Thirty before thirty

UPDATE: 16 July 2014. Well, that’s it. I’m 30! I managed to accomplish exactly 16 of my goals, with a couple just scraping in… I wrote five flash fictions instead of six. I’ve applied for my green card so that I can emigrate to the USA, but sadly the process takes almost a full year — so I would never have been able to make it! I visited all but one of my mid-distance friends (sorry Josh). Ah well…. next up is the forty before forty, and I’ve got an entire DECADE to manage those!

It’s my birthday! Yes, I am starting with that line in the very real hope that you will leave me virtual cake in my comment box.

This time last year I pushed The Rising Wind out into the world, and let it totter around unsteadily. I’ll be publishing the full year of sales next month (once Amazon publishes the totals for July) for anyone who is interested.

Today I turn twenty-nine

Twenty-nine is quite an important age. It’s the last year of your twenties; a decade that is normally a whirlwind of love, jobs, broken hearts, identity crises, and growing independence. It’s the decade you transition into full adulthood, and your obsession turns away from who am I? and into what is my place in the world?

I am quite looking forward to my thirties. But I think there’s also something to be said for having a last hurrah in our twenties. So I am stealing Miss Write’s thirty-before-thirty idea, and modifying it for my own use. I have one year to complete these thirty tasks – so just under one a week.

