Snappy title hey? This was inspired by Mandy’s great piece listing the 37 things she’s learnt in her time on earth for her 37th birthday. However *spoiler alert* this will be a lot less useful than Mandy’s really rather fantastic list, because, as I’m rapidly discovering, I really haven’t learnt all that much.
Instead, here are the 30 things I’m going to try and apply to my life as I embark on a new decade.
1. I will not say yes to everything first time round, just because it’s easier/politer/my natural instinctI’m totally one of life’s yes men. My instinct, especially when I’m face-to-face with someone, is to say yes to every suggestion, pitch, offer or question thrown at me.
I once took a full-time job when I was perfectly happy being freelance because I kept saying yes to all the interviews and by the end it was too embarrassing to turn it down. Who takes a job out of social embarrassment??? I’m getting better at being discerning, trusting my gut, and just saying no, but I still need to do this more.
2. I will check my bank balance every single day, even when the thought of it is making me feel sickLast year, I talked about my horrible propensity to spank all my money, and then some, and how I was determined to pay off all of my debt. I’m still sticking to it, although not with quite the same single-minded determination I had back in November.
One thing that will vastly improve my chances will be if I’m actually honest about how much money I have in my bank account at any given time. So, I’ve downloaded my bank’s phone app and will be checking it EVERY morning on the bus from now until the end of time (or I pay off my overdraft, whichever comes first).
3. I will have five booze-free days in a row every month plus three dry days every weekMy no booze in January experiment made me feel so much better, it was revelatory, and I really want to keep it going. If nothing else, it’s only the 6th of February, and my skin looks like shit again.
4. I’m going to (try) to meditate three times a weekI got into meditating in a half-assed way last year, but I really think I need to do it properly if I want to see any benefits. So, not matter how tired I am, or how much I just want to watch re-watch Game of Thrones on my laptop before bed, I’m going to meditate for 15 minutes, three times a week. And I have to be completely sober when I do it.
5. I’m finally going to purchase (and use) the following kitchen utensilsA garlic crusher, a potato ricer, an electric blender, a really good frying pan and some champagne flutes. Ok, champagne flutes aren’t kitchen utensils, but I can’t keep drinking cut-price prosseco out of a mug. I was toying with getting a pasta maker, but don’t worry, I won’t.
6. After six years, I’m finally going to get to the bottom of why my gas and electricity bills are so expensiveSeriously, I’m paying £171 a month. It’s not that big a flat. This is clearly why I have no money. By my 40th birthday, I’m determined to have reduced my energy bills to a more palatable amount. Or at the very least, read the meter.
7. I’m going to travel more, more, more. I already travel a fair bit anywayI’m super-lucky to have enough disposable income to be able to do so, but I feel like I’m working against the clock. I feel like I’ve got to fit in as many amazing trips to amazing places, and as many fun experiences as I can in before my womb is filled with the leeching fruits of some man’s loins.
I’m not sure why I’ve just made having a kid sound like a scene from Alien (BECAUSE IT IS), but I definitely need to get some more trips in before I have children and holidays involving backpacks, exciting looking visas and potential malaria become a mere memory. Also, I had a bunch of annual leave left over last year, which makes me think I need to get a bit creative with how I use it.
Russia, The Cook Islands, Ecuador, Japan and South Korea are all big on my hit list. Any other suggestions?
8. I’m going to get my nails done regularlyI never get my nails done, I never even paint them myself. I file them occasionally if I snag or break a nail, and that’s about it. Then my friend took me for a manicure for my birthday (thanks Hannah!) and look how ace they look:
I feel all polished and posh with them, and, five days in they still haven’t chipped. This is a bit of a revelation.
9. I’m going to start seeing a podiatrist regularlyMy flatmate made me include this one, because my left foot is easily the most disgusting thing about me. Apart from anything else, I have a MASSIVE bunion, three of the toenails have come off from over-zealous running and one of the nail beds is black. I’ve got to show my feet a bit a bit more love.
On a separate note, does anyone else have a disgusting feet? I’m a bit tempted to do a gallery of em, in the same vein as the Show Us Your Morning Face project.
10. I’m going to run a half marathon…at some point in my 30s. Probably. Maybe.
11. I’m going to read at least one new novel a month I realised recently that I only ever read books now when I’m on holiday, which is a rubbish turn of events. Say Media’s UK office have started running a book club which I’ve joined, so I’m going to try and read for that, plus get through one more novel every eight weeks.
It’s definitely good for the soul, and I’ll start to feel less guilty about all the great, unread books gathering dust on my shelves.
