As you may have know from this post last week – I turned 30!
Since turning 30, everybody has been raving about what life is like in your third decade. That it’s a time when all the confused baby fat of your twenties is toned into potent clarity. A time of empowerment, self-expression and mastering (as Mark Manson put it) the subtle art of not giving a fuck. When you come full circle back to who you were as a child – strong in your sense of self and devoted to your seeking of pleasure.
I like this forecast.
And, amazingly, I do feel bolder. I can see the person I am and what I want to do in this world and in my life.
In celebration of turning 30 I decided to make a list of things that I want to do, see and achieve in my thirties. Some are specific. Some are broad. Some are practical. Some involve sloths.
In my experience, great things often come from expressing your intentions. So here I go;
#1 – Get over my fear of flying.
Back in 2001 I took an extremely turbulent flight that rendered me aerodynamically challenged. While I continued to fly, in the years that followed, my fear intensified on every flight. As many anxieties do, my fear of flying had morphed into a fear of the fear of flying (this is Panic Attack 101). My last flight was in 2011 and was the straw that broke my husband’s back; we decided that until my fear was managed enough not to seriously freak out other passengers that I should stay grounded. That’s another story for another day.
Lately my horizons are feeling small. Australia is a big country and there’s only so far you can drive (note: island). There are people to meet. Places to explore. Workshops to attend. I want to see the world again. I want my daughter to have the well-traveled childhood that I enjoyed. The time is now. I’ve committed myself to taking this fear of flying course and getting on the damn plane (without the dutch courage).
#2 Write a book.
A real one. With pages and paper and possibly a fuzzy black and white image of me resting my chin on my clenched fist. With a monocle.
#3 Add to my family.
I want to add a guinea pig or two to my brood. Some pekin bantam hens that lay tiny eggs for tiny tummies. And a human baby too.
#4 Hug a sloth.
For real. I want to volunteer at this Costa Rican Sloth Sanctuary for abandoned and orphaned sloths. And I will look at their little sloth faces and I will smile and weep and marvel at the magical, mossy creatures.
It could be a Code Kristen Bell (click here if you have no idea what I’m on about).
#5 Buy a house and make it a home.
It will be made of weatherboard. I will paint it cornflower blue and the trims will be white. It will have a bullnose verandah with cane rocking chairs and pots that are overflowing with mint and basil. It will be near the ocean. I want to make pancakes and happy memories in it.
#6 Go on a retreat.
I’m talking a whole weekend affair – screw it, a week!!! – with massages and cold-pressed juices and plinky-plonky music. I want to be utterly spoiled. I want it to be for me. I want to curl up in a hammock and write lists and read books and do yoga and sip tea. It will be the most indulgent thing I have ever done for myself. And it will be guilt-free.
#7 Wear good quality clothing.
I largely adopted this habit last year but some impulse buys still sneak through. Here’s why I want to veer away from disposable fashion;
+ Firstly, they are ethically shite. From sweat shops to the environmental effects.
+ They lose their shape quickly and therefore don’t last long. Refer previous point.
+ With higher quality clothing there is a thoughtfulness – both in production and purchase – that resonates with me. You don’t buy on a whim, you carefully select pieces that align with your style and wardrobe.
+ Less items in your wardrobe = less needless choice = more time to do and think about more important things.
Adorning yourself with consideration and care is better for your body, soul and the environment.
#8 Reduce my waste to a jar.
Have you seen those people that can show you all the waste they’ve produced for the entire year in a jar? Here’s one. Here’s another. And once upon a time – I used to be one. Whether it’s parenthood, complacency or both, my eco habits have waned slightly.
My intention is to get back to that level of commitment to the environment, because I’m really rather fond of it. This was the saying that reminded me to #giveashit
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality
(Read more about this awesome lass here)
#9 Exhibit my work.
Step 1: Create a body of work that I’m proud of.
Step 2: Show it somewhere.
