24 Things to do Before 25

Last Friday, December 16th, I turned 24. I was lucky enough to spend my entire birthday weekend with my Wisconsin-based family members. I got to catch up with cousin-in-laws I haven't seen in at least ten years, dance in the kitchen with my niece nephew, pet dogs (there were five at the house at one point, it was bananas!), meet my cousin's fiance, reminisce about my brother. It was great.

While waiting in the airport to get to and from Wisconsin (I was one of thousands whose flights were cancelled during the weekend), I spent some time whipping up a list of 24 things I want to do before I turn 25. I figured I'd share it with you and keep track of my progress here on the blog:


Here's Lookin' at You, 24

  1. Get a new job. I love my current job but it's temporary, so I need to start job searching asap.
  2. Travel. I hope to tack on a lot more air travel in 2017: a trip out of the country, a flight to Baltimore during the New Year, and hopefully an escape to Peru with my cousin near her spring break. 
  3. Make student loan payments. My first payment is due on Christmas. Wish me luck.
  4. Submit to another art show (to add to the CV).
  5. Expand painting portfolio. I desperately need to take high quality photographs of my old and new paintings. I have never had adequate equipment for lighting my work yet now I have access to said equipment no longer have an excuse.
  6. Make working out a habit. I am a lazy sack of poo and I just need to start taking care of myself.
  7. Stop smoking. I have "quit" smoking as many times as I am years old. Currently I am in my "I quit smoking, but if you're smoking I'll have one...and if I'm stressed I'll have one...and if I'm drinking I'll definitely have one," phase, which is a dangerous way to go. At some point, it always leads to consistent smoking habits again. I'd prefer to cut tobacco out of my life entirely. Have you quit smoking? Do you have any tips to share with me for these "in-between" stages?
  8. Yoga yoga yoga. I used to do yoga once or twice a week when I was in high school. I felt great back then. What I loved most was that it forced me to practice mindfulness. I have never felt more in tune with my thoughts and body before, or since, yoga. I want to begin a twice a week yoga practice and slowly work it up to 3-4 times a week. Any of y'all do yoga? Do you have any tips for me to get in to it? Right now I watch Yoga with Adrian (she's a superstar in our household, we talk about her so often it's like she lives with us) but i wonder if taking a class will help me keep up the habit. Any suggestions? 
  9. Be conscious of my diet. More proteins, more fats, probably some vitamins.
  10. Finally get a credit card. Credit cards have always seemed so daunting to me. Though the idea of earning credit (and fly miles!) is appealing, I hesitate to put myself in even more debt. I am starting to come around to the idea, though; it means I can do more of what I want and love (like travel) and pay if off in increments. Plus, credit cards have always seemed like such an adult thing. Maybe it's time I made the "adult" transition?
  11. Make another 4 brines (quarterly zine). I really enjoyed making Brine. It was a way to assuage the toughest months in my life, document them, bind them, and ship the booklets off to random people. I realize the concept of sharing such personal things with strangers--or even friends--makes others uncomfortable. But I am so used to exposing exposing my thoughts/fears/emotions via creative expression it's become part of my nature. Ask me to talk in person about my problems--now that's another story. I want to turn Brine in to a quarterly zine. It has proved to be a cathartic documentation of my life--whether good or bad--and a unique way to share my art with others.
  12. Expand graphic design portfolio. Because all good graphic designers should strive to improve.
  13. Volunteer. I am surprised by how many national non-profits and organizations I have reached out to and how few I have heard back from! I understand people are busy, especially now, but I assumed everyone would pounce on free help. (Perhaps I need to be more persistent?) Nonetheless, I want to switch my focus from contributing to national organizations to local chapters and non-profits. I imagine it will be much easier for me to walk down to the local shelter and ask to help rather than email back and forth with someone 100+ miles away. I am aiming to volunteer at lease once every 3 months. I realize that does not seem like a lot, but it is a start. 
