Two of my friends and I are planning a trip to Seattle later this year. We also played around with the idea of driving up to Canada for a day or so. In her excitement my best friend says “Awww we should make a ’25 places to go before we’re 25′ list!” forgetting that it’s clearly too late for me because I’ll be 26 in less than 3 months (Aghhhh). But this idea, along with random posts on Tumblr and around the web gave me the idea to make my own 30 Things to Do Before 30 list and what better place to share it than here. This will be an ongoing series of posts but for now, let me get a few of these out before I forget.
1. Move out of the state of Tennessee.
I’ve lived in Tennessee all of my life. I’m way overdue for a change of scenery and there is too much of this country – and world! – that I haven’t seen yet. Besides, I feel like living out of state will force me to be a real adult, something else that’s long overdue.
2. Get a tattoo (or two) covered.
On the day of my 18th birthday I was in a tattoo parlor and since then I’ve fallen prey to my own creative whims a few too many times than I’m proud of. 18 year-old me and 25 year-old me see the world very differently and I’d like my body art to reflect more of who I am now. My goal is to have two complete shoulder pieces in the front that wrap around across the top of my back. Slowly but surely, as this piece comes to life, my tattoos of yesteryear will be put to rest.
3. Go to New York.
I’ve never been and as a self-proclaimed Renaissance woman, I’m ashamed of this. Honestly, I’m a bit intimidated and afraid that going to New York will completely blow my mind iso much so that when I return to home, be it Tennessee or the next place, it will look like a shantytown of the Dust Bowl era.
4. Get out of school and get a real job.
I’ve seriously toyed with the idea of being a career student but after graduate school, I need to leave academia. Or at least the classroom; I really want to get a B.A. in English but that can wait. I am grateful for a father encouraged me to focus on school and not worry about having a job in high school, undergrad, and graduate school but I feel like I’m missing a lot. There’s pressure, looking at my peers who are working hard and doing well in their respective fields. I even see those who started at their entry level clerical or retail positions that have slowly started working their way up the ladder. I’ve learned to not allow myself to be upset by trying to gauge where I should be by their progress but I want to move forward for me now. School is holding me back from so much, figuratively and literally; I can’t leave Tennessee until I finish school! I’ve spent a lot of time nurturing my leadership skills, testing out my wings here and there, but I’m ready to fly. And I need a job with good healthcare benefits!
5. I want to come out!
I’m gay. Or lesbian. Or queer. Or whatever you want to call it; I’m not one for labels really but the gist of it is I like women. I have dated women in the past and I will continue to date women in the future. Might even marry one but that’s a whole ‘nother story. I believe I’ve been gay all of my life but I have been “actively gay” (is that a thing?) since high school and carrying this has been one of the biggest burdens in my life to date. Slowly, through maturity, through education, through finding a community of other individuals like myself, I’m beginning to accept my identity as an LGBTQ person and internalizing what that means moving forward. For so long I thought that being gay would automatically supersede anything good or valuable about who I am or what I have to offer the world but I realize that it adds so much depth to the way I see and experience the world and others. I’m proud. I’m still wary of how I will be perceived by some family members and colleagues but I’ve gotten to the point where It’s causing more damage to stay in than it will to come out. Anaïs Nin stated this so much more eloquently:
There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Stay with me to see more of my 30 before 30 list. Any of you have a bucket list that you’re working on? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!