I’m turning 30 in a few months. The freak out started almost a year ago last May, when I turned 29.
I immediately created a 30 Things To Do Before I Turn 30 list because I’m a cliche and have never had an original idea in my life.
I’m being harsh.
I haven’t been on this blog of a while, and I partly blame that fact on my list. I was energized by a panic that I was running out of time and I better jump full-on into the next phase of my life. After all, I’m nowhere near the person I hope to be someday.
I’m also nowhere near finishing the list before May 22. However, I think I’m on track to get a lot of it finished before the end of 2015. Which is enough.
One problem with this new energy was that I promptly burned myself out after four months or so. Which led to three months of hibernation.
I won’t share my whole list here because it’s not all that interesting and it is a lot of boring writing things that will take a lot longer than I prefer. But here are a few I was able to accomplish:
1. I started a new job.
2. I have planned and paid for a trip to Italy (I’ve never used my passport for actual travel before.)
3. I interviewed my grandmother.
4. I started reading more and am keeping track on my Good Reads reading goal counter.
5. I’ll be going rafting next month (so goes the plan.)
6. I’ve worked out a few financial things and have goals for the future.
7. I’m going back to keeping a journal.
8. I have some exciting writing projects for this coming year.
9. I got a tattoo (this wasn’t on my original list…but I’m putting it there now).
But here’s something I’ve figured out: It doesn’t really matter if I knock things off the list or not. It doesn’t matter if I become the voice of my generation or be a writing prodigy (obviously blew past that marker a while ago) or not. What is great about getting older is you stop caring so much about what other people think and spend more time doing what is important to you. This is the strange transition I’m in. I’m getting used to this idea.
Look, I know that age markers are a little traumatic (for example, the most popular post on this blog is one I wrote when I was turning 27.) But the expectations we put on these markers are largely meaningless. No one is on the same timeline or journey. We cannot all be perfect employees, entrepreneurs, mothers, friends, artists, who function on only a twenty-minute nap a day, speak five languages, have written fifteen novels by age 30, cured cancer, solved world hunger, and managed to volunteer at the Valentine’s Day party in our child’s/niece’s/the-kid-I’m-sponsoring’s third grade class. Let’s all cut ourselves and each other a little slack.
“You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.” -David Foster Wallace
And even this realization is not original. The fact of the matter is, time keeps moving faster – and while this doesn’t necessarily mean we should move faster (though at times I personally will move faster, or try, or at least lose my patience with the slow lane) it does mean there’s less time for things that don’t matter.
“There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”-Kurt Vonnegut
You decide what matters. Where the meaning is. But you’ve got to be kind to each other and yourself. And you’ve got to try.
“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.'” – Kurt Vonnegut
So, we’ll try.
Aside from the things above (which is a lot), here are some of the more “artist”-centric stuff I’ve been doing:
1. Wrote a play and did a casual reading with the Skylight Theatre Company’s PlayLab. It’s a new comedy called The Graveyard Shift.
2. I was on the reading/selection committee for the Blank’s Young Playwrights Festival.
3. Wrote a play with The Vagrancy and had a reading in their Blossoming New Play Festival – a new play called Falling Slanted, Sad & Crazy, which is now a semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference.
4. Worked with Brimmer Street Theatre and their Blue Print Series to write and develop a new play from scratch, with a reading of the first draft in October 2014.
5. Wrote a play with my writers group Eclectic Voices and did a public reading.
6. Was a director/mentor for The Vagrancy’s Young Playwright Contest.
7. I’m working with Rogue Artists Ensemble to develop their Pinocchio Project.
8. Working with a few friends to develop a screenplay about domestic violence.
This post is obviously just a way to get back into the swing of things. So thanks for baring with me.
Are you coming up to any real or make-believe time markers? Any bucket lists out there?
Keep on tryin’.