I turn 35 this year. In August to be precise (typical Leo, flaunting her birth month). 35!
When I was a little girl, I felt like being 35 must be the pinnacle of adulthood. However, from these uncertain heights, it feels like I’ve only just begun. It was only at 33 that I graduated myself from “girl’ to “woman”.
Now, I’m a girlish woman playing the game of adulting. Yet still to fully admitting the fact that I might, indeed, be all grown-up now. Simply because I don’t feel like I am. Which makes me wonder if anyone ever feels grown-up, other than in moments of self-observation, when they happen to make a very adult-like decision.
And strange things come with this adulting. With getting older. While I don’t feel 35, there’s an emotional maturity and stability there that has only come with age and experience. I care less and less what other’s think and say, and find forging my way on my terms, much easier than before.
Simultaneously, I’m also more sensitive. Life feels much more finite and vulnerable than it ever has before. The concept that it could all be over in a single fleeting moment has become all the more real.
There are other changes too. Every now and then I find a stray hair near my nipple. I have no idea why this is happening. I’m pretty sure that there’s no biologically valuable reason for it. If I happen to look up a moment too soon after applying liquid eyeliner, a tell-tale line is pressed upon my upper lid, be-telling of times when those eyelids where tighter and higher. Sometimes I wake up with creases across my chest, from sleeping on my side, a sure sign that the skin isn’t quite as supple as it used to be.
On Boxing Day in a sale this year, I bought my very first pair of what I would call “sensible” sandals. Don’t worry, they’re red, Italian leather. But the soles are, well, very sturdy. And well made. They’re not some flimsy thing that just looks good, which is how I used to roll. These shoes actually are comfortable. And I can walk long distances in them. It’s wild to think, that things have come to this.
Also, I couldn’t care less about staying up all night, whilst before, those long nights of adventures were what I lived for. I talk about morning and night routines, boundaries and life-harmony, like they are what keeps my Universe twirling. I find myself becoming a little boring: satisfied by simple pleasures, and good company, over needing to discover something new all the time. I say “no” more than I say “yes”, mostly, because now I know what it is that I like and want. Something that, previously evaded me, as I thought that I wanted it all.
While ageing has never concerned me, I embrace it with the sincere hope to do so gracefully, it does seem to have come on quite suddenly. Maybe a part of my has happily lived under the illusion that I would be 20-something forever. Until now, when I suddenly realise that I’m almost 35.
To ease this sudden realisation of just how finite and fleeting life is, I’m sharing with you a collection of 63 things that I want to do in my 30’s, to set this very precious decade of my life free, with a sense of having lived it fully.
I have broken them into 4 categories: learn, do, have, and be.
Play my ukulele and sing at performance-level. When I was a kid I desperately wanted to sing, and reluctantly my mother shovelled me off to an old lady who used to tour the world doing cabaret shows. While she was a colourful character that I will never forget, especially since she had agoraphobia, and hadn’t left her house in literally years, what she taught me was far from useful. Now, however is the time to fulfil my musical dreams and serenade you.
Ride a motorbike, well.
Spanish. I can speak Spanish at an intermediate level, once I’ve spent a couple of weeks re-learning it in Spanish-speaking countries. But I really want to feel confident with it, and not like I’m flying by the seat of my pants, which is how it feels now.
French. Speaking of languages. Here’s another one I want to learn. Just for fun. And also so I can do some of those other things on my list below.
Learn to dance. I love yoga. I’m great at Pilates. But my honestly, my brain-to-body coordination is not the greatest. At least, not when it’s choreographed. I look like retarded flamingo that desperately needs to pee, when I try to follow choreography. (My boyfriend says that I look like a newborn calf when I walk, graceful and stumbling at the same time, which gives you an idea of what my day-to-day looks like.) I’d love to learn a few awesome routines and break out in full dance at someone’s embarrassing family event one day.
Speak in public. I can speak to small groups with ease. I enjoy it. But having a big audience look at me with the expectation that I’m going to share something profound, scares me. Which is all the more reason why it’s something I want to learn. Public speaking is something that’s coming closer to me. I can feel it.
Astrology. I love and adore astrology, and every day I am learning more. This is a topic that I am deeply hungry for. This and how it connects us all to nature and how we can use these natural cycles to our advantages to stay aligned and in the flow.
