30 Before 30

This past April, I turned 27. I don't know why, but 27 just felt so much older than 26. So much closer to 30. I don't think 30 is "old," but I still mentally feel like a 16 year old girl so it just doesn't seem real that I'm a full-fledged grown-up. I have a husband, a baby, a house, and yet I just feel like I'm playing a game of "house." I can't be old enough to have all those things!

Despite the fact that I feel like I can't possibly be nearing 30, the fact remains, I'm literally 30 months from turning 30 today. Goals and bucket lists have never really been a strong point, but I'm doing it anyway. I'm giving myself 30 things to accomplish in the next 30 months:

1. Take an international trip | I don't care where- Germany, Ireland, Thailand, or maybe even Jamaica 2.0. My only requirements are that it's not in the U.S. and that I have my handsome hubby by my side.

2. Read fifty books in a year | My all-time record was 47 books in 2014. Can I beat it?! 

3. Submit a grant proposal | One of my professional goals has been to gain some experience in grant writing. I've done a very small amount of studying in my spare time, but have a long way to go before I feel like I'm ready to tackle the challenge of actually submitting a proposal. If I can complete one in this time, I will feel so incredibly accomplished.

4. Get my third (and fourth?) tattoo | I have a tattoo that I've been wanting to get for years now, but I just can't justify spending the money when we've had so much else going on in our life! 

5. Take a kayak trip | I have literally never stepped foot in a kayak. This needs to change, stat.

6. Pay off a student loan | My student loan debt is out of control, so I'm trying to be realistic with this goal. If I can pay off just one loan before I hit 30, I will probably cry tears of joy.

7. Live with my sister | This probably sounds super weird, but my baby sister is my favorite person in the whole wide world (husbands don't count). She graduates from grad school in the spring and I feel like it's our last possible opportunity in our lives to live together one last time. We've got two extra bedrooms in our new house and Chuck is on-board, so I'm praying Kelly will finally make my dream come true and come stay with us, even if it's just for a few weeks.

8. Visit a new state |  Top of my list? Colorado and Montana. Rocky Mountains, I'm coming for you.

9. Grow my blog | I don't want to record a definitive number, because I don't ever want my blog to cease being a source of joy in my life, and start feeling like a job. But if I'm being honest, I would love to have more people come follow along on my journey.

10. Volunteer more | Again, I'm not placing a specific number of times, etc. But I've really been feeling convicted about this lately. For someone who wants to leave the world a better place, the only good I feel like I do is the work I get paid to do. In my profession, I interact with so many amazing people who give hours, days, weeks of their lives to serving their communities. It's so inspiring and I want to start paying it forward.

11. Attend regular yoga classes | If my former cheerleader self knew how inflexible I've become, she would be so, so ashamed. 

12. Finish designing and decorating one room in our house | My hope is that every room in our house will be decorated to my liking in two and a half years, but I'm setting the bar low. I'm planning lots of posts about my design inspiration in the near future- owning a house is so exciting (minus the crickets, leaky plumbing, and windowless bedroom, but that's a story for another day!)

13. Learn a new skill | The possibilities on this are endless. I want to learn to can and preserve, how to sew, how to play a musical instrument, how to build things. If I can summon the motivation, patience and energy to learn one new skill by the time I'm 30, I will be so proud of myself. 

14. Baby Pep 2.0 | Surprise, surprise. I've already talked about my baby fever, so does it come as any surprise that I'm totally hoping to add another little one to our brood?

15. Do something BIG for our 5th anniversary | Whether it's taking a trip, renewing our vows, or throwing a party, I want to celebrate five years of marriage in style!

16. Open up a college savings account for Charlie | Honestly, I should have done this 9 months ago. 

17. Have a girls' weekend | I want to have a weekend with my girl(s). No babies. No husband. Just me and my bestie(s)...and probably some booze.

18. Invest in a DSLR | I don't want my child's entire childhood to be captured on a grainy cell phone camera. I want to buy an actual decent camera, and figure out how the heck to use it.

19. Run a half marathon | This is potentially my most lofty goal. It is sooo much harder than I was anticipating to get back into running with a little one. But I finished a Quarter Marathon, and I know that if I really disciplined myself and trained hard, I could totally do it.

20. Finish Charlie's baby book | Okay, so maybe not technically finish it, since he'll only be three when I turn 30 and will still have some milestones yet to go, but I've been slacking on keeping up with it, so I want to make sure I have his first year done, if nothing else, before I start forgetting all these beautiful memories!

21. Do a Wine & Canvas night | They look like so much fun! I want to drink and paint!!!

22. Attend a game | Ideally, a Reds or Bengals game, but I'm not choosy.

23. Visit Frankie's grave | Two years ago, a wonderful friend of mine was killed in Afghanistan and is now buried in Arlington National Cemetary. I wasn't able to be there for his service, and I've been wanting to finally say a proper goodbye and pay my respects to the man who was my pretend big brother. 

24. Plant a backyard garden | For those who may not know, for the last five years, my life has kind of revolved around gardening. It has been a large part of two of my jobs, and I've container gardened nearly everywhere we've lived. But I have never had my own garden. I am so pumped to finally change this.

25. Dye my hair a fun color | I am so envious of all the girls with their pastel, ombre, colorful dye-jobs. I'd like to mix it up and try something new, just for kicks!

26. Go to King's Island |  For the non-Ohioans, KI is a local amusement park that I have never been to. This may not sound like a big deal, but as a self-described roller coaster nut, it totally is.

27. Wear my wedding dress again | I specifically bought my wedding dress so that I could wear it again one day. But there was one problem with this plan: I don't want to wear my wedding dress just anywhere! If I have an excuse to wear it again, I would really, really love to. (December 19, 2015)

28. Get promoted | I don't even know if this is possible in my current position, but I never want to feel like my career is stagnant. I always want to feel like I'm growing, being challenged, and advancing. 

29. Attend a book signing | I will never forgive myself for wussing out on attending Glennon Doyle Melton's book signing for Carry On, Warrior when she was FIVE MINUTES AWAY from my Pittsburgh apartment. Here's hoping I can redeem myself.

30. Give my husband 3,000 kisses | He deserves every one.

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What are some of your pre-30 goals?

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