Last year I made a list of 23 Things to Do While 23. Now, just a few days shy of turning 24, I’m happy to report that while I didn’t make every goal, I have accomplished quite a few of the things I set out to do and several that are not on the list.
1. Travel Abroad
I traveled to France for a week in October 2015, a journey you can read all about on my travel blog To Ponder and Wander.
2. Write the Sequel to My First Novel
I have written sections of the sequel, however I am still revising the first novel! As I will soon start my graduate school courses to earn my MFA in Creative Writing, I look forward to having a consistent group of peers and published authors to help me take my writing to the next level.
3. Get One Story Published
While I have not had a story published, I did have a few poems read on local television and several freelance articles published in various magazines, e-zines, and more this year.
4. Continue Learning Spanish
There just aren’t enough hours in the day.
5. Continue Learning Japanese
I am proud to say I can read both Hiragana and Katakana and have plans to take a second level Japanese course this summer.
6. Brush up on my French
I use Duolingo.com to practice my French when time allows. I would like to be more intentional about this. My trip to France definitely forced me to recall some long-forgotten vocabulary!
7. Get Back to Singing
I have worked on a few original pieces with friends, but life got busy again. When my family has settled into our new house and I can set up my mic again, I’ll would like to dedicate more effort to this.
8. Learn Guitar
My poor guitars continue to collect dust. At this point, paying for lessons might be the only way to get me to consistently practice. Nothing motivates like money.
9. Get Back to Yoga
I do yoga several times a week at home and once or twice weekly at the local recreation center. It is tremendously helpful in maintaining physical health, calming anxiety, and finding new energy.
10. Travel to New Parts of the U.S.
I went to Minneapolis (saw nothing but the airport en route to Paris and back to Nashville, but I went). While I didn’t do much traveling around the country this year, I have become far more locally adventurous exploring new areas of Nashville and surrounding areas. Even having grown up in Middle TN, I find there is always something new to discover, especially as the area is currently experiencing a boom, causing new things to pop up all over the place.
11. Cook More
I have tried out a few new recipes lately and am doing much better about eating more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.
12. Learn More About Investment
Having written for a wealth management company on occasion, I learned a great deal more about financial investment than I knew this time last year. I have also done a good job of sticking to my monthly budgets and have assumed greater financial independence. If all goes according to plan, I will not have to take out a single loan for graduate school!
13. Practice Piano
I do this when I feel like it. For me, piano is like riding a bike. I never really forget what I know.
14. Watch House of Cards
This didn’t happen. I have actually limited the number of shows I watch in order to better focus on all the other aspects of my life, and I feel better for it!
15. Go to a Dance Club
This didn’t happen. Why my best friend even suggested this one is beyond me. The dance club never has and never will be my scene.
16. Take at least one Dance Lesson
Yeah. Didn’t happen. Maybe next year. Or not.
17. Do Karaoke
I am singing more lately, but the karaoke night never happened. Again, this isn’t the sort of thing I usually do on a weekend (you’re more likely to see me at a museum or find me reading).
18. Attend a Kpop Concert
Qing Qing and I are feeling our age with the sudden string of break ups or member withdrawals from our favorite Kpop groups. And now we will never get to see those lineups live. *sniff* What? I’m not crying! Well, maybe on the inside. T_T
19. Go to Comic Con
I attended Nashville’s Game Media Expo on Halloween. It counts.
20. Attend a Writer’s Conference or Retreat
I had a wonderful time at this year’s Southern Literary Festival at MTSU. There I met the director of my graduate school program, made new friends, and attended some outstanding sessions that reenergized my creativity.
21. Watch More Classic Films
I have been branching out more lately. I watched several of this year’s Oscar-nominated films.
22. Play More Video Games
Didn’t happen. I read a book about video games…does that count?
23. Make time for myself, and don’t stress.
In general, I’ve done well with this for most of the year, excluding an anxiety spell or two. I will continue to make this a top priority this next year.
Overall, 23 has been an amazing year. I have made new friends, grown closer to old ones, gained a new job, been admitted to graduate school, traveled, learned more about myself, and experienced more joy than possibly any other year in my life. There has been a lot of change, but I am learning that change doesn’t have to be bad. In fact, it opens up some pretty incredible possibilities. I look forward to seeing what new adventures the next year brings!