Reflections on being 29-and-a-half

I started this blog on my 25th birthday, with a set of goals I wanted to achieve before I turned 30.  I had been in Boston for two years (a “long” time), had a fun and easy life, but also knew that there was more out there, just waiting for me to grab it.

I wasn’t wrong – but in the last four and a half years, I’ve reevaluated a bit.  Maybe I don’t want to be president anymore (thanks, House of Cards, for showing the dark side…).  And maybe dividing my time between a million things – scheduled far in advance – is not the route to happiness.  I’ve seen a lot of friends make similar evaluations over the last few years – one, quitting her creative/business job that related to her degree to become a dog walker and then moving across the country. Another, leaving the corporate world entirely and moving to Europe. Still others going back to school, dropping out of school, choosing love over location and location over love. It’s fascinating to see my peers come to their own conclusions about how to live this weird and wonderful part of our lives.

And it’s time for me to make some new plans, too.  So I’m retiring some of my original goals from 25 year old Sally.  Here’s what, and why:

Visit South America / see the Grand Canyon

Mark my words – I will do both these things. But not in the next six months. I blew all my travel-related savings in Europe this fall. Having the flexibility to get up and go on a grand adventure is amazing, and I have no regrets.  But I’ve also realized that just because these two places didn’t end up being on my list for these last five years doesn’t mean I’m a travel failure – just that I found other adventures. I do want to keep going on big and small trips without feeling like each one requires a year of planning – but as I’ve learned again and again, the people I’m with are more important than the places I see, so my focus this year is on hanging out with my friends and family, even just in our own hoods.

Find a place to do some steady volunteering / Run for public office

I work from about 8:30-6:30 each day. On weekends, I cook, play softball and volleyball, hang out with my friends, run, take classes, go to shows, etc etc etc. I also volunteer on an Institutional Review Board at Dana Farber and volunteer at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp almost every summer. Oh, and I am web communications chair for my college class for the next five years. So why, oh why, do I think I’m not doing enough? My goal here was to make some new connections and serve my community – both valid concepts. But I don’t think 25 year old me gave myself enough credit for all the work I already do. I almost applied to be on the historic commission in Somerville, and then I looked around and realized how much more work can be done in the areas where I’m already involved, and stopped myself (not a moment too soon). Instead, I’m chilling out for a minute, and being ready to carve out time in my life for the right opportunities when they do exist, because I’m sure they’re ahead.

Stop saying “yeah” in public settings when I really mean “yes”

Modern English is changing, y’all – this is no longer a priority anymore.  Instead, my goal is to understand the proper usage of the phrases “YAS QUEEN”, “on fleek” and “legit AF”.

Get certified in something – massage, Zumba, crepe-making?

What’s in a label? I’ve tried some awesome things over the years – Indian cooking classes, all kinds of yoga, trampoline gyms, salsa dancing, painting, guitar. I would still love to be a teacher eventually, but for now I’m letting myself be taught.

You might see a theme here: it is the same as what I’m telling my cousins who are embarking in summer between years of college. And it is this: chill out. Nothing is so serious that we need to be so strict about it and hold ourselves to a list. I don’t think that being ambitious is inherently a problem, but it can make it harder to embrace the moment, and damn if this moment isn’t worth embracing. I’m going to be working on living my life and checking off the boxes as they come, rather than tracking them so far in advance. It will all work out in the end.

What do you know now that you wish you could tell your 25 year old self?

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