A New Leaf

I’m always turning over leaves.

The one constant in my life over the last 10 years has been my husband; someone who recognizes my quirks, impatience, and constant need for change better than anyone. He’s stood by me through countless transformations, hobbies, interests, jobs, and emotions. And now he’ll see me through this one. I am a woman in motion.

I’m 26-and-a-half. Ish. It wasn’t long ago I thought that was ancient: one foot in the grave, or at least both feet depleted of youth. I rushed like a bullet to become an adult and skidded to a halt, terrified, as I reached home base. “Woah, there, buddy – I wasn’t ready for ‘late twenties.'”

I’m not a normal 20-something these days. Married, pets for children, homeowner, career woman. I’m regularly called “ma’am” – and not in a Southern way.  As someone who was always the youngest in her friend group, this is disconcerting. I feel like I’m losing a vital part of the youth experience. I straddle the dire desire to squeeze the last moments out of my carefree twenties and the things all my older friends are doing: having babies, nesting, moving to the ‘burbs. My ovaries are knocking but my brain isn’t responding. There’s so much still to DO.

And thus, my bucket list begins: 30 things I need to accomplish before 30. I write this list independent of children. For so long, I’ve looked at having babies as the end of my life: I can’t do it until I’m willing to sacrifice all semblance of myself. I have to stop looking at kids this way or I’ll either never have them or I’ll resent the ones I do have. Life should be richer with children, not over. So I’ll try to navigate my goals practically, but with the understanding that kids may come into the mix at some point, and that’s okay. Just not right now.

 

PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH

30. Climb a mountain.

Like, a real mountain. Think Rainier, not Stone Mountain. I want to train for it and see the world from a crazy high vantage point. I want to flip my perspective and accomplish the impossible.

29. Run a 10k.

I can barely run 5k these days. And this is some of the best shape I’ve ever been in. Time for an evolution.

28. Nail a handstand in yoga.

NAIL IT. Not get into a handstand – stick it, purely with core strength.

27. Get spiritual.

Find some peace with the Almighty. Even if it’s not a Christian peace.

 

EDUCATION

26. Learn a language.

I can’t expect to be fluent. Languages are challenging for me. But I’d like to speak some passable Spanish in a pinch.

25. Master a skill.

Knitting, basket weaving, welding, whatever. I want to be able to do something, capably, with my hands beyond typing on a keyboard.

24. Read some books that actually mean something.

Chick lit is a nice escape. The classics are important.

23. Develop some knowledge about cars.

Change a tire, learn how to change my own oil, and try to have a better understanding of when someone’s trying to rip me off.

 

TRAVEL

22. Visit Thailand.

I’ve always wanted to.

21. Take a trip with my Dad.

A love of traveling to foreign lands is something we’ve always shared. I want to take advantage of that while I can.

20. See a Wonder of the World.

I’ve seen the Colosseum. I’d like to see another Wonder, and maybe one of the Natural Wonders as well.

19. Take a cross-country road trip with Brandon.

I think it will be amazing what we learn about ourselves and each other.

 

LIFE CHANGES

18. Volunteer regularly somewhere for at least 6 months.

Mentor a kid, feed the homeless, live in someone else’s shoes.

17. Turn off the T.V. for a week.

It’s a crazy drug. I need to detox.

16. Finish my book.

I am sick at how long it has taken to finish writing my book. Get the fuck on it, Alexis.

 

MONEY MATTERS

15. Invest in 5 diversified stocks.

Doesn’t count retirement.

14. Build retirement fund.

I want to quadruple it by the time I’m 30, interest growth aside.

13. Own a second home.

A cabin to rent out, a place generating rental income, whatever.

 

EVOLVE MY RELATIONSHIPS

12. Get closer with my sister.

Enough said.

11. Go on a walk at least once a week with Brandon.

Even 10 minutes counts.

10. Try something more sexually adventurous than usual.

Let’s just caveat that I also mean “with Brandon” here.

9. Be a good in-law.

Remember every birthday, even when Brandon doesn’t!

8. Send a real letter to a friend every month for a year.

A postcard or an article from a magazine (Grandpa-style) – whatever it might be, everyone loves a handwritten note.

 

TEST MY LIMITS

7. Zip line.

6. Participate in a big cultural event like a music festival or Oktoberfest.

5. Swim with a shark. Or at least sting rays.

4. Learn to surf. Or at least try.

3. Be personally responsible for winning a big piece of business.

2. Perform in a play or musical.

 

PERSONAL SATISFACTION

1. Learn to be happy just as I am.

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