Pottery. I have these daydreams of feeling the clay beneath my hands and watching as some incredible beauty magically appears before my eyes. Though its possibly not quite so romantic, I have to try, at least once.
Snowboarding / skiing. I have done both, but have no skills to speak of. It’s something I’d like to say I ‘can’ do.
Photography. This is something that I’ve been doing for a number of years, however all self-taught. I’m getting to a point where I really want to take my skills to the next level.
Calligraphy. It’s so pretty! Meditation in motion.
How to draw illustrations using a tablet. I truly love drawing. Pencil on paper. Pen on paper. When I was still building and growing this site, and had more time, I often used to do the illustrations for my posts, like this one on understanding your chakras. I’d love to do that again, but this time, directly into a tablet so I can use them.
Acro-yoga. The first time I did acro-yoga was with a bunch of hippies in Mexico. It was so fun, and being naturally flexible and bendy made it easy for me, that I never wanted stop.
Backwalkovers. It’s always been a dream of mine. I can bend backwards and touch the ground. I just haven’t mastered the kicking back over part yet.
Interior design. I love styling my home spaces, even if it’s just for a few short weeks that I live in that place. I cannot wait to own my own home, and go to town with the interior design and styling. I literally have Pinterest boards bursting with ideas, and things I want to create and make for my house. And I feel that a huge part of that, will be learning how to design with finesse, style, ease and within a budget.
How to plant and grow an edible garden. I am no green thumb. But I want to be. One of my best friends is a permaculturalist and I’m (secretly) hoping she’ll come and teach me here wise ways one day soon.
How to make vegan ice-cream. No, I don’t mean banana nice-cream. I mean real, coconut cream vegan ice-cream. My recent attempted resulted in coconut and vanilla flavoured icicles, totally missing the ‘cream’ part. Blah!
All about makeup. Seriously. I’m still just making it up based on what I’ve read in magazines and on Pinterest. I don’t wear a lot. Tinted moisturizer and mascara on most days. I add-on eyeliner or eye shadow and blush for special events. I’m cool with wearing little makeup, but I’d love to learn how to apply and wear it properly.
Plant médecine. We use plants to support our health and wellness, and while I like to use a lot of herbs in my salads and cooking, it’s something I’d love to learn more about, and do with intention.
How to make my own natural cleaning products. That actually work, and smell nice.
Flower crowns. When I was little my mum taught me to weave daisies together, and I made me feel like a princess. It would be so fun to learn how to make proper ones and wear them.
Massage. I love to massage my loved ones. It’s such a beautiful, nurturing way to give love. I would love to develop my skills into a proper massage sequence.
Write a book (or 3). I love writing. And having had quite a decadent decade in my 20’s filled with every experience imaginable, I have a lot of stories to tell, coupled with many lessons learned along the way. The book is there. Waiting for me to write it. I’m giving myself less than 5 years to conjure it out of myself.
Swim with dolphins. And I don’t mean in an organised tourist-trap fashion, but rather, while dipping in the ocean, having the tremendous serendipity to find myself amongst these fine friends. I’ve come so close a few times, and I truly believe it’s something that will happen one day soon.
Take the Trans-Siberian Rail from Mongolia to Moscow. Can you even begin to imagine the beautiful photographs! Gah!
Get my nose pierced. After getting very excited about this idea, and after having a huge discussion about it on Facebook, I recently learned that in Ayurveda, getting your left nostril pierced assists and stimulates women’s reproductive systems, resulting in happier lady-parts. I rarely have pains and such, but the mood-swings prior can be somewhat overwhelming. Maybe this will help balance things?
Cycle the South of France on a week-long wine tour, tasting every tipple, and hopefully not falling off too much.
Spend a couple of weeks in Paris, with a girlfriend (or two). I’ve been to Paris a few times, and always only with lovers. There’s this uncomfortable expectation that hangs over couples to be ‘romantic’ in Paris, and I’ve never fully enjoyed it the way I want to. Holding off on cheeses and pastries so I look good naked for wild nights of passion, really leave something to be desired in my Paris experiences. I want to go with girls and oooh over lacy lingerie with them, eat chocolate croissants in windy, cobbled streets, and flirt with obnoxious Frenchmen, without guilt.
