Checking In: 30 Before 30

I turned 27 this month. This provoked a mild existential crisis (in which the voices in my head kept whispering, “Almost thirty… Almoooost thiiiiirty… Are those crooooow’s feeeeet by your eyyyyyes?“) that was only offset by the realization that Dairy Man would turn 28 in two weeks. If nothing else, I still have my older man. DM tests out every age for me before I arrive. Isn’t that nice of him?

27 seems like a good time to break the blog’s summer hiatus and check in on my “30 Things to Do Before I’m 30” list. I’ve made process in some areas, refused to skydive in others. There are things in life that terrify me (#12) that DON’T come with a chance of this:

Drunk plane

Go home, plane, you’re drunk.

So, I haven’t skydived…dove. But I am ready to detail the remaining 15 items on the list (check out the first 15 here), and give you a sense of how the 30 are going. It’s all about accountability.

16. Say “I’m sorry” more than 50 percent of the time
I am stubborn, opinionated, and bask in being right. But as my parents taught me, marriage (and life) is not about being right. It’s about compromise, humility, and grace. I want the words “I’m sorry” to become less of a poisonous extraction and more of a gracious offering.

17. Talk to my grandparents each week via phone or email
I think I’ve gotten a little lazy on this one since both of my grandmothers hopped on Facebook. That’s almost human interaction, right? But seriously. Over the course of my life, I’ve been lucky enough to know all four of my grandparents. They were at every play, choir concert, and birthday throughout my childhood. I want to make it a priority to stay in touch with my three remaining g-rents. It’s good for the soul. Plus, there’s usually some delicious lasagna or homemade frosting involved.

18. Drink a $50-100 bottle of wine (and see if I can tell the difference)
DM and I love a good glass of dry, oaky red wine. But our definition of “good” wine is typically around $15. We’re not the Rockafellers, people. I’ve always wanted to try an expensive bottle of wine to see if my tastes are as refined as I think they are.

19. Complete family photo yearbooks for 2010, 2011, and 2012
I’m already 2/3 of the way through with this one. Like many people, I have approximately a bazillion photos just sitting on my computer. So I decided to create annual family photo yearbooks on Shutterfly to preserve the memories. Plus, it’s nice to have something on the coffee table besides dairy magazines.

20. Purchase coffee for a stranger behind me in the Starbucks drive-thru
Once I was driving through Starbucks in need of a grande dirty chai. When I got up to the window, the girl wearing the headset said, “You don’t owe anything. The lady before you took care of it.” I was flabbergasted. I’ve always wanted to pay forward the kindness. Because, really, the best way to show your humanity is through caffeinated beverages.

21. Create something with my Instagram photos
Since getting my iPhone in the summer of 2012, I have documented our life on the farm with hundreds of Instagram photos. It’s well and good to have these photos living on my phone, but I want to do something with them. I’m thinking a poster for the basement.

22. Upgrade to a DSLR camera
I barely even know what this means, but I do know that iPhone photos just don’t cut it in the blogging world. I want to learn how to use a fancy camera and take photos of our dairy and Jersey the dog to the next level.

23. Teach Jersey a new trick
I might be biased, but, um, my dog is the smartest dog in the world. Now that he’s two years old, he has increased capacity to do awesome things. I recently taught him how to high-five, but I think “stick ’em up” might be next.

24. Spend an entire weekend unplugged
Dairy Man and I got into a scuffle over this one. While I think the idea of a of weekend free of laptops, iPads, and cell phones sounds relaxing and cleansing, all he could say is “No way! What if my employees need me!?” The man can’t fathom ever being away from his phone. So my plan is to combine this one with #10 and actually force him to leave the U.S. sometime in the next three years. Because not even a dairy man wants to pay $20 a minute to chat with his employees from a Caribbean beach.

25. Refurbish an old piece of furniture
I bought an old mid-century dresser for $60 from a thrift store in 2011. It has great bones but needs a lot of love. This is the year that I’m finally going to USE one of those 43,563 furniture painting tutorials on Pinterest and stop telling people who enter my dining room, “Don’t mind that ugly credenza; I need to refinish it.”

26. Make a list of birthdays and addresses and send cards
My friends can count on fun-filled birthday texts or FB messages, but there’s nothing like snail mail. I want to start sending physical cards. With handwritten notes. Maybe this will help me check off #1.

27. Pay off our student loans
Dairy Man and I finished college almost five years ago and are so close to paying off our loans that I can taste it. Between now and 30, we will pay off every last cent and say “sayonara!” to loan payments. Dave Ramsey would be so proud.

28. Find an active outdoor activity DM and I can do together
Two things that Dairy Man and I need more of (in my opinion) is quality time and exercise. I want to kill two birds with one stone and find an outdoor activity we both love. Are we hikers? Bikers? Runners? Vine swingers? Tennis players? Parkour-ers? Only time will tell.

29. Have a baby
DM and I have always known that we want a family. By the time I’m 30, I want to have at least one heir to the dairy throne around the house. If nothing else, we could use some more farmhands.

30. Write a letter to myself to be opened on my 30th birthday
I’d better get cracking on this one. If the past 27 years are any indication, a LOT can happen in three years. I want to make sure I don’t forget where I’ve been.

So, how’s the whole list going? Let’s check in.

