In their hit song "1985", Bowling For Soup once sang, "Her dreams went out the door when she turned 24." When Spongebob asked what was even funnier than 24, his answer was 25.
Sounds kind of bleek, right?
No worries: Blink-182 said "nobody likes you when you're 23" and I was blessed to spend that year surrounded by plenty of people who love me for everything, for everything that I am.
Take that, pop culture.
In all seriousness though, I'm approaching a big birthday. Despite the fact that I'll probably be carded for the rest of my life and still swear by Chuck Taylors as the best shoes of all time, I will be turning 25 this upcoming September. I won't pretend I'm excited - that's actually pretty terrifying. But it's happening whether I like it or not, so I figured I might as well push myself to bring something positive out of it. Without further ado, I present to you....
25 Before 25: A Bucket List
But not just a bucket list.
It's something I owe myself. Here's to only the most sincere efforts in pursuing my goals in music, travel, physical health, mental health, hobbies & happiness - before I reach an age where "finding myself" becomes synonymous with "lost."
1.) Re-connect with old friends. Life doesn't last forever, and nobody wants to be the person saying "Shit, I was too late."
2.) Pursue my travel goals in a financially sensible way. I've come to terms with the fact that I'm probably not going on any international escapades anytime soon, and that's totally fine by me because the United States has so much to offer that I've yet to see! The two mandatory goals this year are getting down to Nashville, TN - aka Music City - and to visiting my best friend in Lewiston, ID. (Good news: Nashville is already on the books!) In addition, I'm holding myself to having an additional trip planned to at least one more new city by the end of 2018.
3.) Travel alone. Why? Just so I know I can. As someone who has spent much of her life battling anxiety, I've never really done things by myself. I've been working on combatting my anxiety, and being able to comfortably function and experience the world independently is key.
4.) Confidently re-instate a health-focused pescatarian diet. A pescatarian diet means I would only eat fish and no other meat. I'll also be making the effort to cut back on dairy. While I do love animals, I back off from eating meat for personal health reasons rather than moral reasons. I just feel better when I don't eat a lot of meat. That being said, life is short, and if my mom makes her famous meatballs, or it's Thanksgiving, or Goddammit maybe I'm just PMS-ing and want some bacon and ice cream - I'm allowing myself one cheat meal a week, and a cheat bite here or there. I once held this regimen pretty religiously for a year and lost almost 30 pounds! Which brings me to...
5.) Lose 25 pounds. Unfortunately, food is one of my vices, and a string of family deaths and my own mental health issues kicked my ass over the last year and a half, so I gained most of that weight back. However, I dropped it once, and I know I can do it again.
6.) Light Exercise. I'll never be passionate about working out, let's not kid ourselves. But there's no reason I can't be doing 30 min-1 hour of light and comfortable cardio daily. (Walking, hiking or biking are preferable options.)
7.) Yoga. I've been putting this off even though I've been interested for years. I always used money as an excuse, and it was valid, but I'm in a much better financial spot now than I was then. One class a week is more than manageable. I know it will be beneficial to both my physical and mental health.
8.) Write 25 new songs. That's (roughly) one song a week. At a bare minimum, 5-10 of these songs should be co-writes with other songwriters. Which leads me to...
9.) Dive into pursuing a professional songwriting career. In addition to my own artistry, of course. I write more songs than I'll ever need for myself, and I'd love to see those songs and that skill go to good use. Developing contacts and relationships will take time, and of course I want to continue beefing up my skills, but I'm finally ready to jump into that field from a professional standpoint, not just from a personal artistic spot.
10.) Add 25 new songs to my cover set. Because I still need to make money, and you can only sing Wagon Wheel, Brown Eyed Girl and Free Bird so many times before beginning to contemplate your existence.
11.) MY MUSIC. The stars in my creative universe have finally been aligning, and I need to do my part to take advantage of that in every way I can to keep developing and pursuing my original music career. My goal for my birthday is to have at least three new songs released, two music videos produced, and have the final steps to complete my first full-length album being tied up and within sight. (If you haven't heard my previously released EP's, you can listen for free here!)
