As I celebrated my birthday, I created a list of 35 before I’m 35 – 35 things to do before I turn 35.
Two weeks ago, it was my birthday. I had a lovely day, thank you for asking, which involved flowers, American food, Wriggle ‘n’ Rhyme and gin in proportionate measures.
I turned 34. I guess I’m still young enough to not be embarrassed about admitting my age. To be honest, I quite like being mid-30s: I’m settled, happily married, my career is established and I’ve got two small children. I definitely can’t complain.
But next year, 35, feels more significant. In my mind, there is the whisper of, “Halfway to 70.” At 35, you’re in your mid-30s. You’re not in the first flush of youth any more: you’re definitely in the category of ‘grown up.’
The thing is, I think I’m the kind of person who has always been the grown up. Among my school friends, I was generally the sensible one (barring the odd giddy occasion), and I’ve had my own home and been working in my career for 12 years now. I don’t mind: I don’t pine for my youth. I love where we live and I’m mindful that we are incredibly blessed in our work and family.
So, I’ve decided to make a list of 35 things I’d like to achieve by the time I’m 35. Most of them aren’t big things, and actually, many of them, I’ve done before. For example, seeing a classical concert and going to the theatre. But I haven’t done them for a long time. Some of them will be easy to fit in, and some will require a bit more organisation. Some of them are a bit scary for me, and some of them might seem a bit self-indulgent. But mostly they are about setting myself up for a healthy, happy future.
I’ve divided them into categories – this makes them more manageable!
- See a classical concert – This is something I haven’t done for several years. I suppose it’s something I wouldn’t prioritise now we have children and it’s not so convenient now we’ve moved out of Manchester. But it’s something I’d love to do again.
- Read Middlemarch – I’ve read lots of the “Classics” but not this one, and it’s often in the top 10 of books you should read before you die… So I’ll give it a go.
- Go to the theatre to see a play – Again, something we haven’t really done since having children, but something I love doing.
- Watch 5 films – Embarrassingly, there are some absolute classics of films that I’ve never seen, including Schindler’s List (although I have read the book) and The Green Mile. So they are on my list.
- Learn to play something on the piano – I was taught to play the piano when I was young, but gave it up when I was about 15. I wasn’t very good, to be honest, but now I look at the music I used to play and think, wow, I was better than I thought! So I’m going to try to learn something new.
- Run 10k – This will be a huge challenge for me. I’m not thinking about it too much. I’ve only every run 5k, and I find running really hard – but I know it is good for me.
- Have a Spa Day – This will not be a challenge!
- Create a capsule wardrobe for work – This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I’ve done it once before, and I’d like to share it on the blog too (this is a bit scary for me, so be patient).
- Deal with my sugar addiction – I gave up sugar temporarily when I was pregnant with Samuel. However, tiredness, boredom and laziness, if I’m honest, have meant that I’m easily capable of eating a whole packet of Jammy Dodgers to myself. I know if I can get my sugar consumption down to a sensible level, I’ll reach a good, healthy weight and will have more energy.
- Be able to hold a plank for 3 minutes – Again, this is a challenge for me. My stomach muscles are slowly improving thanks to my gym membership, but planking is still very hard work!
- Learn a Bible verse each month – I know there are lots of people out there who learn a Bible verse every few days, but this is a habit I’ve never picked up. That said, I have Bible verses memorised from my youth which have really stayed with me and encouraged me, so I know that it’s really valuable to memorise verses. I’m going to aim for one a month.
- Attend a conference – I went to the Captivated conference earlier this year and it was excellent – really refreshing and encouraging. I don’t want to attend conferences for the sake of it, but I think there’s something really powerful in setting aside a day to worship, pray and learn about God.
- Refine my prayer life – I’d like to go back to keeping a prayer journal, like I did when I first became a Christian. I don’t quite know if I’ve got the time, but I’d like to find a way to make this work.
- Do a ‘Spiritual MOT’ – Once we’re back into the routine of work, school and nursery, and have settled into these routines, I plan to have a look at how I’m doing spiritually. I think this is healthy, and, while I know things go a bit crazy when you have a baby or small children, my faith is the most important aspect of my life, so I don’t want to neglect it.
- Develop a Faith section on the blog – Like I said above, my faith is so important to me. I’d love to share more about it on the blog, but this is scary for me! So I’m going to challenge myself with this one.
- The beach – We only live 45 minutes away from some gorgeous beaches, and I really haven’t made the most of it. In fact, I can cheat a bit on this one, as we went to Lytham St Annes yesterday!
