28 things to do before I turn 29 (four months late)

My birthday was four months ago this Wednesday, but as we know, I haven't been up-to-snuff on blogging until pretty recently. However, while I was offline, I did make what has become my annual birthday list - not of gift requests, but of what I want to do before my next birthday. (Thanks to Rosie Molinary for this idea in the first place!)

I started this practice when I turned 25, and continued for birthdays 26 and 27. Now, albeit a little late, it's time for 28. I'll be the first to tell you that not all of these hopes and goals for the year get done, and that's okay. It's not meant to be an assignment, but simply an opening into the universe for what might be able to happen in the next year (er, eight months). And I think that putting them on paper/sharing them with you all makes me more likely to follow through (grad school, anyone?).

Not to mention, it's fun! So here they are as I continue into my 29th year, not in any particular order. Had a birthday lately or not-lately? What are some of yours?

1. Start a teaching side gig. I'm in the middle of this now, teaching a personal writing class on Sunday nights, and I'm really enjoying it. It's great to meet a new crop of people from the community, and I can tell that it comes more naturally - both the subject matter and the facilitating - as I go.

2. Send out one agent query. I wrote a memoir manuscript as part of my MFA program (one of my big reasons for doing an MFA to begin with was to have the support, critique, and DEADLINES so that I would actually finish writing a book), and while I'm not rushing to get it published, I'd at least like to start getting the ball rolling on that fraught, exciting process about which I have a great deal to learn.

3. Finish all name change documents. We've been married not quite two years and this is taking awhile. Because who wants to spend time in lines or on the phone? I've got the major items done, but not everything.

4. Start using 8/10 lb. weights in workouts. Already working on this, and telling a difference.

5. Meditate for 10 minutes a day. This is becoming habit too, and I looove it...

6. Finish mandala coloring book. For my birthday, my mom got me one of those adult coloring books of beautiful mandalas, along with some great new colored pencils. I did three or four before Christmas, and would like to get back to it.

7. Visit a new place. This is already on the list, with a trip out to the Pacific Northwest planned for later this spring. We'll hit some spots we've already been, but want to see some new places too!

8. Start a new TV show. I've always wanted to watch "The West Wing." Or "Friday Night Lights." "Gilmore Girls"? So many classics that I never got around to for some reason. Not that there aren't awesome shows currently on... (Suggestions welcome!)

9. Go to my high school reunion (if we have one...). What's up, DHHS '06? Is this gonna happen?

10. Clean out our home office. More commonly and semi-fondly referred to as our "Room of Crap." This cleaning process comes and goes in waves. It mostly has to do with all of the paper and unopened mail I pile on my desk. Hooray for packrat-ness! 

11. Save more money. Kind of a given. This is always on my list.

12. Read for fun. No more writing/reading critically! No more mini book reports due every three weeks! That was a great practice that taught me a lot, but not gonna lie, I am thrilled to be back on the reading for fun train. I have five books in my backpack right now. Overenthusiastic much?

13. Host a dinner party. Not necessarily a fancy dinner party, but I know a husband who can grill like a boss and since we actually live in a house and have a dining room (albeit with some creaky chairs) that opens out to a back patio, I definitely want to have people over this spring more than we did last year.

14. Go hiking. I want to be outside more, and there are so many opportunities for day hikes in our area.

15. No social media on Sunday mornings. I've been doing this for a little while; I don't check any kind of social media or email until after church on Sundays. It's a small break, I know, and probably could be longer, but right now I feel like it's something I can start with.

16. Pledge to church. Also a given.

17. Revamp my website. An actual logo is on the way, y'all. I love working with Grace and I can't wait to show you what she's creating!

18. Try new recipes. Always a given... maybe there will be time this year!

19. Make a long-term budget. I just want to learn more about finances generally.

20. Join the Atlanta Writers' Club. I know it's out there!

21. Pay off one student loan. So then I can concentrate on the other ones... #adulting

22. Frame more photos. We have photos, we have frames, we have space. Maybe I should adjust this one - learn how to actually hang framed photos without having to ask Sean or Mom!

23. Write more letters. For Lent this year I'm writing a letter a day, and I hope that will start me on the road to keeping in better touch with folks on paper since my phone tag game has completely fallen off the rails. 

24. Walk the Atlanta BeltLine. We've heard so much about this addition to the city, but haven't made it there yet. I hope that changes this spring/summer/fall.

25. Try out pie crust from scratch. Watching The Great British Bake Off has gotten me in the mood for this. It seems like the result would be so much better than store-bought! To be continued... (any suggestions?)

26. Approach all with kindness. I'm so aware these days of the fear and uncertainty in the world, and I'm determined not to add to it. My goal for this year and onward is to look at everyone around me, especially strangers, with the assumption that they mean well. This doesn't mean being completely oblivious to my personal safety, but simply hoping to assess situations by recognizing the good and the humanity of the person in front of me before moving forward.

27. Use white privilege to be an ally, and keep learning. Similarly, I'm trying to listen and learn more about how to be an open, vocal, self-and-culturally-aware white person for my black brothers and sisters.

28. More community service. Now that I won't be spending weekends stressing out about school work, I'd like to get more involved in this way.

Phew! It's fun to already be able to tell a difference in some of these hopes/goals/changes less than half a year in. Cheers to the next eight months and beyond!