Tomorrow marks the first day of December and the beginning of the ten day countdown to my birthday. I’m normally not that fixated on my own birthday — after all, it is just another day — but this one feels different. December 10th represents the conclusion of my 29th year of life and the commencement of my 30th.
I know, I still have a whole year before I hit thirty, but this year feels significant…like I need to accomplish some goals, change some things, and become a better person than I was for the last 365 days. Year 29 was really an interesting mix. I finished a two year process of paying off a pretty huge amount of of debt, and it feels amazing. However, I also realized just how much money (and therefore time and freedom) I wasted during that time. I completed my downsizing campaign that I started after my divorce in an attempt to live more simply, but it made me almost sick thinking about how much money I squandered away on meaningless possessions. I started gunning for, and eventually succeeded in obtaining, a significant job promotion and hefty raise with my company. BUT I had to leave a lot of family and friends that I love dearly and move 2000 miles across the country. I fell head over heels for a girl and we had some grand adventures, but I made the same relationship error that I’ve made several times now, and that relationship is no more.
So now you see the reason for the title. There wasn’t a lot of middle ground this year; things were either amazing or kinda shitty. I’ve been asking myself the same question for the last couple weeks: How do I make my 30th year of life better, happier, more productive, and more beneficial to people in my life? I don’t know if there’s a simple answer or a list of steps to complete that would accomplish those four things, but I’ve compiled a list of personal decisions and determinations for my next year of life that I think are going to help. None of them are earth-shatteringly genius or revolutionary, but I feel confident and right when I read the list.
- Spend time every day exercising and meditating. I do this most days, but with my schedule, I don’t really have an excuse for skipping a day.
- Take the entire first thirty days of my year to focus on personal growth more intensely. That includes journaling about the last year, listening to podcasts, and reading.
- Take “living simply” to a whole new level. I thought I was living minimally because I’m socking away 75% of my income into savings, but I actually still have quite a bit of padding in the “fun area” of my budget. I can do better, and it’ll be 100% worth it when I’m hanging out with Dave in my Port Townsend cottage!
- Look before I leap. I’m a pretty impulsive person in almost everything I do…relationships, financial matters, etc. Sometimes it works out great, but other times I get burned. I am going to get better at slowing down, thinking things through, and doing my due diligence.
- Reach $50k in savings by December 10, 2017. I am already well on my way there, but hitting this goal is going to require living very minimally and probably picking up some sort of side hustle. This amount of money should be enough to buy my property AND build most of foundation/shell of my little house.
- Find a way to give back to people I know and people I don’t. I have no clue what this looks like, although I’m hoping I can think of some ideas during month one. I kind of hate that the one goal about helping others is so nebulous, but I’m going to work on that.
So there you have it: my plans for year thirty. No trips planned, although I have enough airline miles for a free trip up to WA to climb with my brother. No grand adventures laid out, although I’m sure some will come along here and there. This year is about preparation, as boring as that might sound. Part of me is terrified to take time from my (relative) youth and focus on responsible things, but I can’t rid myself of my conviction that living debt-free, mortgage-free, and baggage-free near my brother and close to the mountains and sea will be worth this short time of focus.
Now that the serious stuff is concluded, let’s talk briefly about Sir Dave, Adventure Cat. He’s nearly doubled in size since I got him, and he’s only gotten more cuddly, hilarious, devious, and crazy. He now has his own Instagram (I don’t have one, just him), and below are a few pictures of what you’re missing out on if you neglect to follow him @da_daily_dave.
I’m just saying…who wouldn’t want to see a new picture (or two or three) of that guy every day?