Although I was certain that, no matter what, I’d launch Beard + Bloom the week of my birthday this year, I wasn’t entirely confident that I would have reached the point of creating and posting content. I’m so excited that I’ve gotten past that point and that, in doing so, I have the opportunity to share this post at a relevant time.
For awhile now, I’ve watched as, year after year, a few of my favorite bloggers create and share a birthday-inspired bucket list. A list of experiences they wish to have, hobbies they want to take up, habits they want to develop, places they’re determined to see, and more, before they celebrate their next birthday. The number of items on the list reflects the age they’ve just turned.
I’m both stoked and terrified to put mine out there, because while much of it will be fun and easy to cross off, the other half is also going to prove to be quite a (good) challenge. But it’s a tradition I’ve wanted to embrace for such a long time, one that feels different and somehow more important than a list of New Years Resolutions, and I think year 27 is a lucky one to kick it off.
Side note: It felt SO weird writing the title of this post because WHENWHATWHYHOW am I 27?! Anyway, here’s my bucket list for this chapter of my life:
- Open an online shop. That shop will be right here on Beard + Bloom, hopefully in the next month or two!
- Handwrite 52 letters. One a week. Sending (and receiving!) letters is one of my all-time favorite things. And it happens less and less year after year. Even if it’s a simple note or card to say, “Thank you!” or “Congratulations!” or “You’re doing a great job!” – they mean so much.
- Visit five cities I’ve never been to. Of course, I’ll gladly travel to more if I’m given the opportunity!
- Transition to more natural health, beauty, and home cleaning products. I’ve tried to be much more conscious of this over the last couple of years, but haven’t made swaps in every area. I hope to experiment with making more of my own cleaning products and would love to hear about some of your favorite (affordable) natural health and beauty picks!
- Ditch diet soda and drink more water and tea instead. At the beginning of the year, I made the switch from regular soda to diet and also started consuming far more water than I ever have before. There were some immediate health benefits, but I’m ready to take that one step further and really limit my diet soda intake.
- Practice random acts of kindness, daily. I’m a pretty nice person on the regular, but I think I have it in me to amp it up and strive to make a bigger impact on people that come into my life.
- Get a head start on the holidays. The holidays over the last several years have flown by and felt so rushed and when I reflect on them, I remember feeling stressed, tired, broke, and frustrated before I can recall any specific happy moments from the season. That’s no good, and with a little more planning, I can change it.
- Read twelve books, start to finish. Working at a bookstore got me into the habit of starting far more books than I finish, and it’s a hard habit to break. I’ve been on a roll in 2015, getting through dozens and dozens, and I want to ensure that at the very least, no matter how busy I get, I’m taking the time to enjoy at least one a month.
- Volunteer once a month. I’ve spent many, many hours over the last couple of years volunteering my time on a regular basis. Weekly mentoring, volunteering as a committee chair, working with NeighborLink, and offering my marketing, photography, and videography skills free of charge. I’ll continue to take part in all of this, but want to connect with and learn more about the many other nonprofits doing great work in and around Fort Wayne (and the world!)
- Adopt another fur baby. Rosie brings so much happiness into our lives and I have had a ton of trouble even considering the thought of getting another dog because I’ve been worried that I couldn’t love another one as much, or they wouldn’t get along, or she’d be hurt or jealous, thinking that we were “replacing” her. But I’ve started to notice just how much she could use a playmate and seeing the many, many animals out there looking for homes week after week is so devastating. If I had it my way, I’d start an animal rescue and take them all in, but for now, we’ll start small.
- Turn our house into a home. We’re in an interesting situation at the moment when it comes to our house. It was on the market for sale, but the owners decided to rent it out while waiting for someone to make an offer. We moved into it as a rental, and fell in love straightaway. So, they pulled it off the market for a year so we could “test it out” and make sure we wanted to buy. (How often does an opportunity like that come around?!) We’re nearing the start of that process now, and until just recently, I’ve kind of been holding my breath and putting off making any major changes until it’s ours. Now, I’m brimming with the energy and excitement to start giving it a fresh makeover and can’t wait to see how much cozier it feels a year from now!
- Run (okay, jog) a 5K. I have never been athletic and I’ve always dreaded working out – until this year. I took a big step back this January and reevaluated my lifestyle habits (more on that later) and this resulted in my getting back to the gym. It’s been so unreal how, week after week, my body is carrying me further and further and it’s inspired me to create weekly and monthly goals to keep the momentum going. My progress is slow and steady, but I’m confident that within the next year I can complete a 5K!
- Get ice cream from an ice cream truck. This is a complete contrast to #12, but what can I say? I’m 27 years old and I’ve never gotten ice cream from the ice cream truck. This summer, one made its way through our neighborhood at least, AT LEAST, three times a day, every day, and I STILL didn’t make a point to do it. It will happen.
- Plant a bigger garden. I planted a last minute garden in the sandbox left in our yard this spring (read more here) and used a few containers, too. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from it, if any success at all. I had no idea what I was doing. I have a bad habit of overwatering, I can’t keep a houseplant alive to save my life, and discovered I planted everything exactly the WRONG way when I read the directions after the fact. Much to my surprise, pretty much everything took off like crazy! It was only this year that I realized the joys of pruning, and going into work with soil still under your nails, and smelling like fresh earth all day, and praying it rains when you’re on vacation for the sake of your tomato plants because man, is it simply the best feeling to harvest what you’ve grown when all is said and done!
