a well-examined birthday

There is a certain realization that comes upon a person examining life on their 26th birthday: I am no longer in my early twenties; I am closer to 30 than 20. While I know, deep-down, that this is good, exciting, and normal, it is a little unsettling. So I have done some thinking about the next four years before I hit that big milestone and come up with a list of 30 things I want to do or accomplish before my 30th birthday. Planning like this can be a dangerous thing. Life is very much out of my own control and for as much as I plan, I can’t guarantee that  circumstances will fall in line with my plans. But it also seems wasteful to live without intention and dreams. So, in whatever ways I can make things happen, which may be not at all, I have thirty goals – some big, some small – for the next four years of my life. It is my intention to complete this stuff before April 12, 2016, but, to quote our favorite online hunting show, Midwest Whitetail, “We’ll see what happens.”

1) Figure out gardening. (Spoiler alert: this is in progress already because it might take all 4 years to turn my black thumb green.)
2) Learn Greek. I own the books and I’ve played around with this on my own, but I get distracted while writing out the alphabet. The shapes are pretty and they make me think about other things. I might need to take a real class if I want to make serious progress. I swear, some days it  is no small miracle that I can get anything done at all.
3) Grilling. I should figure out this miraculous thing that occurs when I hand raw meat to my spouse and he magically turns it into a delicious main dish with appealing crosshatch lines.
4) See the Grand Canyon.
5) Get back into the Guitar. I have played guitar for about 10 years, and I always get to the point where I really get the hang of playing bar chords without having to look at what I’m doing… and then forget about it for months. Also, I should probably learn to read tablature notation. This is very important, because it occurred to me that God may call me to a Bluegrass ministry, and if so, I should be prepared to follow.
6) Make and can salsa from our fresh garden tomatoes. [Done! Summer 2012]
7) Finish the Lord of the Rings books. [Summer 2012. Slogging through some parts of Return of the King is the killer, but totally worth it.]
8) Go Camping. Tents. Campfire. French press coffee. ROASTING S’MORES.
9) Real Vacation. This means no cooking and sleeping in real beds. [Mexico, 2013.]
10) Leave the Country. I have been to 23 countries, but not in the past 6 years. [Mexico, 2013.]
11) Go out with Aaron while he is hunting.
12) Go fishing and catch something I can eat.
13) Read my camera manual so I can take better pictures. 
14) Keep my car. I can’t control if it gets run over or something,  but I want to keep it as long as possible!
15) Become a parent (and save extra money in case this means pursuing an adoption.)
16) Keep my closet photo-ready for a month.
17) Get my PhT (“Put him Through”) so you all can send your Christmas cards and wedding invitations to Dr. and Mrs. Hummel. [December 6, 2013!]
18) Get nice family pictures of us. 
19) Visit a winery and go on a tour.
20) Finish my wedding scrapbook and then stop pretending like I care about this hobby enough to make time for it and get rid of all my stuff. (We have been married almost four years.)
21) Try downhill skiing.
22) Learn 4 new challenging piano songs. At least one a year.
23) Make donuts.
24) Buy a new couch that I love. I need to love how it looks. Probably from a real store, unlike our current furniture. [Update: Possibly off the agenda until 2017 or later.]
25) Have a house with a real guest room. You know… one that has a bed for company instead of a Craigslist couch that is, I promise, actually pretty comfortable.
26) Get the hang of cookies. I have had a few successes and a lot of failures in cookie-baking already, but I’d love to find consistent success. I have a feeling it may be connected to my current disdain for strict recipe-following.
27) Go shooting with Aaron.
28) Do another photo-booth with Aaron because the one from when we are dating is, to be honest, totally adorable.
29) Teach myself to like olives[If they are excellent quality, I’m happy with them plain and no longer pick them off Greek Salads, so I’m calling this a win.]
30) Hold off on getting a smart phone as long as possible. [Bit the dust November, 2013.]

16 thoughts on “a well-examined birthday

  1. Great list, Abby. Regarding #20, I can sympathize! I finished my wedding scrapbook last September between my due date and Mia’s birthday, 4.25 years into marriage. And that’s the last scrapbook of my life. If she came on time it still wouldn’t be done!

    • Good to know I’m not the only one. Scrapbook procrastination must run in the family! And I have no excuse because your mom gave me a bunch of stickers and papers, so I just have to get it all glued down. I would be happy to look at yours sometime… I’m sure it looks great. 🙂

  2. Totally with you on 4, 10, 13, 20, and 30. And how excellent to be conscious of how you spend your days! Obviously life isn’t entirely ours to control, but we sure can decide how to spend our time.

    Is there a particular reason you feel the need to like olives? I love olive oil for sure, but can’t quite make myself like olives themselves.

    • I don’t know – it seems that if I can make myself like olives, I can do anything. I have already acquired a taste for sauteed onions, coffee, pickles, mustard, bleu cheese, goat cheese, wine, beer, mushrooms (took 2 years), and artichokes.

      • That sounds legitimate. I’m with you except for the mustard. Here’s to well-educated palates!

      • Okay, so having just gotten back from Italy, I had to return to this. We only had a few of them as part of an antipasto kind of thing, but the fresh olives we had in Assisi? Way better than any brined nonsense I’ve encountered in my whole life.

        Maybe there’s hope for me too!

        also: what are your favorite things to do with mushrooms and artichokes?

      • Really good Portobello mushrooms should be roasted with butter, lemon, and garlic. Or stuffed with the stinkiest bleu cheese your money can buy. Or grilled with olive oil and served on a burger.

        Artichokes — creamy white wine sauce over chicken. Possibly with mushrooms on the side, too.

        Glad your olives were delicious! I am making headway in the olive department, but seeing that this post is 2 years old, I am not sure that is saying much.

    • I know, it is actually pretty comfortable if you forget that I have no idea how old it is or what might have happened … never mind. We won’t continue these thoughts. I usually sleep there when Aaron is out of town, so it’s not like I’m asking guests to do something I wouldn’t do myself.

      I would love to have you lead an “introduction to Olives” evening for me. It is definitely needed. 🙂

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