30:30 — The Reckoning

Once upon a time (last spring), in a land far far away (ahem, less than ten feet away from where I’m sitting right now), I set myself 30 goals that I hoped to achieve by the time I turned thirty. I called it 30 before Thirty (and beyond) because I knew that some things would necessarily extend beyond that milestone. It was a mix of ambitious goals and little things that I should be doing anyway. Since I turned thirty last week, I thought it was only fair to check in and see how I did.

The verdict? Out of 30 items, I completed 14 and made some progress on 7. The other 9? Let’s just say they—like the 7 works in progress—will live on. Wanna see how I did on the individual goals?

1. Start a blog.
Well, lookie here. This is a very Adaptation kind of meta-moment.

2. Train for a half marathon.
I’m running regularly…does that count? I think this goal came from a momentarily ambitious part of me that has since dived back into the depths of my soul, where it chills out most of the time, watching my world go by. As I’ve discussed, I don’t really do so well when I try to train for something. Maybe one day I will find myself in a place where I’ll be able to run a half-marathon, but getting up to that mileage will have to happen on its own. So…someday. Perhaps.

3. Finish organizing my DVDs. 
I’m going to give myself credit here since every DVD I own now lives in a slim case, which was the impetus for this project in the first place. (Vestiges of a short phase during which I decided I was going to move to NYC, and therefore needed to prepare for consolidating my living space…)

4. Learn to like kale
Booyah!

5. Read Doctor Zhivago, Anna Karenina, and Crime and Punishment.
Two down, and I replaced Crime and Punishment with The Brothers Karamozov. I’m about 1/6 through TBK. Will I finish it during my self-proclaimed Year of the Russian Novel? Your guess is as good as mine. The general verdict? Beautiful books, but holy moly, are they depressing!!!

6. Do Apartment Therapy’s 20/20 Home Cure.
Fail. I still aspire to do this. And, since I successfully achieved number 20, there’s even more hope for the future!

7. Get all my old papers and projects from high school off the diskettes that have been hiding in my desk for over a decade and save them to my hard drive. 
Done.

8. Get back to eating (mostly) vegan.
Done. I’m not a perfect vegan, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned thus far, it’s that flexibility is key. I won’t stick with it if I’m fanatical about it. But I’m definitely back to mostly vegan. And I feel better for it. Hooray!

9. Save up to buy an enormous iMac as a 30th birthday present to myself. 
There was less saving up for my birthday, more “my laptop is about to die.” But it’s here. And fantabulous.

10. Finish the rough draft of my book.
Definite work in progress. Getting closer. Much closer. 

11. Go on a road trip through New England.
Nope. I did, however, take a few non-New England road trips, so this isn’t a total fail. Maybe next year…

12. Start walking home from work regularly.
Consistency in this was sacrificed to number 10. Ah, the Writing Life.

13. Reach out to 5 old friends with whom I’ve lost touch.
Partial progress. I think I’m up to three. Maybe four. It’s nice, though, to re-connect. I’ll have to do this more often.

14. Build up my freelance writing portfolio.
This was also sacrificed to number 10. I really want to finish the first draft of my book before I focus on any other writing ventures. 

15. Send each of my grandparents a hand-written letter every two months.
Fail. As someone who makes recommendations for a living, I should know the pitfalls of setting such a specific and ambitious goal.  

16. Take more pictures.
Success! Thank you, Instagram. Feel free to follow me, if you’re so inclined. Naturally, you’ll find me @isabellapen.

17. Clean up my iTunes library.
This is a work in progress. Made somewhat more complicated by success in number 9 and the fact that my old laptop did not, in fact, give up the ghost, and my music library, somehow, is spread out between them.

18. Get my finances in order.
This was inherent in number 20. But it made me feel responsible, which was both satisfying (hooray…I know what I can afford) and horrifying (eeeeeek, this is real grown-up stuff).

19. Figure out my next life step. 
Done, with a future post planned.

20. Buy a house.
Success! So in love. It’s funny…I figured this was one item that would definitely get pushed to the ‘Beyond 30’ timeframe. But when you know, you know, right? 

21. Start a regular practice of brushing my kitty cat’s teeth.
Does it count if she regularly “cleans” her teeth by attempting to bite me? No? Well, let’s just say this is still forthcoming, then. 

22. Go to a conference for work. 
Done. A thrilling half-day on Retirement Security. (Be jealous. Be very jealous.)

23. Go to the Newseum.
Fail. And I have no good excuse whatsoever. I mean, it’s less than a 10 minute walk from my office. I’m going to lobby hard with all future out-of-town visitors for a trip to the Newseum. This is going to happen. I can feel it in my bones.

24. Finish framing and hanging my (long-planned and partially completed) gallery wall. 
Done. All framed and hanged. Honestly, I’m not thrilled with the layout, so this may continue to be a work in progress… 

25. Clean off the floor of my closet and the top of my dresser, and keep them organized.
Moderate success here. The top of my dresser is organized, and it’s got far fewer stray items hanging out there than previously. The floor of my closet? Let’s not go there…

26. Slim down and strengthen up. For good.
Well, since I set this goal, I’ve made progress in the right direction. But as I’ve (re)learned, it’s not necessarily a steady process. Sometimes I’m better about exercising and eating healthy, other times not so much. Sometimes bits of weight have snuck back on. But I’ve got a much better perspective than before, and healthier habits. I’m down 10 pounds, I can run farther, and I feel stronger. Let’s say that I’m on the right path…

27. Talk to someone in the kitchenette at work every day (I’m shy and I work in a place with lots of other introverts, so this is harder than it sounds.)
Yeah, I do this pretty much everyday. Even if half the time there’s no response, so then I feel like an idiot. But I’ve stopped worrying about it. 

28. Visit my peeps in NYC. It’s been far too long.
Success. Two visits this fall. 

29. Do yoga 3 times a week. (Doesn’t matter if it’s 3 minutes or 90. Just do it.)
Um. This has been sporadic. But (a) I figure inconsistently doing it is better than consistently not doing it, and (b) I’ve been better about it more recently. 

30. Go to the doctor for a check-up.
Ahem. Dear friends, please do not yell at me. This will happen! Just hasn’t happened yet.

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