With my on-going project of 100 Things I Want to Do Before 30, I have compiled a list of the things I'm really proud to say I've already done!
1. Travel outside of the country. In 2008, I went out of the country for the first time. It was crazy to think I'd made it to 25 and not left the country. But then I waited another four years to leave again. I have been to both Mexico and Costa Rica and look forward to many, many more trips out of the country. In fact, I believe we'll be taking one for my 30th birthday.
2. Recognize that the grass always seems greener on the other side, but rarely is. This was a hard lesson to learn, and I still have to remind myself to live my life with this in mind. It's easy to think that you want what someone else has or even what everybody else has, but chances are good, they have complaints and wishes for greener grass as well.
3. Learn how to grocery shop. Not only can I do this, but I can do this like a mother f*cker.
4. Find a career you love. I somehow lucked into the career I have. I never imagined myself being in higher education or outreach, but after my very first professional job in college admissions, I was in love. And the passion has been blazing since.
5. Beware of credit cards. I have heard many a horror story about credit card debt and the pitfalls of it. My family never really used credit cards, so in my mind, it was never really an option. While I may wear my debit card out, I will never scan a credit card.
6. Be in a relationship with a purpose. This may sound silly, but so many of my past romantic relationships were purposeless. They may have felt purposeful, but looking back, my emotional wheels were spinning but not getting me anywhere. I finally feel happy and secure in a relationship that fits me.
7. Start a blog. Done and done.
8. Live on your own. When I was 21 years old, I moved into my first grown-up apartment. I did move back in with my mom for two months in 2008 to get back on my feet after a bad break-up. But I quickly got back up on those feet and lived on my own--all alone--until January 2012 when I moved in with Joel. But that totals 7 years of living on my own, most of those all alone. I have no doubts that I can make it on my own, stand on my own two feet, and be the independent goddess I can be.
9. Dine alone. I know lots of people who have never done this, but I, in the past, made an art of it. I worked in a career where I traveled alone most of the time for several years. In this time, I loved getting dressed up, going to dinner, sitting at the bar and having a drink...all alone. It gives me time to think, a chance to people watch, and honestly, makes me feel ultra glamorous.
10. Pay all my own bills. This goes with the living alone, but I started paying all of my own bills when I was 19 years old. There have been times I've been in some tough spots, and there have been times I've had to ask for help from some wonderful people in my life, and there have been times when I've just had to figure it out. But I have done it and still do and am extremely proud of that.
11. Ask out a crush. I remember when I was single and was interested in someone who wasn't asking me out, most of my friends would tell me to lay low, send subliminal messages, but never ask him out. But then one guy came along that I simply couldn't be coy with. And so I bit the bullet and asked him out. And over a year later, he realizes that was the best thing that could ever happen to him (or at least he freaking better).
12. Quit a job that wasn't right for me. I took a job in my early 20's and although I thought I wanted the job, and I thought it would make me happy, it didn't. It made me miserable. So I made a hard choice and didn't look back. And although it was scary at the time, it worked out for the best.
13. Do something everyone thought I shouldn't. Maybe not everyone, but lots of people thought I shouldn't move home in 2008. I had lived in Lexington for 7 years and had a pretty good life there. But I was yearning for a life in Owensboro. I wasn't close to my family (proximity-wise), and I was missing my nephew and three little brothers grow up. I took a lot of crap for making that decision, but I'm so happy I made it.
14. Move away from home. Again, I lived in Lexington for 7 years, and I'm so happy I was able to experience life outside of Owensboro. It was different and great and gave me memories to last a lifetime.
15. Move back home. Because it was absolutely right for me.
16. Fall in love. I have fallen in love, out of love, and stayed happily in love. It is the best feeling in the whole world and sometimes it can evoke the worst feelings in the whole world, but I am thankful for my experiences in love, and I can't wait to keep building on this certain love story that has my heart.
17. Opened my heart to someone. In my earlier 20's, I thought I wanted a bad boy. I mistook lust for love. I hurt people. I got hurt. I sabotaged perfectly good relationships. I waited around for people who weren't worth it. I let love get away. But through it, I learned that opening your heart doesn't always end in walking away with pieces missing. It can mean something new and wonderful and life-changing. And that's something I can get on board with.
18. Accept the things in my past so I can move forward. Big things have happened in my life that have broken me. Things that I thought I'd never get over or learn to deal with. As I have gotten older, however, I've learned to accept that those things are part of the journey that's leading me in the direction of happiness and wholeness.
19. Forgive someone. With the stories in my life that are full of pain and brokenness, there have been people along the way who hurt me or disappointed me or broke my heart. I have forgiven all of those people. Some of them are still in my life, some of them are no longer, but they are all forgiven in my book.
20. Forgive myself. I've made some pretty terrible decisions in my life. I've done things I'm not proud of. I've allowed myself to be in and stay in bad and even dangerous situations. For a long time, I didn't believe that I could keep myself safe or allow myself to be in healthy relationships. I was angry at myself for that. But in growing up and working through past mistakes, I have learned that I, too, am human and if I can forgive other people, I can forgive myself as well.
Keep checking back for my list 100 Things I Want to Do Before 30 and see how I'm making progress on the list!!