Step 3: Do a jig.
Maybe it’ll be photos or drawings or paintings or even the little animal figurines that I make out of fimo clay. But one day I want to fill a room with things I’ve made.
#10 Go hiking.
There have been many movies and books of late that have inspired me to take up hiking; Wild, The Way, A Walk In The Woods, 127 Hours (maybe scrap that last one). Point being, whether by osmosis or brainwashing, I’ve fallen in love with the notion of walking in nature and it just so happens that Western Australia is the perfect place to explore such a whim.
It is a hobby I want to ingrain in Lucy (and any other kidlets). I have already decided that my first major milestone will be the Bibbulmun track (a 1000km historical trail that runs through the hills of Perth). This bodes well for the next one…
#11 Go Camping.
I used to go camping a fair bit when I was younger and I learnt a lot. Making your own fun. Distraction-free quality time. Being resourceful and creative. How positively revolting damper is. In a time when we are hyper connected I want to allow for the complete immersion into nature and ensure my children have the same advantage.
#12 Appear on the Ellen Degeneres show.
I don’t know how. I don’t know when. But I do know that it always pays to have a lofty goal on your list.
#13 Grow an incredible veggie patch.
Ever since I watched It’s Complicated I’ve dreamed about swanning around my abundant veggie patch, with a wicker basket and floppy hat. Actually, I’ve dreamed about Meryl Streep swanning around my garden with her hat and basket but I hear her day rate is high. So a vegetable patch will have to do. Organic, companion planting, upcycled wooden signs with painted words and lots of cucumbers.
Lucy and I will tend to it every day (with our hands in the dirt) and I will watch her gobbling cherry tomatoes straight off the vine just like I used to gobble gooseberries when I was a kid.
#14 Learn how to communicate eloquently.
That declaration may sound like career suicide coming from a writer but let me explain.
When it comes to the written word – I’m down with that. I feel the most clarity on the page.
However, actually speaking? Off the cuff, in-person, face to face banter? Well, that’s decidedly more clumsy and self-conscious.
I want to learn how to articulate, enunciate and project properly. How to speak powerfully without awkward shuffling and short-changing myself or my ideas. I intend to do this by getting a speech coach, attending workshops and putting myself out there in ways that wake up all the butterflies in my stomach. This will hope with my next point…
#15 Perform something, somewhere.
I’m always deeply impressed by people who get up onto a stage simply to say something that might make the world (or simply an individual) better. Or offer a different viewpoint. Or make someone feel less alone/inspired/laugh. This poem gives me goosebumps. This guy made me cry. This made me laugh.
I want to be one of those people. In my case we can scrub out singing. And dancing. But spoken word pieces, speeches, slam poetry or a well done stand-up routine? That feels challenging in the right way. That feels good.
#16 Take more holidays.
I want to be with my family in places where I can marvel, explore and absorb. Less working, more exploring. Less doing, more being.
#17 Buy an expensive, plush, wonderful, quality couch.
Most of my furniture is secondhand or pieces that I’ve grabbed off the side of the road and refurbished. Or Ikea (I’m only human). I like this and am proud of it but, for me, an ultimate moment in adulthood will be carefully selecting a couch that I adore. A couch that is probably more expensive than any piece of furniture I have ever bought. A couch that will make me consider putting a plastic cover over it like an old lady with a dust-buster.
#18 Break up with alcohol. For good.
This has been a gradual evolution (and my story continues to warp) but more and more I’m feeling the pull to adios the alcohol. While alcohol may enhance my dance moves, it does not enhance my life. I want to continue the current alcohol-reduced trajectory and see what happens when I cut it completely. The clarity. The clear eyes. The hangover free life.
#19 Make. Experiment. Play.
Take photographs with long exposures. Draw more nudes. Sketch more animals. Paint more canvases. Write more silly childish poetry. Create for the sake of creating.
#20 Become a genuine movie buff.
