I’m at it again. Another list.

Some of you may remember that when I turned 29 last year, I came up with such a list: 29 things I wanted to do before I was 30.

This time it’s My 30 List – 30 things to accomplish before I turn 31.

I didn’t finish the 29 list, for a multitude of reasons I’ll go into on another post. So you may be wondering why I’m making another one.

My 30 List isn’t a list of fun and exciting bucket list items, though a few might seem like they are. It’s a list designed to force me outside of my comfort zone. Edge Some items are specific, some are vague. But they all serve a common goal: To force me to grow as a person, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me in the process.

Because in the end, I want to be the best version of myself that I can be.

Turning 30 hasn’t quite been the bout of sunshine and rainbows I’d hoped. I’m still single, still struggling to establish myself as a writer, still searching for a direction, still trying to find my place—the place I belong.

It’s been a rough go of it, for many reasons.

Like…on my 30th birthday, my transmission went out in my car. Completely unexpected. No hint that disaster was lurking inside that complicated piece of machinery. It worked fine the day before, and then abracadabra…it was toast. The universe delivered a swift gut punch that morning, and it hasn’t really stopped with the blows.

Life is like that sometimes. Shitty things happen, and there’s nothing you can do about them. You can’t explain them, you can’t change them. Sometimes those events set you back several steps, voiding all the progress you thought you’d made.

You can surrender or you can fight the downward spiral that threatens to target you. That second one—it’s hard. It’s SO hard sometimes to take that strenuous step forward and accept what is. To accept that you can’t rewind time.

So that’s why I’m making this list. To force myself forward no matter what.

I don’t want to look back in ten years and wonder what would be different about my life—about me as a person—if only I’d fought a little harder to grow. If I’d pushed myself beyond my fears.

I’ll be writing about EVERY list item with raw honesty. I tend keep to myself most of the time, so that detail in itself is terrifying to me. (See list item #30)

But I promise honesty (though names may be changed to protect the innocent). Without it, how can I expect to make any real progress?

Path

I’ve been lost for months, struggling to figure out exactly what it is I want in life. How to find that balance between having roots and wings. What my happily ever after even looks like. I’ve always felt like my story wasn’t going to be quite like everyone else’s, but sometimes fear takes over because I’m not on the same path as everyone else I know. I’m hoping this list—these items designed to push me outside my comfort zone—will help me find that path. And my purpose.

Maybe if I’m lucky, it’ll inspire one or two of you to do the same.

I did turn 30 in March. I realize it’s August.

I’ll even admit a handful of these list items are current works in progress, and I’ll write about those soon. I just thought it was foolish to wait until another birthday rolled around before I did this.

Life is short. Don’t wait for next year. Don’t wait for Monday. Don’t wait for tomorrow. If you want something badly enough—and I want to be the best version of myself that I can be more than anything—then act on it.

To hold myself accountable, here is my list, to be completed, in no particular order, to the best of my abilities by midnight March 12th, 2017:

  1. Be the best version of myself that I can
  2. Stop apologizing for being myself
  3. Teach Husker to paddle board
  4. Join a volunteer organization
  5. No more excuses – travel more
  6. Learn to let go and just enjoy the moment
  7. Help plant a garden
  8. Learn to change my own oil
  9. Finish what I start
  10. Take a road trip with no particular destination in mind
  11. Spend more time with Dad
  12. Write something inspirational
  13. Fall in Love
  14. Travel to 1 new state where I don’t know anyone
  15. Help a complete stranger
  16. Stop biting my nails
  17. Run another 5k
  18. Make peace with my past
  19. Go somewhere new by myself
  20. Try new-to-me food items
  21. Camp overnight somewhere I’ve never been
  22. Make the most of my time in Nebraska
  23. Take a CPR certification class
  24. Author speaking events
  25. Volunteer without knowing what for
  26. Fit into those pants
  27. Debt freedom
  28. Force myself to practice patience at a time it nearly kills me
  29. Join the American Legion
  30. Write something that scares me and share it with the world