As the clock struck midnight on December 31st and 2022 waltzed its way into my life, it hit me. I have less than 5 months until my 20s are officially over.
Three decades flew by right before my eyes, and I’m sure every 29-year-old faces the same question: Where does the time go?! Of course, I’m aware my youth won’t immediately leave me the moment I turn 30, but it’s getting to a point of slowly slipping through my fingers. And to be honest, I don’t mind. Personally, I feel as if I’m getting better with time–mentally, physically, spiritually. I’m learning the ropes of this crazy little life of mine, and it only took twenty-nine years to get to that point.
I’m proud of where I’ve gotten myself over these past three decades. I’ve seen a lot. Felt a lot. It wasn’t always easy (I’ll bore you with that sob story in my autobiography), but with lots of perseverance, hope, and support from my loved ones, I’m doing pretty okay. More than okay, honestly, despite the fact I’ve entered this new year with all of my belongings in storage after being displaced two times in the span of three months. Aside from living with my in-laws on-and-off over this last summer, I haven’t had anywhere that actually feels like home. I do love staying with the family, of course, but I have boxes I haven’t unpacked since I packed up my last apartment in June of 2020. I don’t even remember what I put into many of those boxes anymore. They’re time capsules, at this point, capsules taken from a stable life I once knew when I worked a full-time job, an organized home, and a consistent community.
Backpacking around the world over the past year and a half has given me the tools to survive in chaotic instability, constantly moving from one city to the next, waking up in a new bed every three or four days. Instability isn’t terrible, is what I finally gathered, and I can thrive in a life without structure. But I miss structure. I miss routine. I miss knowing where everything is. I miss home-cooked meals and cleaning my room and having access to my arts and crafts. Where was I going with this train of thought? I never know these days. The only time I can organize my mind to write is when I’m doing so for my clients, which is why I’ve so severely neglected my blog the past six months. While I did accomplish my goals of becoming a successful freelance writer, I’ve dedicated so much of my time and energy to writing for others that I’ve forgotten to make time for myself, which brings me back to this bucket list!
One of the first things I’ve wanted to dedicate myself to achieving before I turn 30 is to actually dedicate some time to myself within my routine to work on my personal creative endeavors. So let’s start the list with that, yes?
- Dedicate More Time to Creative Writing So much of my creative energy goes towards my clients (who I am eternally grateful for, forever and always), but now I that I have an established client based, I want to rearrange my schedule in a way that allows me to dedicate more of my creative energy towards my own projects. I’m not to going to give myself specific goals for this, because with my chaotic energy, that’s setting myself up for failure. I’ll just do it more.
- Visit Another Country by Myself Surprisingly, I’ve never done the whole “solo traveler” thing. Sure, I’ve gone to different states on my own (one of my favorite adventures was a music festival I attended solo in Oregon), but visiting another country solo seems like an entirely different story. I’ve always had a partner by my side, either a friend, significant other, or a family member. I can’t imagine the adventures I would have on my own, but I know they would be incredible, exciting, and eye-opening. Not sure I will have the chance to do this before May 29th, but I aim to.
- Make a Lemon Meringue Pie This one might seem a little random, but I’ve never done it before! I’ve made so many pies, but somehow, I’ve never made my FAVORITE pie! The meringue always seemed tricky…but I think I can do this. I make a fantastic pecan pie, so I have faith in myself to accomplish this one. Next snowy day activity, maybe?
- Finish 1Q84 I started this book while I was in Thailand and was immediately captivated by the story. Yeah, Murakami’s misogyny shines through heavily in almost every story I’ve read by him, but I’m a sucker for his plots. I raced through the first half of the book while traveling earlier this year, but once I started working full-time as a freelance writer and editor, I stopped reading. Definitely making more time for reading in the last stretch of my twenties.
- Write a Cookbook Another one that seems random, but I’ve always want to consolidate all my favorite recipes into one place! I’ve helped people with projects like this before and really want to come up with my own unique collection of recipes. This one is already in the works, and I have high hopes that I’ll have something (mostly) put together before I turn 30.
- Wake Up to Watch the Sunrise by Myself at my Favorite Spot in the Mountains While I’ve woken many times to watch the sunrise (I hate to do this) and witnessed many sunrises after staying up all night, I don’t think I’ve ever woken up to intentionally watch one by myself using my own motivation. Those who know me know that I HATE waking up early unless I have to, so this one will be a tough one for me. I love to sleep in. But I think this will be worth it to have this sweet little memory for myself. And no, I’m not telling you where my favorite secret spot is, sorry. It’s my getaway place, if that makes sense.
- Indoor Rock Climbing Technically, I’ve done this before, but not since I was a kid. At least over fifteen years ago. I’m terrified of heights. Facing my fears is something I’ve avoided greatly in my adult years, mostly to avoid injury and expensive medical bills (I was traumatized by a broken ankle and calcaneus when I was 22). Anyways, indoor rock climbing seems like a pretty safe way to face my fear of heights, and it’ll be fun….right?
