Saturday, 31 August 2013

I am going to be 30

In 21 short months I will turn 30. I feel quite good about it, but nonetheless it is quite momentous to move into a new decade of ones life. I remember turning 10 and the fuss that was made of being 'double figures', but I don't remember much about turning 20. Presumably this is because it fell in the middle of a few year phase of hard nights, crap jobs and unrealistic expectations. Turning 30 excites me. I'm a much more reflective and self-aware person now, I think I'll look back on my twenties proudly, but with an eagerness to get stuck into the serious business of being three decades old.

I am no stranger to goal setting. When I started blogging back in 2008, lots of bloggers took part in a challenge to do 101 Things in 1001 Days (roughly 2 years and 9 months). I spent weeks coming up with ideas, only to abandon the project after a few months because my goals were either too big (read 500 books) or boringly small (sort out the kitchen cupboards), or difficult to keep track of (bake 1001 cupcakes - hard to count when you eat them as quickly as I do). So with this past failure in mind I've made sure my 30 things fit with SMART criteria, a project management framework used when setting objectives. Why yes, I am ON IT, thank you very much.

S - Specific - Each item is clear and simple, there are no vague 'get fit' or 'be happier' goals.
M - Measurable - Pass X, finish Y, do Z. Some goals have a numerical target. I like numbers. Goals like 'drink more water' or 'see my friends more often' are harder to quantify.
A - Achievable - Whilst it would be interesting, you won't see 'become a millionaire' or 'go to space' on this list. Everything I've chosen is something I could realistically do, some I could tick off tomorrow, some will take a bit longer, but everything is possible within 21 months.
R - Relevant - This list is all about me, and the things I want to do before I turn 30, rather than the things I feel like I should do, or society tells me I should do.
T - Time-bound - Well, that'll be the 21 months then. Best hop to it!

So, here is my carefully crafted list. I'd love to hear what you think, especially if you can help with any of my goals, so do leave a comment below!

1. Pass my driving test
In all my adult life I've lived in city centres and had no need to learn to drive. I still live in a city centre but I'm starting to crave things in my life that would be easier with access to a car. I think that 21 months is enough time to learn and pass, but I'm also a bit wimpy about driving and so I know it'll be a challenge.

2. Buy property
My sister and I are hoping to buy a place together. Really early stages but it would be great to own some property by the time I turn 30.

3. Complete a 90k first draft of a book
I'm not really ready to talk about this because I think it's the height of vulgarity to bang on about writing a book when in reality you've just got a few scenes scribbled out. Finishing uni in two weeks will free up a lot of time to work on this goal. I'm not expecting to knock out a bestseller but I want to embrace the experience of writing a novel, even if nobody ever reads it.

4. Finish my patchwork quilt project
I started an ambitious patchwork quilt project over a year ago and haven't touched it in months. I'd love to see it finished and think this will be a perfect winter project.

5. Make some money from my blog
I'd like to focus some time on building a more professional blog, buying a domain, improving the design and content. It's something I've never tried before and it 's a long way off but it would be nice to get to a point where I earn a small income from it that at least covers my costs.

6. Mentor two women
I've had a lot of great support and advice in getting to where I am in my career. I'd like to support two other women to take the next steps in theirs.

7. Paint a portrait of my boyfriend
To be clear, I don't paint and I don't draw. In fact, I don't think I'm very artistic at all but we recently went to see the BP Portrait Award at the National Gallery and I loved it so much that I want to give it a go. How arrogant is that? Girl looks at portrait and thinks "I can do that!" I don't expect it to be good, but I think I'll enjoy trying. And he agreed!

8. Present publicly
I've had a few opportunities to present at events and conferences this year and I'd like to take that more seriously and develop my presenting skills.

9. Raise £1000 for charity
I work for a charity, and I know how important donations are and the difference they can make. I'm not sure what the best way to do this will be but I've got a few ideas for events that should help rack up a nice amount.

10. Run 10km
I did this once a few years ago but would love to do another one.

11. Walk 30km
My guy and I both love to walk and have recently decided to take it more seriously (as in, two weekends back we walked 19km, last weekend we walked 16km). With a bit of planning we'd like to take on a 30k walk and hopefully soon.

