24 for 24

Today is my birthday! I am approximately 21 years older than this picture. This is a weird birthday. I haven’t been at work in a week because of Hurricane Sandy (our offices were without power) and I’m going back today.

I like birthdays. I like other people’s birthdays, I like my birthday. Cupcakes are fun! But I also like markers to see where the year has taken me. I do this every chance I get! The change of the seasons, the new year, the beginning of a school year (even though I’m not in school anymore.)

It’s interesting looking back at the person I was a year ago. I think I’m different now. Of course I’m different now. For the past few years now, though, I’ve made a list of 20-odd things to do before my 20-odd year. I don’t even want to go through the list from last year – I haven’t accomplished most of those things, not even the easy ones! Why keep making the lists you say? Because! I like to fail things.

Just kidding. Because I like to have some kind of guide, some kind of reminder of what was important to me on this date in 2012. Last year I went with “vague.” This year, I think I’ll go with specific. Also, I know that the title doesn’t exactly make sense because this is my 25th year, so it should be 25 for 25, but let’s just say 24 for my 24th birthday and be okay with it.

1. Start a collection of Madeleine L’Engle books. I want to own them all, so that my kids will grow up with them the same way I did.

2. Keep up with “books in, books out.” So far, so good. I realized, though, that there’s not any kind of built in punishment. I decided that as long as I am in the negative, like right now, I just absolutely can’t bring anything in. Fortunately I’m only one book in the red, so as soon as I’m done with the book I’m reading I will be back at even.

3. Lose 10 more pounds. This is something that I don’t really talk about that often on this blog, but over the past year and a half, I’ve lost 25 pounds and a dress size. Which, yes, is abysmally slow, but I feel good about doing it slow. It feels like it’s staying off, which matters more to me than losing it quickly.

4. Don’t fall into your yearly gym-slump from November-March. Every year, from November to March, going to the gym and working out feel like pure torture and I barely do it. This year feels different!

5. I don’t know how many times I have to tell myself to write more, but damn, I need to write more.

6. Write one poem a week.

7. Build up savings. This has been hard. I’m trying to pay off my student loans quickly, so I don’t have a lot of extra cash to save, but I know that I can do it.

8. Take a class in something. This was on my list last year and I didn’t do it. Shame on me, because I’d really like to do it!

9. Travel to a city or state I have never been before! Last year I went to Columbus, OH for work and Chicago to visit a friend of mine and had a blast. Things I’d really like to see in the US: California, the Grand Canyon, Texas, New Orleans, the Twin Cities, Boston, and Maine. I don’t think I’ll get to all of those this year, but the list has started.

10. See a few shows. Mostly cheap off Broadway ones, but splurge on at least one Broadway show.

11. Do one thing that terrifies me.

12. Crochet through my yarn stash! 

13. Submit writing to writing contests, magazines, websites.

14. Check out one cookbook a week from the library, cook from it, and review it on Weekend Cooking. This is so ambitious. Let’s just admit now that I’ll probably only do this twice.

15. Spend less money. Bring your breakfast to work! Don’t be quite so lazy. Figure out easy ways to pack breakfast. Use the library!

16. Classics Club – Get started on that!

17. Keep up with the Poetry Project.

18. Use my sewing machine. I did lug it all the way from Virginia to New York. I should really try and use it.

19. Read more comics.

20. Travel outside the US. Switzerland! I’m comin’ for ya.

21. Make a real donation to the library, instead of getting a huge fine. Yeah, I need to work on that.

22. Volunteer at the library.

23. Visit all the museums in the city! Another ambitious one, but I’m determined to do this one.

24. Write letters to authors about how much their books mean to me. On a recent reread of A Wrinkle in Time, there’s a moment in the afterward when Madeline L’Engle’s granddaughter mentioned how much all her fan letters meant to her. I feel like I should be writing letters to the authors whose books mean so much to me. If just to say thank you for writing such a lovely book.



16 thoughts on “24 for 24

  1. Happy Birthday!

    Good luck with your 24 items. I love the idea of writing to authors whose work you appreciate. I can see you getting some wonderful replies. I also like the idea of cooking from a different book each week. Ambitious plans, but well worth it in the end.

  2. Happy birthday! I love your last item. In the age of texting, I bet authors would appreciate a well-thought-out letter of appreciation these days!

  3. Happy birthday! That is a wonderful list — ambitious but not outrageously so. It seems smart to have fun stuff on there, not just hard stuff. Congratulations on the 25 pounds already gone! I came to your blog by way of the Classics Club, so hope to see you there!

  4. Excellent list! I’m sure you already know about this, but in case you do not, I highly recommend the Brooklyn Brainery for taking classes. They have classes in all sorts of things — different cuisines, history classes, crafts, computer skills, languages, seriously just a crazy variety of things — they are not at all expensive, and they are about to move to larger premises where presumably they will able to offer still more classes. I love them and that is my pitch on their behalf. :p

  5. I think the most important one there is come to New Orleans :p Happy Birthday beautiful Lu!!!! These are all wonderful goals and I’ve had very similar ones recently….I often feel that we’re at the same places in life despite me being 6 years older than you :p Oooh..and I don’t know if it’s playing in NY, but if it is, I saw Les Mis last night and it was freaking incredible!! There’s also a five hour long play called The Lily’s Revenge that I saw recently that started off broadway…not sure if it’s still playing there ever, but it may be worth looking up. Definitely doesn’t feel five hours long..it was just an amazing experience and a wonderful play!

  6. A lovely balanced list. Think of them more as “intentions” rather than goals, so there’s not the inherent failing when you don’t do them.

    Also, check out coursera.org to try out a free online class. It may be a better way to get into the classroom without losing money. And the classes are great!

  7. Happy Birthday! Good luck on your list! I plan to do the same for my 28th birthday next month. Here’s hoping you’ll have a great year!

  8. Happy belated birthday, friend! That photo is adorable. You have the same face. 🙂

    I like the idea of setting year-long goals — and not just when the new year rolls around. I think I’ll take a page out of your book and do the same. Write more would definitely be on mine, too, and I would love to take a class in something. Maybe photography. Hmm . . .

  9. Happy 24th birthday! I’m with you, I love seeing how far I’ve come and setting goals for myself on my birthday. What a wonderful list of things to work on.

    p.s. Switzerland is incredible, you have to go!

  10. Belated happy birthday, Lu! Your list is awesome, very realistic and doable. I was especially struck by the last one. I hadn’t thought about writing to authors since I was a kid. That should be something we all need to do, give them the appreciation due them.

  11. I’m late late late to this! I’ve had it saved for quite awhile, because I needed time to get to it, and now it’s time! 😀

    Come to Texas! If you come to San Antonio, you can stay with me, and I’ll take you around to places. 😀

    I love these goals. And I completely agree with you that permanent is better than slow.

  12. Ack, I’m so late! Have I told you that I am always floored by how young you are? I always have this vague idea that all my favorite bloggers are my age and you blow that out of the water 🙂

    I too have a goal to lose weight, though for me it’s a goal to hit for my 30th birthday. I have lost weight REALLY slowly over the past few months, which is frustrating, but I think it will feel really great to hit my goal if I’m able to do it by my birthday and my sister’s wedding 🙂

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