Five years ago, when we turned 30, my best friend Julie came up with the brilliant idea to make a list of 30 things we wanted to do in the year that we were 30 years old. Thus, “30 For 30” was born. Julie, our other best friend Heather and I each made up a carefully thought out list of goals we wanted to reach, activities we wanted to try, and dreams we wanted to get closer to. Some were big, some were small. Some were life changing, some were just for fun. Some were emotional, some were physical. There was no pressure to finish, we just had to commit to being as alive and challenged as possible as we began the next decade of our lives.
Julie went camping and showed some of her magnificent drawings in an art exhibit, but never dyed her hair red. Heather went hiking, skiing and cut back on her TV watching, but she didn’t pamper herself once a month like she wanted to. I went to Ireland and I baked bread, but I definitely DID NOT train for a triathlon. I mean, come on. Even thinking about buying a bike for that one gave me severe anxiety, and everyone here knows how much I love shopping.
When the year ended, I finished 21 of these items completely, was in progress on 4 more, and did not complete 5. Not too bad for a year’s work.
I turned 35 just a few days ago, and as I’m in a bit of a transitional stage of life (new city, new husband, temporarily unemployed), I decided to give it another go, this time with “35 For 35.” 35 things that I want to concentrate on for the next year. It was a bit more difficult to make this list, which must be evidence of how many things I have done, and how fulfilled I am in most areas of my life at the moment. And maybe I’ve gotten slightly more realistic. Or lazy. Whatever it is, I’ve thought and edited and slaved over this list, and now I need people to hold me accountable. You people, to be exact. It’s like how they say that when you want to lose weight, you should tell friends about it loudly so your ego becomes part of the game, and then you don’t want to look bad by not going to the gym or stuffing your face with a cheeseburger in front of these so-called friends. So let’s play that game now with my “35 For 35.” Although no cheeseburger shaming. I don’t respond well to anyone taking my food away.
PATTI’S “35 FOR 35”
1. No more emotional cutting.
I get this phrase from my friend Andrew, and it mainly relates to the Internets and all the damage it can do to our souls and moods and brains. Every time I look at the Instagram of someone from my past, that’s a little cut. When I check the theatre websites to see which roles are cast that I didn’t even go in for, that’s another little cut. When I keep following someone on Twitter even though their whole feed is one gigantic humble (or not-so-humble) brag, it’s a big fat cut that won’t shut up. After a while, those cuts add up, and I am sadder than I was before. No more, I say!
2. Send birthday cards through the US Postal Service, on time, to friends and family.
3. Research LASIK and get it done if possible.
4. Drink sauvignon blanc in New Zealand.
5. Be on a TV show.
Confession: I already know that an episode of “Royal Pains” that I did recently will be airing next summer, so this is kind of cheating if I don’t actually book another TV show. Sue me.
6. Complete a draft of a TV pilot.
7. Publish one blog a week.
This may be the toughest one, and it’s not because I don’t love writing. The weeks just go by so fast! And if I’m not inspired when I start writing, I’m not great at sitting in front of my computer and not somehow drifting to inourhandsrescue.org to see what new puppies will be at our adoption events that weekend.
8. Eat a freaking cronut.
Can’t believe I have to put this on a freaking list to do it.
9. Commit to doing the project I have in my head and actually do it.
10. Read all of the books on my shelves that I have not yet read, and donate the ones I have no interest in reading.
This should not be difficult, except the one I’m reading right now is 1200 pages, so I will see you in 2019.
11. Take a writing class at Second City.
12. Learn to like eating peppers.
13. Call at least one human being a day.
Yeah, I’m going there. One. Human. Being. EVERY. DAY. Today was my dentist’s office, which seems like cheating, but I did it!
14. Relearn how to speak Spanish.
15. Play the clarinet again.
I apologize in advance to all of my neighbors and my husband. Hopefully those 8 years of lessons aren’t completely erased from my brain.
16. Learn how to cook 5 new meals.
17. Volunteer on a wildlife rescue mission.
18. Run 5 5Ks.
Ugh. I hesitate to even type this one. Gross.
19. Keep $1 in my pocket everywhere I go, so I’m always ready to give it to a homeless person.
20. Greatly reduce my addiction to my iPhone.
I mean, this is one we could all benefit from, am I right? Sometimes I look at my phone in the morning before I look at my husband. That’s the sign of a problem. Therefore, I shall devise some sort of plan where I am less addicted to my iPhone. I have no idea how to do this.
21. Pay off my student loans.
Yeah, I’m 35. It’s just sad now.
22. Visit one museum per month.
23. Create photo albums.
For those of you who are NOT 35, “photo albums” were actual physical books that you would put the “prints” of your photos in, which you would get “developed” at “Wal-Mart.” They could be removed at will, and were generally arranged chronologically or thematically. I shall undertake this task.
24. Make peace with my body image.
No matter who you are, what size you are, how old you are, chances are you are at constant war with your head about how you look and feel. The humans in this world who have learned how to accept and love and be proud of their shapes and figures and features and individual beauty are heroes to me. By this time next year, I would like to be a hero too.
25. Reevaluate my relationship with alcohol.
That’s just a whole separate blog in the making. Stay tuned.
26. Be on Broadway again.
Hey, I put this on my “30 For 30,” and it worked, so let’s throw caution to the wind and try again.
27. Read one inspirational book per month.
28. Stop apologizing for everything.
My go-to phrase is “Sorry!” Even when I know it’s not my fault, or anyone’s fault for that matter. Sometimes I say it just so someone will respond with, “It’s not your fault!” Assuming that’s some sick subconscious way of making someone forgive me before I can beat myself up over whatever dumb thing I didn’t do. So, let’s stop doing that!
29. Go to the ballet and the opera.
30. Get paid actual money to write.
I’m not asking to be the next op-ed columnist in the New York Times. I mean, like someone pays me $50 to recap a TV show or something. Or like hundreds of thousands of dollars for my TV pilot. Dream big, friends, dream big.
31. BE ON TIME.
I never used to be late. I was actually always 10 minutes early. Then a few years ago when the big life change happened (divorce, not early onset menopause), I stopped caring as much about all of the dumb things I cared about. Unfortunately, this led to me being late a lot. And then I realized that everyone else is late all the time, so why should I care if I was? Unfortunately again, it’s still rude and disrespectful. Punctuality, the most sexy quality that you never actually notice in a woman.
32. Stop playing Candy Crush.
This one hurts. This one hurts really bad. Like, I can barely keep my fingers off the Delete button. Oh man, it hurts. But I gotta do it. I have a whole year though, right?
33. Make exercising more about enjoyment instead of calorie-burning.
34. Take a ballet class.
35. See my wine glass as always being half full.
Over the past 5ish years I’ve become an accidental pessimist. I had always taken pride in how positive I was, and so the day I realized that was no longer the case, I was a little heartbroken. Something stole my sunshine along the way, and I let it happen. It’s time for me to get it back for good.
So, there we have it. “35 For 35.” I realize that I may not do some of these things, but as I said before, the point is to always be working toward something. Just perhaps not a triathlon.