12. Cycle 50km
And in the vein of being active, why not throw in a cycle challenge too. This is probably the toughest of the three because I don't actually have a bike at the moment. We'll see how it goes!

13. Shoot portraits of 30 friends
I have an excellent DSLR that I don't make enough effort to use. And also I want to better document the time I spend with my far away friends.

14. Send 30 handwritten letters
I really like to write letters (and also receive them). If you are a person who might like to receive a letter at some point over the next 21 months please email

15. Go on a trip alone
I have a wonderful friend Kate who took a solo trip to Mallorca this year. Ever since I've been thinking that that would be quite a brave and personally challenging thing to do so I'm going to give it a bash.

16. Go wild swimming
On the occasions I've done this I've felt more alive than ever so I'd like to make the effort to make it happen. Even though I am a major wimp when it comes to the sea and cold water.

17. Go tree climbing
This was a favourite childhood activity, why do we then give it up as adults? I need more tree climbing in my life.

18. Visit 5 new cocktail bars
Quite obvious this one! I do like a good cocktail and London has no shortage of places to imbibe them.

19. Visit Highgate Cemetery
I've wanted to go ever since I moved to London but still haven't made it.

20. Visit Highclere Castle
This is where Downton Abbey is filmed. No further explanation needed really.

21. Visit Bletchley Park
I am quite fascinated by code-breaking so I really want to go and visit Bletchley Park and learn about how it helped during WW2.

23. Walk 3 of the London Underground lines
When I moved to London my guy gave me Mark Mason's book, Walk The Lines and we've been meaning to do some of these routes ourselves, walking entire tube lines, overground, from start to finish. We're both quite nerdy about the tube so it would be great to do at least 3 of them over the next 20 months.

24. Bake 10 types of bread
Previous attempts at baking bread have been quite successful so I'd like to start trying more adventurous recipes.

25. Homebrew some nice wine
I've got some homemade rhubarb wine ageing at the moment but I fear it's a bit ropey and so I'd like to give it another go and produce something I'd be proud to share with friends. My guy bought me some winemaking books for my birthday so they'll come in handy for this challenge!

26. Go fruit picking
As a kid I loved going to pick-your-own strawberry farms and have wanted to go back for years. We picked wild blackberries on a recent walk and that inspired this task.

27. Learn to make Yorkshire Puddings
Despite Yorkshire puds being one of my favourite foods ever, I've never made them. I mean, who am I to doubt good old Aunt Bessie? But really, this feels like a skill I should acquire and so I hope to master it ASAP!

28. Buy a watch
I haven't worn a watch for years but would like to start wearing one again. The biggest part of this challenge will be choosing one that I like and want to wear every day.

29. Learn to shuffle cards
Card games are an embarrassment as I drop the deck, send cards flying, bend the edges. I don't know how I haven't learnt this already but it's about time I nailed it.

30. Spend a night in a gorgeous country house hotel
The Secret Escapes newsletter is entirely responsible for this one because I've become obsessed with country retreats and spa weekends lately, something I normally wouldn't splash out on (plus not having a car doesn't help) but I'd really like to make this happen before I'm 30. Or perhaps this will be a final item to tick off to celebrate leaving my 20's in style.


  1. Utterly cracking list. I do need to write my own, really... xx

  2. I love how you say you are not sure how to raise £1000, then list 3 things that could net a lot of that for you if you got sponsorship for them ;)

    Also if you wanted to do the Great South Run for 10 (It's a little longer than 10k, but could tick that box?) I'll hopefully be doing it again next year, and maybe Em will too.

  3. Good point Matt! I feel like I'd want to raise the money in a different way though, as in my experience training for events is almost as tough as fundraising for them :)

  4. I really like your list! I turned 30 this year, and was going to do a list, but instead wrote down everything I achieved. Certainly made me feel better about hitting the big 30! Make sure you build in time to reflect on what you've done!

    On the fundraising side, I know you'll come up with something awesome. My friend and I ran a burlesque and cabaret event 2 years in a row which raised £4k - it's surprising when you put something different on how brilliant people are at responding. Good luck!

  5. To become something in life is the best experience. People work hard day and night but are not able to find anything. When you reach that website that does your homework level in life for which you wished for your whole life then it feels really good.

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