  14. Go to the beach. I haven't been to the beach since my junior year of high school. I am dying to slip my toes in to the sand, feel the sun on my skin, run towards and away from the waves, and float in the salt water. I want to spend all day on the beach and return to my room when the sun sets, sand still stuck to my thighs, skin warm from being outside all day, exhausted and reeking of sunscreen, but ultimately content.
  15. Go camping. Here's another thing I haven't done since high school! I grew up in the mountains of Colorado so I have no good excuse for missing out on great camping adventures. Even now, outside of the mountains but still in Colorado, I live near a plethora of great outdoor areas and lush camp grounds. I gotta get my butt out of my house and nestle in between some pine trees and boulders for a few days.
  16. Finally see the alligator farm and Mesa Verde. I have wanted to go to the alligator farm in Colorado for years now. It is about 7 hours away from where I currently live which isn't quick, but manageable. So many excuses have prevented me from visiting so I am done. I just need to go. Same with Mesa Verde, what an amazing bit of history right in my home state! And I've never seen it! It feels as though I have broken a cardinal rule of being a Colorado native by avoiding these places for so long. 
  17. Upgrade my phone. I had a 5 g iPhone C for over 2 years. It was the worst. I will never buy iPhones that are two gens down again--even if the whole point is to save on cash. I have decided I need to invest rather than save when it comes to my mobile device. For my birthday I treated myself to an iPhone 7 with enough space to take photos AND hold all my podcasts AND still have space leftover for other apps. I never knew what I was missing until now.
  18. Go to a film festival. I love movies, particularly independent films. I am so picky about my genres of movies, but I'm less picky when I discover the film is independently produced (I know I know, that's some middle/upper class nonsense). Before I turn 25 I vow to attend at least one independent film festival. Denver has a great one coming up in 2017 that I feel must be worth the money. 
  19. See a live comedy and/or podcast show. I have never been to a comedy den! Each time I have planned to I have been sick or simply forgot. I'd love to see a performance finally.
  20. Go to a show. I never spend money on live music. One of the perks of having a drummer boyfriend (now ex) were the free shows. Now that he's out of the picture, I would still like to see a few musicians live. Time to pinch my pennies and save for a Chance the Rapper or LaMontagne show, I think.
  21. Go to a live show with my grandma. For my birthday, my grandmother and I tried to go to see The Moth in Denver, however tickets sold out quick. I am dying to take my grandma out. A couple of injuries have kept her house bound for the last few months and I want to take her out on the town. I love my grandma, but I realize I don not know her all that well. I hope to soak up as much time with her as I can.
  22. Budget budget budget. Almost everything on this list costs money, so I need to start planning my expenses to fund my later excursions.
  23. Commit to new friends. I am an expert at bailing. I make plans all the time, knowing full well I have no intention on following through with them. Most of my friends know this about me and do not take offense, or tease me until I finally meet up with them. But with new friends this poses more of a problem. Even if I really, really want to be close to someone I will not put forth the effort to do so. My flakiness impedes on any developing relationships and I aim to be more conscious of others and my relationships to them to hopefully mend that gap.
  24. Improve social media. Alongside my Art degree I earned a BA in Journalism & Media Communication. With Journalism, I was trained in all sorts of correspondence including social media. It is about time I applied my social media knowledge to my actual social media accounts. My goal is to increase my followers and engagement on ig, twitter, and the blog. And of course I will share with ya'll what worked/what didn't along the way πŸ˜‰

In the next year of my life I just want to spoil myself. I have avoided so many things in my life for fear of debt, loneliness, and putting myself out there. Now that I have finished college and find my life to be more stable, I am ready to do what I want. And isn't that what your twenties are for? Most of my 20s were blah, 23 was absolutely horrible, so I am going to make sure 24 counts. Here's lookin' at you 24!

Do you make goals for yourself with each passing birthday? Have you done any of the things on this list? Any additional ideas to share? Let me know in the comments below.

- G R A C E

*I changed this from horror movie festival because I realized I do not particularly care what kind of movies I see, I just want to go to a film festival :)