- Scotland – Tim and I got engaged in Scotland but we haven’t been back since. I don’t think a weekend in Edinburgh or the Borders could be too difficult to manage, so I’m going to challenge us to get into Scotland over the next year.
- A Yurt (and sleep in it) – Er, we actually did this last weekend. It was brilliant!
- Pendle Hill (and climb up it) – We see Pendle Hill almost every day, but I’ve only walked along the top of it once. I think Ben could manage a bit of walking now, and we plan to get a back carrier for Samuel. So it should, theoretically, be achievable.
- A city – Ideally, one we’ve not been to before. We managed a weekend away in Harrogate last year, and that was lovely. We might have to go as a whole family, as I don’t think we left Ben overnight before he was 2, and I would really want to do the same with Samuel, but this would be a good challenge.
- A command centre – We currently have a very stylish magnetic noticeboard, but it’s not going to cope with the influx of letters and notices from school! I’ve got a bit of a design in my head, so watch this space.
- A photo wall of the children – This is a bit embarrassing (again) but we took photos of Ben every month from 1-12 months. We’re doing the same with Samuel. But in 3 years, I haven’t put those photos in frames. I’ve finally found frames that I like, and I’ve ordered the prints of the photos, so I’m getting there!
- Christmas pudding – I’ve done most Christmas baking, and have hosted Christmas a couple of times, but I’ve never made a proper Christmas pudding before.
- A herb garden – We have a neglected corner of our garden (let’s be honest, our garden is mostly neglected) which I intended to make into a potted herb garden. Needless to say, with two small children and our various commitments, that didn’t happen this summer, so I’m putting it on the list so that it happens next Summer.
- A different cake each month – Because cake is good.
- Have a professional make up lesson – I’ve spent quite a few years just wearing the basics, but I know there’s lots of new products out there. I could spend hours watching YouTube videos, but frankly, a professional make up lesson sounds like more fun.
- Get a spray tan – I’ve never had one before, but each year I think, it would be really sensible to get a spray tan in spring and then ‘top up’ with fake tan. Instead, I get a bit sunburned on our first sunny weekend and then end up with weird tan lines!
- Go to a blogging conference – I loved going to BlogOnMSI this year, and I’m gutted I can’t go to the first Blog On MSI Winter in September. However, I’ve got my eye on one of the London based blogging conferences. This would be a big challenge logistically and financially, so I’ll have to work out how to do it.
- Have a monthly date night with my husband – We don’t get much time without the children, and we’re both quite busy in the evenings with various commitments and work, so a regular date night is essential for us. Now that Samuel is a bit better at taking a bottle, we can get a babysitter and go out a bit more!
- Make a YouTube video – Another scary one! But I’d like to develop a YouTube channel for the blog, and that involves getting on camera – eek!
- Have a ‘Screen Free’ week – I don’t really limit how much screen time Ben has at the moment, although I do keep his iPad time limited to less than an hour each day (which still seems like a lot). But I don’t know if we could actually cope very easily without screens. I’m talking about myself here too! This will probably be one for next summer, when Samuel is a bit older and
- Meet up with friends we haven’t seen for ages – We’re not bad at staying in touch with our friends from Manchester, and we try to meet up with them every now and again, but there are some people who we haven’t seen for ages. I wonder if I went back to our old wedding photos, how many of our friends we would see regularly. It’s only 7 years, but people do move on fast. Anyway, I’m going to make an effort to meet up with some friends who I haven’t seen for a long time this year.
- Visit our old church in Manchester – We haven’t been back since we left, over 2 years ago. It’s strange, because lots of our friends are still part of that church, and there’s no bad feeling or awkwardness there (yes, breaking up with a church is a bit like a relationship break up). Anyway, we’re planning to go back for the dedication of our friends’ little boy, and that will be lovely.
- Meet other bloggers in real life – Because most of my interaction with other bloggers is online, it’s always really good to meet bloggers in real life. I’m hoping we’ll get a few North West Bloggers events going at some point.
- Take an evening off once a week – We are really busy. I like being busy. I enjoy juggling lots of things and work best when I’m slightly under pressure. But I also know it’s healthy to rest and do nothing every now and again. So I’m planning to take one evening a week ‘off’ – minimal housework, no exercise, no blogging, no working, no decorating. I’ll just read and relax. Well, maybe.
Is there anything else I should add to the list? Or perhaps something I should take off?! I really hope you’ve enjoyed my 35 before I’m 35 list!