27 things to do before I turn 28.

First married birthday, featuring our wedding cake topper. Who wants to wait a year when there's chocolate involved?!

First married birthday, featuring our wedding cake topper. Who wants to wait a year when there's chocolate involved?!

So, my birthday was nearly five weeks ago, but I still wanted to write out a list that has become a bit of a tradition over the last couple of years. I was inspired by my friend and mentor Rosie, who makes a birthday list every year. For me, first came 25 things to do before I turned 26. Then 26 things to do before I turned 27. Now it's time for another.

This isn't a list of must-dos, not items to cross off or to beat myself up if I don't do them all, or even half. But I find that simply putting these ideas and hopes out there gives the upcoming year an open space for possibility.

I came up with all of these today while waiting for the shuttle ride home from work. It's interesting, what popped into my head so suddenly for...

27 Things to Do Before I Turn 28:

1. Get a pedometer and track my walking. I had one freshman year of college and really appreciated how conscious it made me of movement.

2. Write one page a day in my journal.

3. Buy a second external hard drive and make sure all of my writing and photos are backed up. Please Lord may I not be jinxing myself on this.

4. Have one catch-up phone conversation every week.

5. This always seems to be wishful thinking, but maybe if I keep repeating it, it might someday become a reality... Get earlier bedtimes and wake up earlier to enjoy the morning and write.

6. Try new recipes out of our many new cookbooks - and plan at least two meals weekly.

7. I tend to look at social media a LOT when I am either a) bored or b) hoping for lots of "likes." It's hardly ever worth it to keep checking and checking, and it wastes my time, and screws up my ego either downwards or upwards. I want to be more purposeful about when and why I am connected.

8. On the same note, when I am with someone (or ones), I want to focus on them - not be sidetracked by my electronic device.

9. Hang pictures and art in our new house.

10. Decorate my office at work.

11. Walk outside every day for at least 10 minutes if it's not raining.

12. Write a letter to my grandfather every year at Thanksgiving, to remember the last wonderful day we spent together before he had his stroke.

13. Save money.

14. Finish grad school (starting grad school was one of my successful accomplishments on last year's list!)... which means teaching a writing workshop in the spring and finishing my memoir manuscript. I'm looking forward to being challenged by and enjoying both.

15. Have intentional date nights with Sean.

16. During the season of Advent, somehow celebrate the ways I see and feel light and longing.

17. Find a way to make Lent meaningful when the time comes.

18. Explore different neighborhoods around town.

19. I've suffered from heartburn off and on (more on) for the last five years and have just found out that there's a heartburn center at a hospital in town. I'd like to make an appointment there and get to the bottom of this.

20. Serve in the community.

21. Be okay with living in between, trying to figure out where home is, what home means, and simply understanding that the sometimes clear but mainly messy feelings surrounding this subject are perfectly normal and should be lived into.

22. Visit a new place with Sean.

23. Pack more and better lunches during the week - too often I resort to eating out, when I know that many more frugal and creative options exist.

24. Continue to build on the good strength training I've started. Jessica Smith, you're the best.

25. Go camping/hiking. I don't make enough purposeful time for nature, and I'd really like to (especially when it gets, uh, warmer).

26. Get more training in graphic design, Photoshop, InDesign - for my job, but also just for my own knowledge and expansion.

27. Enjoy and savor the first year of marriage, and all that it brings.