I’m passionate about movies. I have been since I was a little girl (Mum and Dad always told me it was very appropriate that they called me Emmy). In highschool I loved analysing the lighting, music, dialogue and symbolism. I still do.
I’m already a walking film database and now I want to delve deeper into this interest of mine. Why? Simply because I’m interested. I want to watch all the classics, know my favorite directors, know any stories or the political contexts that surround them, go to film festivals and host movie nights. (Do I need to grow a beard now or does the movie thing alone qualify me as a hipster?).
#21 Be more romantic.
This year will mark 10 years since I was lucky enough to snag my husband. Tony Robbins said “if you treat your partner like the beginning of your relationship, you likely won’t have an end to one”.
While Mark and I are going as swimmingly as a pair of hand-holding otters, I want to make him a huge priority for my affections and energy. Romantic surprises. Sexy notes (this list will help with that). Doing nice things for the hell of it. Playing more.
#22 Be ridiculously, utterly present.
Since having my daughter I have become hyper-aware of the fragility and transience of life. My number one priority is to soak up every moment whether its magic or messy. This means constantly reevaluating my priorities and how I spend my time, from my career to social media.
#23 Keep a diary.
I’ve always been an intermittent diary-keeper. However after happening upon my Great Great Aunt’s memoir I am devoting myself to the practice of artful reflection. Where I focus on writing the stories of my life so that one day my kids can read them and make sense of themselves (like I did with Aunty Doris’s memoir).
#24 Write more. And more. And more.
The more I write, the more I fall in love with the art of writing. I want to delve into the art of it. The history. Learn theory. Do courses. Study the greats, learn the rules, break the rules, improve my grammar, look at moments where words have changed the world and truly immerse myself in this wonderful medium of ours.
#25 Work with animals again.
Working with shelter dogs again. Not Benny the Beagle who I discussed over here.
#26 Ride a bike.
I’m going to swap shitty radio banter and needless pollution for fresh air and a nice bottom.
#27 Work with teenage girls.
This is the fuzziest of the dreams on this list. One that I can almost see in my minds eye, but not quite.
Lately, I’ve had an increasingly persistent urge to share things that I have previously kept largely secret. Things that dramatically affected my own life. Issues that, today, I see intensifying rather than improving. My eating disorder, the invisible bullying that drove me to the brink and the anxiety that ruled my life.
I often wonder whether I would’ve gotten out alive had social media existed when I was a school girl. I genuinely can’t tell you I would’ve. I would love to be the light at the end of what for some girls is a long dark tunnel and share how important sisterhood, creativity and self-care is.
#28 Host events for women.
As above. As a result of the aforementioned high-school bullying I decided that women (spare a very treasured few) were bitchy and unsupportive. Ooph – I was wrong. The connections I’ve made over the past few years have shown me with blinding clarity that I was wrong, as well as showing me just how powerful it is when we do support each other.
My dream is to facilitate more places and spaces for other women to get together.
#29 Get better at asking questions.
I want to master the art of making people feel valued, heard and cherished. That sounds as fluffy as a damn pomeranian but it shouldn’t be. Active listening is an important skill, one that at odds with our scrolling culture. This TED talk blew my mind open.
I am making the commitment to consider everyone I meet a teacher with a riveting, compelling story of their own because (SPOILER ALERT) – they are!
What I am constantly trying to achieve in every decision. Living with less stuff and more love. Doing what I love. Gently choosing not to do things that I don’t.
Now you don’t have to turn 30 to make one of these lists, and I wholeheartedly recommend that you do.
Making this list was enlightening and fun. I can clearly see themes emerging – pleasure, learning, communication and connection (to the environment, other humans and myself). This exercise has shown me where my priorities are and will act as the lighthouses that keep me from getting off track.
I’d love to hear about what comes up for you. What is something you are dreaming of seeing or doing? What are you going to do to take action towards it?