For the first time in my life, I feel old. Now, everyone out there who was born before 1985 is probably shaking their head and alternately cursing me for making them feel old, or wondering at how such a child as myself could possibly be turning her head at the blessings of youth. Whatever the reason, I’ve marked 26 as the turning point in life. Maybe it’s the fact that there is no longer any chance I’ll be mistaken for a traditional college student, or perhaps it’s the fact that my age now rounds up to 30, or maybe it’s simply the confluence of so many stabilizing forces I’ve always seen as rites of adulthood – full-time employment, finished with traditional education (taking a class here and there trying to eke out a master’s is not the same in my book as living on campus and enrolling in 15 credits), married, started a family (two dogs that need as much attention as children), anchored to debt in the form of vehicles, student loans, and a mortgage… Whatever the reason, I feel old. Maybe old just means responsible but I feel a shift toward risk-averse decisions… toward cherishing my time more… realizing how swiftly the minutes fly.
To that end, these are my priorities for the coming year. They are, not surprisingly, very similar to priorities and goals I’ve shared on my blog before. I continue to be concerned by growth and improvement in the same areas:
2.) Personal relationships
3.) Travel / New Experiences
4.) Health, Wellness, General Living
Writing is the top pursuit in my personal life. This year my goals are to:
1.) Finish the plot rewrite of Novel 1
2.) Edit Novel 1 (style, grammar, etc.) and do prep work for a successful query
3.) Submit Novel 1 to publishers
- Consider backup plans if no one is interested – self-publish?
4.) Draft Novel 2 in series
5.) Finish 1st draft of Novel 2, think about what comes next
6.) Actively pursue other writing – short stories, articles, whatever I can do. I’d like to branch out more into other genres, at least for the artistic exercise even if it’s not a viable route for me.
By the time I’m 27, I want to have at least a handful of short pieces – and one or two long ones, that I feel are “finished” and am proud to share with others. Whether or not someone wants to pay me to do this is not my measure of success, although it remains my long-term goal.
Engaging my mind and continuing to develop by enjoying new experiences remains important to me as I age. I have several prospective trips on the horizon and a few wishful ones, including:
1.) Florida coast
2.) Camping (for the first time!)
3.) Hiking … Colorado? Arkansas?
4.) Pacific Northwest
5.) Boston/New England
6.) An international destination… the Mediterranean? Scandinavia?
I’d also like to do a better job of exploring Kansas. Now, don’t laugh. There’s always something to see, if we just open our eyes. Even in Kansas. My job will require increasing amounts of travel within the state, and I need to leave feeling like these small towns were more than a long drive. I’d like to research places to incorporate into my visits so these turn into travels instead of just a string of meetings.
Slated for fall 2011 is participation in the Midwest Beerfest! Seeking out these kinds of activities to enjoy with Tyler is important. We need to make room in our budget to attend nearby activities when they are available – whether they are beer-centered or not.
Tyler and I have also discussed finding a new hobby to take up together – or at the very least, a class. I’d like to take sailing lessons. He’s interested in gun safety. We’ll see. Perhaps it’s finally the year we’ll take salsa-dancing lessons together.
I’ve also considered “cooking my way” through something or another. I am leaning toward some type of exotic cuisine so I can learn about new spices and techniques, or something historically-based (for the same reason). Whether it’s a new recipe per month or per week, I think it would be a fun guided tour. I’m already a fairly accomplished cook/baker so I’d really like to challenge myself and learn some entirely new techniques and/or ingredients. Any suggestions for a good cookbook to try?
I don’t have a hard and fast list of things to try or new skills to learn, but I’d like to make a commitment to continuing to try new things.
Health, wellness, and life is the best way I can describe what I consider the business of being me, of living inside this collage of skin, bones, muscles, and hair.
1.) Continue to strive to eat only hormone-free meat, eat fewer processed foods, and really think about what’s going in my body and if it’s rewarding me
2.) Remain active – exercise in some form, casual or energetic, every day
3.) Savor my food – be mindful of the pleasure and the nourishment. I want to push hard to break my habit of mindless snacking. I know that doing this will be positive psychologically, and will likely loosen the extra lbs. of fat that stick around so annoyingly.
4.) Get serious about skin care.
5.) Take the appropriate measures to be happy with how I look – and stay that way. This means mundane things like not letting my eyebrow waxes lapse, spending money on beauty products that I feel help me look my best, vain things like that ; ). But the point is – I am a beautiful woman, and I want to look and feel that way, always.
1.) Do a better job of living in the moment, and trying to appreciate what I can in a world that is largely oppressive, frustrating, and depressing.
2.) Don’t give up on plans to escape from cubicle city.
3.) Stay connected with things that bring me joy – don’t let excuses and to-do lists get in the way. This shall take the form initially of a monthly “Day of Anne”.
What being 26 means to me is that tomorrow is today. While I’ll always be a dreamer, living in a future vision, thinking of strategy and planning the day away, my life is not someday, it is now. I need to work hard, relax even harder, and enjoy the people around me – because there isn’t something more down the road. My life is now.