so main places. The Twin Cities is a total hub for dining, so it's time I start exploring new places.
9. Practice gratitude on a daily basis. Last December as I was re-considering my relationship with my boyfriend, I identified his lack of gratitude as one of his worst flaws. After I made this realization, I reflected on my own sense of gratitude towards people, occurrences, and things in my life. I want my 21st year of life to be full of gratitude and a sense of how truly wonderfully fortunate I am.
10. Sew a quilt. I started sewing a quilt last year as a Christmas present for my boyfriend, but I suppose it's mine now! I've wanted to sew my own quilt since I was just a kid looking at all the beautiful quilts my grandmother designed. Before I turn 22, I'll have my own handmade quilt to snuggle up under.
11. Get a third tattoo. I finally decided on a design for my third tattoo! Time to save up and get that ink.
12. Learn to sew my own intimate wear. For whatever reason, I want to learn to sew my own bras and underwear. (Really, I don't know why I want to do this.) Working with lace and sheer fabrics has always intimated me, but I won't ever learn unless if I just right into it!
13. Take time to paint or draw every week. Whenever I take the time to break out the watercolours, I immediately de-stress and find myself centered. For the sake of my mental health, it's time to take a weekly break to paint or draw.
14. Meet more Minnesota bloggers! I know you're out there - right?
15. Become a better networker. So much of my work in development (and, Hell, in getting a job, amiright?) depends on networking. I just recently started networking after the CEO at my internship asked me why I don't use my connections to get a job. Huh....good question.
16. Buy a scooter. I've been dreaming up a Vespa for years now. I think I deserve a toy, even if you only get to use it a few months out of the year in Minnesota.
17. Try online dating. I've always wanted to see what it's all about. If I'm still single in the next year (odds are, yes) then I want to try online dating. Maybe I'll find true love....but I'll probably just walk away with a lot of great stories to add to my collection of terrible dates.
18. Sew something new every month. Something new does not equal hemming pants or repairing a seam.
19. Get back into jewelry making. I still have all sorts of beads and knick knacks from when I was younger and would make myself all of these wacky necklaces and other jewelry. I've recently stumbled upon some really beautiful bead vendors on Etsy, inspiring me to get back into this fun little outlet.
20. Try a new recipe every week. Come on, whose Pinterest board isn't loaded with a million and one recipes to try?
21. Eat more green. I wanted my 21st goal to be a good one but I'll just stick with the cliche. I recently started drinking organic milk and it is so much better. I've started growing an herb garden and would like to branch out into growing my own produce, and shopping more at the farmer's market and my local co-op. Who doesn't hate the idea of putting all those nasty chemicals into your body? It's time to cut back on that.