- Experiment with my style. I’ve grown so used to waking up and doing my makeup and hair the same way day after day, and buying new clothes and shoes that look identical to clothes and shoes I already have in my closet – yet, I still feel like I don’t have a unique “style,” per say – and I’m itching to switch things up a bit. Nothing crazy, just a little freshening up.
- Take a weekend or two to do absolutely nothing. “What? How can this be a bucket list item if you’re not doing anything?” It’s because I don’t recall the last time that, from Friday night through Sunday night, I didn’t have a single plan scheduled or task to complete. And it’s so draining. Sure, I’ll sometimes come home and crash on Friday after work, but then I’m off to events the rest of the weekend. Occasionally I’ll have a lazy Sunday afternoon, but not before I’ve tackled groceries and laundry. Someday, when kids come into the picture, there will be no such thing as a “do nothing weekend,” where I’m allowed to fall off the radar for awhile and just relax, and I’d like to squeeze in a few of those while I still can.
- Supplement my income. I feel so fortunate that, at 27, I’m living pretty comfortably financially, but the fact that I don’t have a solid emergency fund in place, am contributing the smallest possible amount to my 401K, and don’t really have a savings account to speak of have been top of mind lately. There are plenty of opportunities out there for supplementing my income, and by working them into my schedule, I think I’d feel a whole lot better in the long run.
- Downsize. Jeremy and I have been working really hard at this over the last few months. I’ve gone through countless purges – tossing out bag after bag from my closet, the basement, and the garage – of stuff we don’t need. And every time it feels SO good. At the same time, I’m always shocked at how much we still have left. Ultimately, I want to eliminate all “junk” drawers, all of the bags and boxes full of random, forgotten things, tucked away in hidden closet corners, all of the clothes we’ll never wear and tangles of cords we’ll never use, and find a home for everything that’s left. Or at least make a noticeable dent!
- Host at least five dinner parties. We’re always traveling here and there and everywhere for dinners, parties, and family gatherings, and find ourselves wishing that from time to time, we could play hosts. Our busy lifestyles and not being quite settled into our home have made it somewhat difficult to do, but I’m determined to make it happen a handful of times in the coming months.
- Complete a photo challenge. Back in the summer of 2013, I did a month-long photo challenge and it was truly inspiring (and really tested my creativity!) I’d like to do an even longer one this year, and preferably find one with a specific theme. I’d love to hear suggestions if you’ve got them!
- Watch 12 movies. Yeah… I don’t remember the last movie I actually sat down and watched all the way through, which is sad because there have been so many I’ve wanted to consume. One a month is totally doable. Right?
- Build something. We have this incredible workbench in our basement, with tons of lighting and space to create and build. My mom got Jeremy a starter set of woodworking tools last year for Christmas and he’s made a few things, but I’m ready to start designing and sawing and sanding some simple creations myself!
- Go “raw” vegan for a week. Mostly just to see if I can do it! But also, I’ve been an octo-lavo vegetarian for nearly a decade now, and while I really wouldn’t change a thing about it (my protein and iron levels are always spot-on), I’m curious to see how consuming less dairy and sugar impact my energy levels and complexion.
- Visit family at least once a month. Here’s the crazy thing: much of my family (parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles) live within an hour or two’s drive from me. But I hardly ever see them. I know that family time is precious and it’s been bumming me out for awhile now that I don’t get enough of it, so that’s gotta change.
- Keep learning. I miss school! I realize that you don’t have to be in a classroom or have homework to learn about your interests, but the on-campus environment definitely lends itself, at least to me, to really learning about a subject – to study, discuss, ponder over, and immerse myself in it – more than a quick online search or documentary. I’m itching to take a continued studies course at a college campus in our area soon!
- Write and share a short story or poem. I used to do this day in and day out as a student, but suddenly, when it’s suddenly no longer your “day job” and you’re not surrounded with other like-minded writers on a regular basis, it’s easy to lose the motivation to keep at it and become self-conscious about sharing it.
- Take one giant leap of faith. I don’t know in what area of my life I plan to do this just yet, but I’ve noticed that with each passing year, I’m becoming less spontaneous in my actions and less trusting in that the universe will sort out whatever I get myself into if I just “go for it” because I’m so focused on the risks of each decision. While I think that’s a natural and important part of growing up, it also limits us in moving forward and growing in experience and wisdom and success, does it not? Some of the best moves I’ve ever made have been leaps of faith that have helped to shape me into who I am today. Sure, I was absolutely terrified and second-guessing myself when taking them, but they always proved to be worth it. I decided to switch universities going into my second year of college just weeks before classes began, applied for scholarships I was positive I’d never receive, hopped on a plane to spend a year in a foreign country I wasn’t even sure I’d like, applied for a “dream job” when I was already working at a place I was head over heels for, signed a lease to my first apartment when I wasn’t entirely sure I could make ends meet… and it all. worked. out. Beautifully, even. So, let’s chat soon, leap of faith. Come at me, serendipity. I’m so very ready for you.
Do you create bucket lists or set goals for yourself with each new year of life? I’d love to hear what you’ve challenged yourself to do!