On my birthday last year, in an attempt to aid myself in my plans for a proactive Year of Yes, I made a 23 Before 24 list and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. As my 24th birthday is in three days (OMG) and the old list will be replaced by a shiny new 24 Before 25 list, I thought I’d do a little recap of the things I was able to cross off my list this year.
1. Kayak Lake Union
The first sunny day of Seattle’s delayed spring was the day I chose to go on my first-ever kayaking excursion, and it was wonderful. In the beginning, I had serious difficulty with the mechanics of paddling and ended up splashing myself a lot, but once I got the hang of it, it was such a delight. It’s magical to see the city from the water, and it’s definitely something I look forward to doing again when I return to Seattle.
4. Travel to Europe
I thought for sure that I wouldn’t make it to Europe this year, and somehow I ended up living in Europe! No one was more surprised than me. It all happened really fast and unexpectedly: I started looking into being an au pair in August, and by the beginning of October I had landed in Amsterdam. It’s certainly been an experience being an American living in Amsterdam and getting to know the city as a resident, and it’s been amazing to see other parts of Europe. So far I’ve visited Belfast, Paris and Barcelona, will soon be visiting Rome, London and Berlin, and am looking forward to visiting even more European cities in the coming year.
6. Have/be a pen pal
Writing letters and receiving letters are two of my favorite things. I put out a call for pen pals back in May and got a few responses, and have had the pleasure of handwritten correspondence with two lovely ladies. I wouldn’t turn away more penpals, so if you’re interested let me know!
9. Make cute stuff for Baby Jordan
One of my oldest friends had her first baby on New Year’s Eve of last year, and in an attempt to be the best auntie ever, I decided to make little Jordy a few handmade gifts. Right before he was born, I made him a banner with his name on it to welcome him into the world, and a few months later I made him a sweet little railroad-themed blanket. If I still had access to my sewing machine, I’d be making him something special for his upcoming 1st birthday, but alas, I’ll just have to buy him a little Dutch trinket instead.
12. San Fran weekend
My brother Judson and I took a weekend trip to San Francisco in May and we had the best time ever. We both decided that if we could ever afford to live in SF (which, unfortunately, is extremely unlikely), that we would move there together. While we were there, we biked across the Golden Gate Bridge, saw the Full House house, pretended we were prisoners on Alcatraz, and watched a camera crew film a car jump sequence for a commercial. It was awesome, to say the very least.
17. Take a design class
I signed up for an online blog design class back in the spring, and it was incredibly enlightening. I’m still in the planning stages at this point, but I’ll definitely be putting these newfound design skills to use when I re-design my blog this year. Just you wait!
21. Upholster antique furniture
This was one of my proudest moments of 2011. After many obsessive hours of work and two seasons of The O.C. as background noise, a dirty Goodwill chair was transformed into the beauty I knew it could be. I was so happy with how it turned out, and plan to continue reupholstering furniture when I return to the U.S.
23. Go skydiving
This was another item I thought may not get crossed off my list, but I’m so glad it did! Judson and I both wanted to go skydiving, so we went out to teeny tiny Toledo, Washington, donned ourselves in jumpsuits and harnesses, and jumped out of an airplane. It was absolutely terrifying, but it was one of the best things I’ve ever done and if I get the chance to do it again, I won’t hesitate!
It was a valiant effort for my first attempt, I’d say; I wasn’t able to get to as many things as I had hoped, but in my defense, my unplanned relocation to Europe kept me from accomplishing several things that I could only do stateside. Looking back, I think it was really good for me to not only have goals to aspire toward, but to also have a time limit to keep me from putting things off because of fear or because I think that I can do it somewhere down the road. This list has definitely helped me to carpe the hell of this diem, and that’s definitely worth something.