Create a community, a safe haven, and an inspiring platform for free-spirited women, like myself, to heal, grow and honour their own desires to create a life filled by freedom. This is starting to take shape and form with The Free-Spirited Collective. I have huge, touch-the-stars visions for where this will go. But as all things start, small steps. It’s an exciting time.
Start a band. (And perform in public.)
Go to more gigs and music festivals. There was a time when music festivals were my entire life. That is essentially all I did for about 5 years. I worked in them. I played in them. I danced in them. And then we had to take a break. I had to start diversifying my interests. I grew, and we broke up. But I really, really miss having them as part of my life. And hereby, with you as my witness, promise myself to go to more music festivals and gigs, from this moment on, for as long as I shall live.
Go to Brazil, Peru, Cuba, Colombia and Ecuador. Those places are sorely missing from my personal world map.
So is most of West Europe. There are places there, that I dearly want to get lost in.
Finish the suede leather bag that I started in 2008. It might literally take me 10 years to finish this project, but I will. I bought the suede in a big bag from a leather factory in Shoreditch, London, and slowly started hand sewing the pieces together to create a patchwork suede handbag. Right now, this project is sitting in storage at my best-friend-from-uni Mel’s house, until I recover it, and many other belongings from around the world and collect them all in one place. One day soon.
Start presenting and creating sacred spaces in workshops. There are a few things holding me back right now: a) I really hate organising events and people — hence I’d love to do this with someone, who shares my vibes and who enjoys the organisational aspect of creating events; b) my audience where I am located right now is too small, I’d have to go where more of my tribe reside; c) I haven’t quite decided on content or context. I believe that this will all unfold soon. It’s manifesting!
Host monthly dinner parties. My obsession with feeding people needs an outlet beyond the people around me, before they begin to resemble something more rotund than necessary.
Collaborate with some amazing creatives and game-changers. As much as I love running my own business, I’m really craving creating some bigger, more impactful and greater, with some incredible like-minded souls. I feel 2017, this is all going to come together in a really beautiful and exciting way.
Have a love-fest. I’ve never been one of those girls who imagined a pompous wedding with 100’s of guest to titillate and lubricate with champagne. It’s actually something that;s started to appeal to me more, recently. The idea of celebrating a deep love, a love that might span the ages. It doesn’t have to last forever. But love should most definitely be celebrated with music and dancing and wine.
$1 million dollars in my bank account at one time. Considering that, these days, that’s not huge amount of money, it’s not too far-fetched an intention to work towards.
Own my own house. Seeing that I’ve been gypset of most of my life, and have never, ever lived in any one place for more 4 years, the idea of owning my own little place on Earth is both frightening and mesmerizing. I have grand plans for styling and design, and it’s something that I’ve been working towards and saving for, for about a year and half now.
Get one of those inflatable great, big, huge floating flamingos. I really need one of these in my life, to feel complete. Well, not really, but.. you know.
A complete capsule wardrobe. Maybe this is just a dream, but I love the idea of having an entire wardrobe that fits together with each garment, while also reflecting me and my personality precisely. Being on the road, essentially for 12 years now, with a few stops in London and Sydney along the way, I have maintained a small wardrobe of staples, but rarely do they mix and match well. It’s more of an “outfit per mood” sort of situation. One that gets limited further, by weather conditions.
A big, square white table. Perfect for flat-lay photography.
A video recording space. One of the challenges with moving around so much, is finding the perfect space to record videos. I’m quite pedantic about ‘atmosphere’ and ‘styling’ in my space, and sometimes use the excuse that my space isn’t pretty enough to keep me from creating some of the things that I want to create. I truly want to manifest the perfect recording space, wherever I am.
A banjolele. I found the perfect one in Airlie Beach when I was passing through, and haven’t found it anywhere since. I’ll find it again, one day.
An office with a bed in it. I’d love to separate my work space from my living space. But the truth is that beds are incredibly conducive to my creative work. Hence, an office-bed is required.