- Write a Short Story Every Month Okay, this might be one of my hardest goals. I LOVE writing fiction, but haven’t had the energy for it for years now. Sure, I write fiction for my clients pretty frequently, but they usually have the ideas and I just bring them to life. Writing fiction brings me so much joy, and I want to create space in my life for creating my own fiction again. Even if it’s just a short story.
- Take a Last-Minute Risk I feel like I already do this pretty frequently (usually not on purpose), but I want to keep it going throughout the minuscule remainder of my twenties. Since I take a lot of risks unconsciously, I want to take a last-minute risk intentionally. Like, know something is super risky, but in the heat of the moment, do it anyway. Not sure what exactly this will look like, but I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough.
- Run a 5k This is another one I’ve done before, but never at my own will. Growing up, both of my parents were runners, so I’ve run plenty of 5k races as a kid. But in my adult years? Not a single one. I’ve always hated running, to be honest, but I’ve had so many days while traveling where I’ve walked over 10 kilometer, so running a 5k will be a piece of cake, right? Maybe I’ll just jog it….but hey, it’s a goal, and it’s doable.
- Get a DNA Test Okay, so technically I knocked this one out last month, but it was already on my bucket list so I am keeping it here. I’ve always known I’m a big melting pot of Asian, Latina, and Iberian, but I want to know the genetic breakdown. And with a DNA test from Ancestry.com, I was able to find out! It was so eye-opening to see where my ancestors come from. Mostly Spain, Indonesia, and Indigenous America (even Colorado, where I currently live, who knew?), and it was really cool to see what percentage I am of each thing. I even found some photos of my ancestors and distant relatives through the Ancestry DNA test!
- Learn Something New (Online Course) I absolutely love online courses and have taken a few over the past few years…but never finished them. Sure, I learned a thing or two, but being the Gemini that I am, I lose interest pretty quickly. Definitely going to finish an online course before I hit 30, even if it’s a small one!
- Sew Patches on my Backpack My lovely red Osprey backpack that I bring on all my travels is lovely as can be, but I want to personalize it. Last time I was in Mexico City, I got tons of cool patches for jackets and what not, and I want to put some on my Osprey!! I’ve wanted to do this for a while now, but have never taken the time to do so. This is definitely something I want to complete before my next birthday. Even if it’s just one patch, I want something to make it more…me.
- Embrace my Inner Clown In 2020, I purchased a clown outfit with no idea how I would incorporate it into my career as a performer. I’ve performed in it once so far, and it felt SO GOOD. Over the past year while traveling, I realized something about myself. I love to make people laugh. When meeting new people abroad, despite language barriers, I’ve caused countless laughs and smiles amongst strangers, and it absolutely warms my soul. Before 30, I want to embrace my inner clown more, give her some love, and share her magical charm with the world.
- Watch a Live Musical Once again, another thing I’ve done in my life, but not since I was a kid. And I love musicals, so why the f*ck haven’t I done this lately?! Money, I guess, has always been a bit of an obstacle, but I think I can afford to skip out on a few things so I can buy a ticket to see a live musical. Even if I have to go alone. Musicals are great. Definitely squeezing this in to the last bit of my twenties.
- Go Camping Okay, okay, okay. I know I’m listing a lot of things I’ve done before, but I actually didn’t get a chance to go camping in 2021, and that breaks my heart. I haven’t been camping since November of 2020 in the Sahara Desert in Egypt. What a bore, right? Kidding, kidding. It was f*cking incredible). Anyways, I want to go camping before I’m 30, once spring rolls around and the flowers start to bloom. I miss waking up to the fresh mountain air and I need to experience that at least one more time before 30 comes.
- Learn to Handstand This is a goal I’ve wanted to accomplish my whole life. When I was a kid, my mom was constantly walking on her hands. I’m not kidding. She loved doing it and would do it all the time. Not sure why, exactly, but she made it looks so fun and easy. I can do a pretty solid headstand, but I’ve never had the strength for a handstand. This year, I’m changing that! Handstand, here I come!
- Have Coffee with a Stranger I can’t remember ever doing this before, but it sounds nice. I’ve given coffee gift cards to strangers several times before (houseless people only, never people who can afford coffee already, I f*cking hate when people do the “pay it forward” thing and buy a coffee for someone in line behind them. Obviously that person can afford a coffee already.). Anyways, next time I gift someone a coffee, I’ll invite them to sit and have coffee with me. I love talking to strangers and this seems like a great way to make a new friend.
- Volunteer I’m going to be honest, in the past year, I haven’t done any volunteer work in my local community. Sure, I’ve done it in the past, but I want to dedicate more of my time towards this in the future. No more riding the excuse of thinking I don’t have enough time to volunteer, because I do have the time. Yes, work drains my energy and a lot of my time, but I think I can sacrifice a day off here and there to actively help others. I definitely do my part with donating and advocating for causes I care about, but I want to actively direct more of my time towards volunteering at least one or two more times before I hit 30. And of course, I plan to volunteer more when I have the space for it throughout the next decade of my life.