12.) Pursue education. I don't necessarily mean a college degree, although I'm certainly not opposed to that option. But at the end of the day, I'm not looking for an expensive piece of paper to tell people that I'm worth something in a manner that's really nothing more than bragging rights. I'm looking to further my tools and skills in web design/coding, graphic design, social media marketing, photography and content development. I love the media life, and while I do some part-time work in these areas already, I want to bring my skill sets to a point where I could feel truly comfortable selling them as a full-time career if I ever wanted to transition out of being a full-time musician. (Right now I'm certainly not planning to, but hey, I like having options.)
13.) Routines. My life is a lot more stable than I usually give it credit for, but I don't think I've ever actually felt stability in my life. I'm only on the lightest surface, but I'm beginning to see that having set routines for both Leah and myself can give me the mental grounding to really believe in my own stability. (But wait, who's Leah?!) Leah is my three year old daughter!
14.) Stop letting social media take over my life. Enough said. However, easier said than done when your career is very much reliant on various social media platforms. I look forward to finding the balance, and if you've already found it, tips would be appreciated! Let me know below in the comments.
15.) Write more often in an actual notebook. As opposed to the Notes app on my phone. Sometimes, it's the little things.
16.) Keep a journal. I often feel like my life is flying by me and I never know where my time goes. This will help me stay focused and in the present, along with giving me a healthy and private emotional outlet.
17.) Cleanliness. It's not that I'm disgusting or slobby, I'm just a very disorganized borderline hoarder. (I use that term loosely, don't worry.) However, thousands of belongings and procrastination on putting them where they belong add up very very very quickly. I recently went on a grand cleaning and decluttering spree, and I've honestly NEVER FELT BETTER. I need to keep it that way both in my home and in my car, as it has had a very positive effect in limiting my anxiety as well. SPEAKING OF ANXIETY:
18.) Stay in therapy and stay on schedule. I've never judged anyone who pursued therapy, in fact I greatly respected anyone who could ask for help, because I never could. I finally bit the bullet a few months back, and with weekly sessions and a very light medication dose, my quality of life has never been better. That's all I feel the need to say, just know it's been an entirely positive, rewarding and life-changing experience for me, personally.
19.) Time management. Don't worry, I'm not self-diagnosing myself with ADD or ADHD, but I have zero time management skills and focused moments are few and far between. It negatively impacts my life on a daily basis. My goal for the upcoming year is to first figure out why this is a crucial issue in the first place, and second, tackle it head on and finally take control of my life back.
20.) Make time for health. You know, maybe seeing a doctor once in a while. Or taking care of dental issues while I'm still covered under my dad's insurance. My teeth and gums seem to think I'm approaching old age.
21.) Reading. I LOVE to read, I always have, but it's always seemed like I never had the time. (See #19.) I'm hoping to complete at least 10 new books between now and the end of September, both fiction and non-fiction. I've been off to a great start reading nightly before going to sleep. (Currently reading: See Me // Nicholas Sparks) For my fellow bookworms - I will be posting reviews, so stay tuned!
22.) Become more comfortable in using my past traumatic experiences to help others. I'll spare the details, but here's the short version: sexual assault, bullying, addiction, emotional abuse. If I can help others who have been through it and need a hand to hold, it makes my experiences worth it. (If you're interested, I touch the surface in my previous blog post.)
23.) Make new friends. Don't get me wrong, my current friends are beyond great. In fact, aside from my band members, it's already a struggle to see and keep up with everyone I want to. But I am in desperate need of fresh company from fellow moms and other badass, positive, driven and supportive women, both in and out of music!
24.) Be honest with myself and others about mistakes. I'm not going to write every song I'm supposed to, or read every book I'm supposed to. I'll probably slack on my daily walks some days, and I promise you I was eating Funny Bones right before drafting this post. Don't even get me started about stuff that isn't on this list. And you know what? That's okay, because I'm human and it's going to happen. As long as I know I'm trying my hardest, I can excuse the occasional slip up or bad day. I just need to keep kicking my own ass to keep my eyes on the prize.
25.) Know my path and commit to it. I know what that means, and hopefully down the road, you will too.
Wondering if I'll be able to do it?
You'll be able to see the progress of this bucket list through various posts on this blog, so make sure to hit the subscribe button and to also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify to receive all updates!