Thirty before thirty

  1. Visit a spa – okay, this is a strange one. I have always wanted a spa day, total luxury and self-indulgence, but always been held back by my fear of it being ‘too girly’. Well, time to kick that one out of the park – I’m spending my birthday money on a trip to my closest spa tomorrow! Completed 17th July 2013. It was amazing. I’m going again. 🙂
  2. Publish my second novel – I’ve been working on it for almost a year already. It’s time to get that baby edited up and published. I’m aiming for December 2013. Watch this space! UPDATE: Clearly this didn’t happen, but the second draft is complete, it needs another re-write and then a good editor. Maybe December 2014?
  3. Try five new recipes – I love cooking, but tend to go back to the same old rotation of staples. I want to mix it up a bit and experiment with some new ideas. Suggestions welcome 🙂
    • 1. Pork risotto. Made it up, but it turned out lovely.
    • 2. Fish pie. Based on this BBC recipe.
    • 3. Chicken enchiladas. God, I love Mexican food.
    • 4. Chicken (and parsnip) korma. Based on this recipe, but I switched out some of the chicken for parsnip, and served it with cauliflower rice.
    • 5. Frittata. An informal recipe based on (vegetarian) sausage, broccoli, paremsan, potato and egg.  Completed January 2014.
  4. Get two hair-cuts – I have this terrible tendency to get my hair cut maybe once every three years, and just let it grow and grow the rest of the time. I want to start looking a bit more ‘polished’ so this year I’m going to get at least two hair-cuts. UPDATE got my hair cut on 3 June 2014. UPDATE: I died my hair twice, once black and once dark cherry, so I’m calling this one ‘done’.!
  5. Get some professional photographs taken of me – For CV, book biography, the usual.
  6. Get my green belt – I go to karate once a week. Right now I have my orange belt, and I’m working toward my green. I’m a bit flakey, however. I need to step it up. Completed 26 October! Next I want to see if I can get my blue before July next year… might be pushing it though.
  7. Visit three nature reserves – I work for a local Wildlife Trust, and we have a bunch of beautiful nature reserves across the country. I’m really bad about getting out to the ones that I don’t have to visit for work. So I’m going to make an effort to visit three this year – and work doesn’t count.
  8. Go to a yoga class – I love yoga, but I don’t have time to go. Instead of making an unachievable goal of going every week, I just need to go to ONE class in the entire year.Birthday cake
  9. Make a cake – Ha! I love cooking but suck at baking (I can turn out some good cookies but that is about it). Going to have a shot at making a real cake. Completed 27 July 2013. Two layer blue & green sponge cake for Phillip’s birthday.
  10. Revamp my web-design website – I’m about halfway done with this, but need to finish it off
  11. Enter a short story competition – something I’ve wanted to do since I was about seven years old. It’s not like I can’t afford the entry fee these days!
  12. Write six flash-fictions – That’s an average of one every two months.
    1. The Hand of Doom
    2. The Lure of The End
    3. Blind Abbot
    4. No Trouble
    5. ZORK Owner’s Manual
  13. Draw the characters from Moonstruck – Much like I drew the characters from The Rising Wind.
  14. Go on a ten mile+ walk – I did this last year and loved it. Definitely need to do it again this year. Completed 21 July 2013. Went to the Peak District and did a circular walk that took in Cloud Thorpe, Dovedale and Illiam.
  15. Get to the half-way point on the 100 books to read list – I’m working my way through this list, but I’d like to finish the year at number fifty.
  16. Do ten awesomely-good push-ups – Push-ups are hard. I got to ten last year, I’d like to get to ten again this year. Note that this are ten with perfect form. UPDATE 8 February. I can now do three good push-ups. UPDATE 30 June 2014. I can now do six good push-ups. UPDATE 16 July 2014 – wasn’t going to not complete this one, so forced out 10 good form push-ups!
  17. Quit eating refined sugar for one week – I keep trying to do this, and keep failing. Dropping the amount of time to one week might help.
  18. Visit each of my mid-distance best friends at least once – Those being: Katie, Jake, Jemma, Matt and Josh.
  19. Visit the Lake District – I’ve never been. I want to go!
  20. Visit a new museum – I’ve been to a lot of museums, from the Natural History Museum in London down to the local shoe museum in my nearest big town. There’s always more. Completed 24 September 2013. Visited The Maritime Museum in Amsterdam. 
  21. Play chess – Used to do this a lot. Haven’t done it in ages. I need to find the time to play a minimum of one game of chess this year. Completed 25 June 2014. Played Paul twice, won once, lost once!
  22. Watch five movies I haven’t seen before – Last year I watched a number of new-to-me movies, including The Shining (amazing). Since I now have a LoveFilm account, I have no excuse.
    • Star Trek movies x 5 – okay, I’m counting these as one movie, even though there’s seven. I’ve been getting my Star Trek geek on, and basically watched the entire TOS and then the first five movies.
    • Taken – terrible movie about a man hunting for his kidnapped daughter.
    • The Hobbit – it could have been great. But it wasn’t.
    • Lethal Weapon – good movie.
    • Up – a tear-jerker that I loved. Completed December 2013.
  23. Go to an Oxford Geek Night – Planning to go to the one in August. Basically, I haven’t gone because I don’t feel like I’m a big enough geek and I’m scared of people. Boo. Completed 7 August 2013. It was really busy and I left halfway. But I did learn about websockets!
  24. Take some kind of class or course – Ongoing education and personal development is important. I’m not sure what I want to study yet, but I definitely want to do something. UPDATE: Signed up for an introduction to physiology class that starts on the 27 January! I spent around four weeks struggling hard with physiology. I figured out I really don’t care that much about our internal homeostatic systems!
  25. Save £8,000 – enough for me to take a year long sabbatical. UPDATE: I saved £3000, which doesn’t seem like a lot!
  26. Win NaNoWriMo – Coming this November. For some reason 50,000 words doesn’t seem as daunting this year. Maybe because I now know how hard the editing part is. First drafts are easy in comparison. UPDATE: Sadly I only wrote 15,000 words. 🙁 
  27. Get 3,600 unique visits to this website – over the course of the year. Achievable through consistent blogging and mild self-promotion. UPDATE 16 July 2014: Got 2,416 unique visits and 4,057 pageviews. I was not as consistent as I could have been!
  28. Increase the conversion rates at work – A work related goal! Basically I want to increase the conversion rate for the number of people that visit the website who then take a particular action. Completed December 2013.
  29. Watch five TED talks – You all know what TED is. This is the ambition to watch five videos of the TED talks, not to actually go and be a spectator.
  30. Emigrate to the USA – yeah, that’s the big one! My plan is to move out there before July 2014. That means visa, plane ticket, and organising my stuff in such a way that I can uproot myself and change continents. UPDATE – visa applied for and boat trip booked… but probable delays mean I may need to go across on a tourist visa or similar. UPDATE I’m now in the USA but only on a temporary visa. We’ve just had our NOA2, which means our petition has been approved and now we’re ready for the next round of paperwork!

Yikes! I feel exhausted just looking at that list. Here we go!



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