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.]