A mother-figure that I admire. One thing that I really crave and miss in my life, is to have an older woman, a wise crone, with whom I could share a deep connection with. As I never had a very close relationship with my own mother, it’s something I seek out in other friendships and connections. I’d love to cultivate a friendship with a woman who has had many years of life behind her, and is patient and content with the depths of experience she has had, and is ready to share and pass that on.
A spiralizer. I want to make zoodles!
Suede knee-high boots. Because they’re sexy.
A teleportation machine. The idea is so seductive, I believe that it will be invented in my lifetime. I have left my heart in so many places, with so many people around the world. I’d love to go and spend their birthdays and other special occasions with them, on a whim.
Get lazer eye surgery. I’m not totally sold on this however. I’m slightly near-sighted, which means that I wear glasses to drive, and sometimes when I’m writing and don’t want the laptop literally sitting in my lap. I’d love to have perfect vision again, but honestly, the idea of a lazer shooting into my eye scares me. Plus, I’m super into natural remedies and such, and not sure it aligns with my values. But it’s a thought. A possibility.
More amazing man-friends. In my 20’s most of my friends were men. In my early 30’s I started drifting towards the women in my world, and they have become the greatest source of strength and inspiration for me. Something interesting seems to have happened in my life that last few years. Essentially, it seems that when I’m unavailable for a more intimate relationship, men would just disappear from my world. I now have very few “real” man-friends in my life, and I miss them! I feel like there’s a real imbalance in my man-to-woman ratio. Life moves in phases, and that’s cool. Yet I feel called to attract more masculine energy into my life. I love men (just as much as I love women).
Be a back-up dancer. Between the ages of 11 and 14, you could find me gyrating in front of music videos on most weekends, emulating the dancers, and imaging that, one day, I would find myself in their place. While I certainly have no interest in making a career of it now, I do want to do it, someday.
Really, really good at my craft(s). I have so many passions: writing, drawing, singing, making music, mentoring and speaking with people 1:1 and in workshops, feeding people, photography, styling homes and spaces. I’m at a phase in my life where, now that I’ve figured out the things I love, I want to be really, really good at them. All of them. I know that the only way to become an expert at anything, is to do it often. So here I am, honing my crafts. Every day, rain, hail or shine. These things are the threads that weave together to create the tapestry of my life. Consistently doing the things I love.
At peace with my body. I’ve come a long, long way from the girl I was in my early 20’s. I had such a hateful relationship with my body. I literally wanted to get away from myself, and went through cycles of bingeing, starving myself, and using party-drugs and dancing, to keep myself looking that way I thought I had to look to be happy. At my thinnest, while I liked my body, the rest of my life was a disaster. Now, ,y relationship with my body is much, much better. I’m slim, at a healthy weight, I eat well, I’m strong and exercise almost daily. I love my body. And I am noticing something new: ageing. Frown lines. Smile lines. Sun spots. New lessons around loving and accepting my body.
Content. I think the concept of happiness is overrated. Life will always have ups and downs. That’s how we learn and grow. But if I can feel content, regardless of the highs and lows, then I am living a good life.
A published author. It goes hand it hand with writing books, but I want to be self-published as well as published by an awesome publisher that I adore.
An embodiment of all that I am. One of my fears in life is that I will leave a part of me unexpressed. That some aspect of myself will be left out or missed. Do you have those fears too? I wonder if I’m unique in feeling like life requires all of me to show up. It reminds me of my recent astrology reading, where I was warned to be careful not to over-exert myself in the enthusiasm to be and do everything.
Known as a good writer. I’m not quite there yet, but it’s coming closer.
The agony-aunt for FreePeople.com’s blog. Do you remember those teenage magazines with an advice column where you could write in and some mentor-type figure would tell you what to do? I want to do that. I want to be the advice columnist for FreePeople.
A trapeze artist! I took trapeze classes for a while when I lived in Sydney. Every Wednesday in my lunch break I’d walk from Fox Studios where I worked, to Moore Park where a trapeze was set up, and practice flying. I love flying on the trapeze so much, I’d love to do it again, and be a part of a performance one day.
What I’ve learned from writing this list, is that most of the things I want, are either to move my body or be creative, and always with people. Being expressive and being with people, appears to be the very simple, nourishing, fulfilling staple of life. Writing the ‘have’ list, was the most challenging. It seems that I place much less value on physical things than I do on experiences.
Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.