When I turned 23 I was already concerned that I had not done enough in my life. I think everyone feels that way at some point. The pressure to succeed, the pressure to do something great, the pressure to become someone that matters. I felt like I hadn’t done any of that, so I decided to put more pressure on myself to do all of those things before I turned 30. I found a list of things that I MUST accomplish before the ominous 30th birthday took place (see list below). I wrote them down in a journal and made sure that I kept it in a place that I would see every day and dedicated myself to accomplishing all of it. Well that was 6 years ago. I think I maybe dedicated myself to it for a solid 10 days and then proceeded to forget about the list and go on with my life. Then a funny thing happened. As I lived my life normally and just as I would have before I made the list, I began to accomplish each of the points without even realizing it.
Here’s the thing. When we try to put pressure on ourselves to accomplish so many things or fit some societal mold, it only makes life stressful and creates disappointment if we don’t achieve them. Yes, the list is great to make us focus on certain things that we want to do in life, but putting a timeline on it makes it much harder to allow these things to happen naturally. In reality most of the things that you put on a list will come with living life without barriers. You know what you want to accomplish and if you put those things in your mind’s eye and at the forefront of your life, I believe they will manifest naturally, as they did for me. When I began living my life, all of the things in the below list just happened. I didn’t stress myself out trying to make them happen, they just all became a part of growing up, of living life without restrictions and focusing on things that mattered to me.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love a list just as much as the next basic white girl. However, from now on rather than confining myself to accomplishing a list by a certain milestone, I want to accomplish things in life as I live it and savor each moment. To enjoy life and be amazed at how many things have happened naturally. So rather than living my last year in my 20’s trying to focus on a list of just 30 things I want to accomplish, I am going to live each day without barriers and see where life decides to take me. So, I edited the list I found at 23 to make it a List For Life.
By The Time I’m 30: (List For Life)
-Have one old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who shows you how far you’ve come. (I imagined I could go back, I went back and we are happier now than we have ever been. And I think we all have that one guy that we would never go back to but use as an example of how far we have come.)
List For Life: Hold onto the man that you can share your life with. A man who respects you, encourages you and lifts you up. Be the same person for him.
-Have a decent piece of furniture not previously owned by a family member. (Um, hello king bed–best purchase I have ever made.)
List For Life: Make your home a place that is filled with laughter, prayer, imagination and love.
-Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour. (Ladies, LBD–so many uses–splurge item.)
List For Life: Take risks and have fun with your clothes, but remember to always dress for success.
-Have a purse, suitcase, or an umbrella you are not ashamed to be carrying. (check, check and—wait an umbrella? ok maybe I’ll have to work on that one.)
List For Life: Don’t break the bank on the “things” but have a few that show you’re a #bossbitch
-A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age. (One word, college. And hopefully will continue as a List For Life)
List For Life: Don’t be so worried about other people’s perception of you that it keeps you from making mistakes, taking risks and acting goofy!
-The realization that you are actually going to have an old age, and some money set aside to help fund it. (This is constantly a struggle for me. Definitely a List For Life.)
List For Life: Your finances are important. Don’t let them take over your life but save for travel, just in case and retirement.
-A resume that is not even the slightest bit padded. (List For Life, I always want to encourage myself to try new things and keep my resume fresh and interesting)
List For Life: Constantly educate yourself to become a better employee.
-One friend who always makes you laugh and one who let’s you cry. (Hey, besties!)
List For Life: Cherish your friends and family. They are the best things that life gives you.
-Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself just because. (If you know me you know that this is incredibly easy for me to do–hence the money being set aside as a constant struggle.)
List For Life: If you are going to spend money, spend it on making memories. Spend it on traveling around the world and experiencing new cultures. Spend it on helping others and making a difference.
-A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship and all those other facets of life that do get better. (List FOR LIFE!)
It’s a journey y’all. And I’m having an amazing time on the ride. Cheers to 29 and all of the other birthdays that come after, aka, Cheers to Life!!