Hello 30

30 Before 30

One year ago, I posted of a list of 30 things I wanted to do before today:

  1. Pay off my school loans
  2. Go to Wanderlust Colorado
  3.  Get Boudoir Photos Taken
  4.  Go to a Movie Alone
  5. Knit a Sweater
  6. Be Capable of Passing the Army Physical Fitness Test
  7. Read Pride and Prejudice
  8. Go Camping
  9. Relearn How To Dance
  10. Complete a 365 Project
  11. Sing in a Karaoke Bar
  12. Learn to Drive a Stick Shift
  13.  Cook All the Way Through a Cookbook
  14. Sew a Quilt
  15. Learn to French Braid
  16. Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
  17. Make Photo Books for the Past 5 Years
  18. Really Actually Write a Will
  19. Buy a Bike and Ride It Every Week
  20. See an Opera
  21.  Send One Letter Per Week and Create a Family Communication Plan
  22. Develop the Habit of Really, Actually Flossing Every Day
  23.  Get Serious About My Business
  24. Host a Swap Party
  25. Set a Bedtime
  26. Get 3 More Articles Published Online
  27. Establish a Weekly Technology-Free Day
  28. Make a Retirement and College Savings Plan
  29. Build Something
  30. Dye My Hair

In the past year, I have accomplished exactly half of the things I was hoping to cram into a rockin’ 29th year.  Some of them happened by accident – like the time I missed the memo about my book club changing the time they were going to see This Is Where I Leave You, and I showed up at the movie theater alone – others I was pushed into by life (there’s nothing like an impending surgery and possible cancer diagnosis to make you write a real will and advanced directive), while other things I quite intentionally set out to do.

In the past 365 days, I:

  • (Accidentally) went to a movie alone, and enjoyed it enough to do it again; although it is possible that it was not the “alone” part that was so luxurious, but rather the “sitting in a movie theater in the middle of the day watching something R-rated” that made it feel awesome.
  • Created a regular work out routine, joined a gym, and figured out that I could, indeed, join the army if I wanted to.  It may not seem miraculous to some, but I can actually run two miles without stopping!  And I can do it in 18 minutes!  I can do real push-ups (and even a pull-up or two), and 45 sit-ups is no problem.
  • Read Pride and Prejudice  and decided I’m glad I live in the 21st century.
  • Went camping exactly once, but I figure that deserved a medal because it was with two little kids, in a tent, while it was literally freezing outside and one of them got sick.  Also, I remembered how much I love camping and we have officially decided to make that one of our family “things,” so there will definitely more camping trips in the very near future.
  • Found a friend to trade babysitting with and started going to west coast swing lessons with Chris two Fridays per month.  It’s a little harder than I remembered, but its fun, and also, it is way more date nights than we have ever had.
  • Watched about 20 YouTube videos and managed to figure out how to French braid the girl’s hair.  I’m still working on figuring out how to do it on myself, and that may be a lost cause, but at least they’ll not be doomed to years on just plain ponytails.
  • Wrote an official will and advanced directive.  I did this leading up to my surgery last summer.  I’ll not say that I truly thought I needed a will – I was a little more level headed about it than that – but the surgery was the push I needed to create a legal plan for the girls in a worst case scenario, and now I was one less thing to have to worry about.
  • Started bike riding again!  Yay, hooray!
  • Took Nora to see Cendrillon, a.k.a. the French Cinderella opera, as CSU.  I think I get bonus points for that one because not only was it an opera, but it was also in French.
  • Started flossing, for real…and I’m not going to lie, this one took some dedication, by my dentist mother-in-law would be proud.
  • Hosted a freezer meal swap.  It wasn’t exactly a party, per say, but we got together and we swapped things, so I’ll calling this one done.
  • Established Screen-free Sundays and with incredibly rare exceptions stuck to it.  I will say that my no-computer days are one of my favorite days of the week, and I am so glad that I do them.  Because of these days, I actually have time to read again, and I get to have days where I never worry about dividing my attention between the girls and a screen.  This might actually be one of the best things to come from my 30 before 30 challenge.
  • Built the girls a swing set – with no instructions.  We only had to take it a part and start over one or two times. :-)
  • Dyed my hair red!  This was totally thanks to a website trade I did with a beauty salon.  I’ve been using my credit to maintain a red head for the last six weeks or so, and it’s been fun, but I’ll probably go back to my normal mousy brown soon.
  • And the biggest one: I got serious about my business.  Really serious, which is what has been keeping me away from blogging so much.  Last year I worked more than 860 hours, averaging 16.5 hours per week, although more towards the end of the year than the beginning.  In January and February of this year, I averaged 20 hours per week, and this month I am already set to beat that.  Last year was the year that I took Au Coeur Design from hobby-ish side business, to a full-fledged part- to full-time occupation.  I started marketing myself through meetups and the Fort Collins Chamber, I built myself a CRM, and started using QuickBooks.  I have actually grown to the point that I have a graphic designer who occasionally helps me out and Chris has started taking over the bookkeeping and more administrative tasks to give me more time to spend on the things that actually make us money.  It’s been a tough road, especially regarding finding a balance between work and home duties (working 20+ hours in a week when Zara is only in care for 11, requires some creativity), but I am really proud of how far I have brought this business in such a short amount of time.

The 15 things on my challenge list that did not get crossed off were largely as a result of two things – time and money.  When I wrote my original 30 Before 30 post, we thought we were going to sell our house in Wyoming and make $10,000 off of it.  After that deal fell through, a lot of the things I had hoped to do that cost money – like paying off student loans, going to Wanderlust, getting boudoir photos, or riding in a hot air balloon – became an impossibility.  Medical bills following my surgery did not help.  Other things – like knitting and sewing or cooking through cookbooks or writing articles and trying to get them published online – fell to the wayside as I was forced to choose how to allocate my time.  Even the “bedtime” goal has been hard to maintain since night is still one of the only times I can get good stretches of work done.

I still want to do these things, so I plan to revisit them over the next few years, but I’m not in some super rush to cram everything in before another arbitrary date – except for maybe that last $2000 in student loans that are painfully close to being paid off and are definitely number one on my to-do wish list.  In the meantime, I’m feeling more content with where I am as I enter my 3rd decade.  I did some cool things last year, things seem to be falling together, and I’m hopeful that by this time next year, there will be even more good than disappointment.