  1. Send 25 handwritten notes
  2. Drink a large glass of water before every meal We do this faithfully
  3. Read at least one book every two months
  4. Visit our friends in Salt Lake City This hasn’t actually happened yet, but DM and I purchased plane tickets and will be jetting out to SLC in August!
  5. Milk a cow
  6. Take a girls trip to Vegas
  7. Try ten new restaurants in West Michigan
  8. Have at least one official date night a month
  9. Host a dinner party After reading this book, I really had no choice. My dining room table hosted an excellent dinner party for 10 of my girlfriends
  10. Go on an actual vacation with DM Will be accomplished the same time as #4
  11. See a show at Second City in Chicago
  12. Do something that absolutely terrifies me
  13. Go to five plays or musicals
  14. Run the Fifth Third Riverbank 5K  I donned stylish running tights and blazed through this race on May 11, 2013. 29:30 wasn’t a bad time for someone who didn’t train one iota! 
  15. Spend a day with each sibling doing something they choose, paid for by me
  16. Say “I’m sorry” more than 50 percent of the time
  17. Talk to my grandparents each week via phone or email
  18. Drink a $50-100 bottle of wine (and see if I can tell the difference)
  19. Complete family photo yearbooks for 2010, 2011, and 2012  Two books down, one to go
  20. Purchase coffee for a stranger behind me in the Starbucks drive-thru
  21. Create something with my Instagram photos
  22. Upgrade to a DSLR camera
  23. Teach Jersey a new trick I taught him how to high-five, but as mentioned, I have plans for other tricks
  24. Spend an entire weekend unplugged
  25. Refurbish an old piece of furniture
  26. Make a list of birthdays and addresses and send cards
  27. Pay off our student loans
  28. Find an active outdoor activity DM and I can do together
  29. Have a baby
  30. Write a letter to myself to be opened on my 30th birthday

Yikes. There’s a lot to do between 27 and 30! Some will be easy (buying coffee for a stranger) and others will be challenging (like trying to find time for date nights during corn harvest), but I’m looking forward to checking things off the list.

With a handsome fella like this at my side, how could I fail?

DM stache

11 thoughts on “Checking In: 30 Before 30

  1. Consider a mirrorless pen camera. They less expensive than DSLRs but with a lot of the same basic functionality, some of the fun digital filters that point-and-shoots have, and interchangeable lenses. I have an Olympus and I love it. For someone who uses it for work sometimes and for personal use when I feel inspired to pick it up, it’s done a great job. I think if I got a DSLR I’d probably be sad if I weren’t putting it to good use constantly. 🙂

  2. I bet you can do it! Anyone who can pull off a sub-30 5k with no training can figure out how to get in date night in the fall. It does rain sometimes. And if it doesn’t rain, doesn’t a nice picnic in the field by the glow of combine lights sound romantic? And what’s with the not milking a cow? There have to be plenty of opportunities for that one. Are you holding out on purpose? Many a farm wife has given new farm wives the advice that if you don’t want to milk cows, don’t learn how to milk cows.

    1. Good point, Heather. I’ve never loved rain so much as I do now. Happy corn, a farmer home before 8, what could be better? And yes. You caught me. There’s a reason #5 is languishing on the list. Almost every farm wife I’ve ever met has told me not to learn how to milk. I think the key will be to only do it once? Plus, let’s be honest, milking a cow once isn’t going to magically give me the needed upper body strength. This gal’s not built for work. I hope that will be my saving grace. 🙂

  3. Jessica, you don’t have to got to $100 for a good bottle of red wine but you will notice the difference at the $35-$50 mark. I am lucky that I have a wine-buff for a dad and he provides great wine for birthdays! So ask for a bottle for your 28th birthday! Oh, and top tip, clear everything on the list BEFORE the baby cos afterwards, it gets tricker.
    Good luck!
    Cheers, Fiona who is only *cough* years behind on being up to date on the photos…

    1. Thanks for the vino advice, Fiona! I’ll start searching for the perfect wine for next year’s birthday. And I snorted out loud at your comment about photos. It’s so easy to get behind. There’s a reason I only decided to go back to our wedding day (three years). Everything before 2010 will just have to live on FB. 🙂

  4. This has pushed me to actually achieve my ‘list 27’ (it was list 25 but I turned 25 this year and didn’t get through it..) I shall be amending my list whilst my farmer boy is working hard in harvest, and hopefully achieve things in this time! Best way to keep occupied.

    Love Sophie from England

    really enjoying your post -keeps me sane whilst harvest starts in the uk! X

    1. Good luck, Sophie! I find that it’s nice to have lists like these to keep things moving. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have a time-filling activity during harvest season, eh? 🙂 I hope it all goes well!

  5. Love your list – sorry I’m so late reading about it… will be looking for updates!
    I did have a suggestion (since I think this would be not only great for your own home, but for SELLING refurbished furniture – to pay off your student loans faster….and something I’ve done myself, so I’m walking the talk with refinishing furniture. (Student loans, not so much).

    One way that’s fun and easy is decoupage.
    I printed out about 200 illustrations of old vintage fruit crate labels (and other vintage labels) on card stock (about 6 per page). I spray-painted an acrylic patio table with black paint and then used modge-podge to glue on and then seal the labels. It made a special dining table for my parents (who remembered those labels!) And if you like vintage style things, there are soooo many online, as well as different ideas on styles! I find the idea of decoupaged furniture more interesting than just painted, though it would probably take longer & isn’t for everything of course. Good luck with this endeavor, however it ends up!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s