The 24 List

24 Photo

Two years ago, I wrote a list of 22 things I wanted to do before I turned 22. I loved the idea and the project, and some of my favourite memories of that year were sparked by the 22 before 22 list: creating a book club, making a podcast, sewing a dress, running a race. I didn’t make a list last year, mostly because the year was a bit strange for me between travelling for 3 months in Europe, living at home deciding my next steps, and ultimately moving to Korea. Since I didn’t know what the year would look like in terms of my routine or physical environment, I didn’t feel inspired to set goals. This year, I feel more settled and I have a pretty good vision of what 23 will look like, which means I’m feeling excited to start a new project.

These goals are all things I think will make my life richer, happier, and more fun. They’re meant to inspire me to have more adventures and experience more joy. They’re not meant to make me feel stressed out trying to check them all off. On the 22 list, I only completed 12 of my goals, and while I (of course) hope to cross more off this list, I’m approaching it with a very fun and relaxed attitude. So here we go, 23! Let’s see how many of these I can do before I turn 24.

  1. Get a tarot reading 
  2. Learn to surf Go surfing 
  3. Try acro yoga 
  4. Get into lotus pose safely and comfortably
  5. Run a half marathon Run a 10K race 
  6. Shoot & develop a disposable camera
  7. Learn 4 new hairstyles
  8. Get a manicure 
  9. Make 24 new recipes (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18)
  10. See the sunrise from a beach 
  11. Have a picnic somewhere stunning 
  12. Write another (e)book
  13. Sell something I make 
  14. Order room service
  15. Make a photobook for my trip to Europe
  16. Spruce up my websites 
  17. Go camping 
  18. Go trampolining 
  19. Write articles for 7 websites (1, 2, 3, 4)
  20. Create a photography portfolio 
  21. Be able to do a free-standing handstand 
  22. Donate to charity once a month 
  23. Make business cards
  24. Write 12 love letters by hand (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6-9, 10, 11)

22 Before 22

It’s been strangely difficult to write this post. Mainly, I had to get myself over a mental hurdle, which was accepting that I’ll be 22 at my next birthday. I had this moment last week, where I realized I was turning 21, not 20, and it seriously freaked me out. There are probably some folks older than me in the audience who are scoffing at me freaking out about being 21, and trust me, I get it. But to a 21-year-old who is rounding the bend on the third of four years of a University degree, with almost zero conception of what she wants to do once she’s graduated, who never had any real plan for her life past University: this time is really scary. Being this age is pretty scary. It’s exciting, and wide-open, and awesome, but it’s also scary.

But be that as it may, I keep pushing myself. I get bored, I try new things, I gain new hobbies. Even though sometimes I’m terrified, or overwhelmed with anxiety, or feeling really low, I keep trying. I set goals, and I push myself to achieve them. That much I know! So I did compile a list of fun goals for my 21st year, even though I have 2012 goals already. I tried to choose things that can be checked off, and that will enrich my life in new ways.

If anyone reading wants to offer advice, send along links, or make suggestions about how I can achieve any of these birthday goals, I’d be thrilled to hear them. And, as always, thank you for following along with my life here on my blog, it means more to me than you know. xo.

22 Before 22

  1. Grow out my nails and get a manicure
  2. Run a race
  3. Make cheese at home
  4. Stay in a hotel and order room service
  5. Get a food blog post accepted to Tastespotting
  6. Become a penpal
  7. Read one Jane Austen novel
  8. Start a book club
  9. Make sushi
  10. Sew a dress
  11. Get a pet fish
  12. Send someone a care package
  13. Create a podcast
  14. Take a self-imposed break from the Internet
  15. Do a juice detox
  16. Take a photography class or workshop
  17. Grow herbs and cherry tomatoes
  18. Climb a tree
  19. Travel somewhere new
  20. Make cinnamon buns
  21. Self-publish a cookbook
  22. Have a tarot reading done

Birthday 21

Hello, everybody! I’m writing to you for the first time from a 21-year-old body. That’s right, I had a birthday over the weekend (Saturday, the 7th, to be specific) and I am now wise and old and adult-like. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

In reality, I decided at 1AM on Wednesday night that going home for the weekend would be an excellent idea. So, very un-adult-like of me, I booked a last minute train ticket, ditched my friends, and surprised my family. Everybody forgave me in the end, and it was the best of all possible worlds. (Points if you get the literary reference!)

I spent my birthday/Easter weekend surrounded by people and things that I love. Strawberry mojitos, for one. My family, for another. The Dark Prince that is my cat. Plus there were books, and phone calls, and cinnamon-toast-crunch-like Easter nests with Mini Eggs in them, and the Decorah Eagles livestream and a 2 hour hike, and all-you-can-eat sushi/thai, and an inappropriate amount of side-by-side Draw Something games, and brunch. My family was definitely in its element this weekend (go team!).

Then I came home last night and walked over to hang out with some friends and walked into a straight-up surprise party! Complete with a cookie/candy/chocolate pizza (#resuscitateme), and all my friends, and whipped cream, and smiles, and white wine. And maybe a bright red, Le Creuset, cast-iron, enamelled skillet. What? Is this real life? Is this a strange dream in which I get everything I’ve ever wanted, ever?

In all seriousness though, I feel so blessed, so loved, so happy. Smiles, all around.

I made a mini-book to document all the love from my birthday weekend. I still might add a few things to it, including photos and journalling, but I thought I’d share it now before I forget about it. I love minibooks (learn more about them here) because they give you a chance to be creative, keep all the memorabilia that you want, and streamline the junk. You’re left with a cute, special reminder of a particular event, and I love that. Enjoy!

The book is made up mostly of the cards and paper I just cut up into about the same size. The reason the pink “Happy 21st Birthday!” is backwards is because my sister filmed a really cute gif and thought she had to make the sign backwards for the camera – but it turns out, she didn’t! I like that story. I took the pretty envelope liners from my parents’ cards and glued pieces to the front so that I can preserve those too. My other sister brought me that cute postcard, from China. I made the cover page by slipping the card inside a plastic sleeve and sewing up the remaining 2 sides by hand with white thread. Yay! I love it so much.

ps. Remember those powerpoint slides from that awesome book preview that I loved so much because they suggested the best books but that I lost, seemingly forever? I found them! The birthday magic continues!

Six Layer Chocolate Malted and Toasted Marshmallow Cake

Brace yourselves.

Wait, maybe I should have somehow written that in the title. The title alone sometimes stops my heart. It’s okay though guys: I only had one piece, and went for a run this morning. (Let’s just ignore the fact that the run probably burned 1/3 of the calories I consumed from that piece of cake alone.)

It’s probably a good thing that the birthdays of my closest friends all lie between March 12 and April 23. Because by the time April 23 rolls around I am not going to want to so much as see a cake until, like, at least 2013. I mean, pie maybe, but not cake.

Joking aside though, there are 5 birthdays (including my own) that fall between those dates, and that means that we, as a group, gain approximately a cake each, right before summer, aka bikini season. Way to plan that one out, parents, way to plan. Because it’s not as though cake is optional, on a birthday. For me it sometimes is, because icing can occasionally make me nauseous, but if there ain’t cake there sure as hell better be a tray of brownies or something.

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