12. I’m going to clean the grouting in my bathroom, and then keep it cleanThis one’s for the benefit of my mother, who may or may not be reading this. But also, I’ve always aspired to be one of those people who has a really beautiful bathroom, and that’s only going to happen if I clean the goddam grouting.
13. I'm going to go to more festivalsThe ticket price, hassle and possibility of rain always put me off, but I need to remember that when I do make it, I always have a fantastic time. Apart from the time I took too many legal herbal highs at Glastonbury and spent a night face down in the mud throwing up every 10-12 minutes while my friend sat in the tent having a really bad trip. That was a bit shit.
Don’t try to beat the system by taking fake drugs, kids, they’re basically horse worming tablets and they’re gross.
14. I’m never, ever, taking legal herbal highs againSee: point 13.
15. I’m going to be nicer to my friends and stop getting on my high horse about thingsBecause I do sometimes do that. I know, I know, you thought I was perfect, but everyone has to have the odd flaw. And mine is, I can be a tad… judgemental. Which is a terrible trait for an xoJane editor. Must do better next year.
16. I’m going to get really shit-hot good at PilatesThis will take the best part of a decade, because I have the spine of an 80-year-old, but I really want to be able to balance on my shoulders (this is almost entirely because it sounds like a cool party trick and I’m a bit of a drunken show off).
17. I’m going to be less of a drunken show off.
18. I’m going to get loads better at public speakingDespite being a show-off when pissed, or in a small group, I’m terrible at public speaking. I get really nervous, and it always shows. But, although it’s possible to avoid it, it’s definitely a good thing to do for my job. So I need to get better. And how do I get better? By doing it more, even though I hate it. Urgh.
19. I’m going to donate my bone marrowHonestly, I’m definitely going to do this. I tried to in September, but I have to wait until I’ve been back from Vietnam (as a potentially Malaria-ridden country) for six months before I can even give blood. So I’m going to go back in March. Do you want me to write about it?
20. I’m going to purchase a TVI’ve have never bought myself a TV – the current monstrosity in my living room belonged to my friend’s ex boyfriend, who donated it when I moved into my flat. I think it’s from the early ‘90s, and is so big and heavy I can’t even push it across the table.
I feel like researching and then purchasing a proper TV for my living room is the mark of adulthood (I did buy a fridge once, which was quite grown up, but chose one solely based on the fact it was available for next-day delivery. With the TV, I’m really going to mean it).
21. I’m going to get my hair blow driedNot every day (I’m not Anna Wintour – I chaired the xoJane UK editorial meeting on Friday with the icing from a Krispy Kreme doughnut on my cheek). But when I’ve got a few nights out in a row, or I feel crap and need cheering up I’m going to get into the habit of getting my hair did.
It doesn’t need to be expensive (the place round the corner from the office is cheap as chips and they do a great job), and it makes me look and feel so much more grown-up and polished. Although the Krispy Kreme on my face does ruin the effect a bit.
22. I’m going to watch The BodyguardBecause I never have, and seriously, what’s wrong with me?
23. I’m going to visit the Lake DistrictBecause, again, I’ve never done it, and it’s meant to be amazing.
24. I’m going to learn something newI haven’t decided what yet – it could be a language or a skill (I could get really good at plastering, for example) or maybe something totally useless (tap dancing?). I’m starting to feel like I need to keep my brain in some sort of decent working order by stretching it a bit.
Plus, as a notoriously bad completer, actually sticking a course out from start to finish would be an achievement in itself.
25. I’m going to get over my fear of drivingI have quite a lot of anxiety dreams where I’m driving my parent’s car and accidentally find myself on the North Circular before remembering that I don’t know how to drive an automatic.
I haven’t driven in about ten years because it’s always made me really nervous, and frankly I’m a bit shit at it. But the only way to get not shit is to do it loads, and the longer I leave it the worse I will be. So, at some point in the next ten years I need to suck it up and get back behind the wheel.
26. I’m going to start paying into a pension againThis is also entirely for my mother’s benefit (hey Ma!). But I do feel bad that my financial fecklessness is a source of anxiety for her.
27. I’m going to do more ‘good.’Because right now, I don’t do any. I don’t give to charity, I don’t volunteer in any capacity, I don’t even buy the Big Issue. In my 30s I’m going to give a portion of my time and money to others. I haven’t worked out exactly how I’m going to do this yet, but I’m working on it.
28. I’m going to see my family moreBecause I’m crap, and a bit lazy and really have no excuse - they only live on the other side of London.
29. I’m going to go to more gigsSee also: festivals.
30. I’m going to get really good at giving myself a bikini waxWhich is something I’ve never really mastered. Actually forget tap dancing and plastering, that’s a skill worth having.
Rebecca is live tweeting the carnival she has created around her birthday @rebecca_hol.