- Manitou Incline I’ve wanted to climb the Manitou Incline for so long! Can you believe that I’ve lived in Colorado for almost a decade now and I’ve never done it?! Definitely a bucket list challenge that I can easily cross off. Getting there is the hardest part, honestly. It’s not that far, but far enough for me to constantly make excuses about not wanting to drive two hours for a hike. But this year, I’m doing it! Before I hit 30. I promise.
- Go to an Art Museum Alone Somehow, managed to avoid doing this over the past three decades. I love museums, but I usually go with somebody. Although I love wandering museums with friends, I want to check one out so I can go 100% at my own pace, soak in the energies from pieces I fall in love with, and indulge my soul with the intoxicating elements within an art piece without having to worry about keeping up with the pace of the person I’m with.
- Pottery Class Not once in my life have I ever tried making pottery. It looks so fun! And the soft clay looks like it feels so squishy and nice. I love sensory things, squishy things, things I can play with, etc, so this seems right up my alley. Why have I never done this before?! Let’s change that, shall we? Who knows, maybe I’ll uncover an unknown passion of mine.
- Master my Grandma’s Egg Rolls My FAVORITE food growing up was my grandma’s eggrolls. Nobody makes egg rolls as good as she does. It’s a high I’ve spent my whole life chasing, and in her old age, she doesn’t have the energy to make them anymore. Recently, I finally remembered ask her for the recipe the last time I was in Los Angeles where she lives. Of course, she didn’t even have a real recipe, and just told me the ingredients and to add things by taste, but after making them one time, I think I almost have it down! Mastering this before I turn 30 is a goal I know I can accomplish, and I’m so excited to be able to keep this recipe in the family!
- Make Lemper Lemper is another one of my grandma’s famous recipes that she no longer makes. It’s an Indonesian recipe, featuring spiced meat wrapped in stick rice, and I’ve never made it before! There’s a variety of different recipes available online, which I will mess around with, but definitely going to try to get my grandma’s recipe too. I’ve tried making this before, but couldn’t gather the right ingredients and was too lazy to try. Definitely making space to do this before I hit 30 because why not? If not now, then when?
- Reinvigorate my Yoga Practice The first half of my twenties, yoga was a HUGE part of my life. Like a daily necessity for me. What happened?! Now, I do yoga less than 20 times a year. I guess due to a lack of time and motivation, maybe? I don’t know. Anyways, I want to reinvigorate my yoga practice and bring it back to life. Maybe once a week. Not giving myself a number goal though. I just want to find my passion for yoga again.
- Ride my Bike Any Time I Have the Option To I’ve definitely neglected bike riding the past couple of years. Back in 2015-2016, I rode my bike everywhere when weather permitted, due to my van being a piece of sh*t and never working. Boulder, Colorado is a super bike-friendly town with bike paths going nearly everywhere, so riding my bike to work was a piece of cake. Now, the thought of biking to work at 7am on a cold morning makes me cringe, but if I’ve done it before, I can do it again. Definitely going to ride my bike every chance I get before 30 comes around.
- Make a Journal This is something I’ve wanted to do for ages, and I’ve finally got it in the works! I wrote this bucket list out last week, so I’ve already had a chance to get started. And good news: I did the thing! Well, almost. Currently waiting for Amazon to approve it, but in less than 72 hours, my 100-page journal will be available for purchase! Yay for side hustles!
- Pay Off My Student Loans I’ve tried to fill this list with things I know I can for sure accomplish, and this is the one thing that makes me nervous to list here, but I think I can do it! It’s definitely a huge chunk of money…but I wanted to put at least one massive, intimidating goal on here to see if I can manifest this somehow. Definitely trying to check off the whole list before my twenties are over. We’ll see. Only time will tell.
- Choreograph a Non-Burlesque Performance Not sure what exactly I plan to do with this one, since burlesque is my specialty, but this has been something in the back of my mind for a while now. I definitely want to get creative with this one. Maybe I’ll never perform it in public, but I would feel accomplished knowing I have this type of routine up my sleeve.
- Go on a Solo Hike Crazy that I’ve never done this while living in Colorado, right?! But I grew up in Los Angeles, so I have a healthy fear of strangers (unlike many people in the Boulder, Colorado–everyone talks to strangers there). Going out into the wilderness where nobody can hear my screams for help is one of my worst nightmares. What if a bear eats me? What if I run into a serial killer’s hidden lair? God, my imagination is running away with me, sorry. Anyways, I know people do this all the time, so I will most likely be fine. I’ll be sure to bring my pepper spray…and I won’t venture too far into the wilderness. Just in case.
Thanks for letting me bore you with my 30 before 30 bucket list! I really feel like I have it in me to get all of this done, but even if I fail to complete a few things, I’ll feel accomplished just for putting this whole silly list together in the first place.
What’s on your 30 before 30 bucket list? Let me know in the comments!