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30 things to do before 30

A few weeks ago a very close friend introduced me to bullet journaling. I have to admit that I’ve never been much of a journal person in my life. Ever. I hardly ever planned something. Except that one big trip because I wasn’t taking it alone. And usually I would just go on with my life day by day and see what it has to offer. I didn’t even bother making a grocery list and always ended up forgetting something.

While learning about bullet journals I also came across the “30 before 30” list. All of a sudden I got intrigued with having plans and lists and a new outlook on life and I realized there are actually things I want to achieve. I found out that I actually have goals. It took me a few days to complete this list and if you’re interested in why I picked out these particular things, read on!

I’ve got 1324 days to:

1. Upgrade my wardrobe

I have never been the kind of girl who spent too much time thinking about her wardrobe or following fashion trends, because I would just wear whatever I liked (whatever was clean and comfortable) but after all these years of not-caring my wardrobe looks like a patch-work blanket you buy at a thrift store. I still don’t mind but I spend too much time in front of the closet because nothing seems to fit together. On the one side I need to downgrade my closet, making sure I only own pieces I really need and ware regularly, on the other hand it will be an upgrade for me to switch to a minimalist wardrobe. People like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have already proven that worrying less about your clothes in the morning helps a lot with focusing on your work and creativity and I bet it saves a lot of time in the morning when all of your pieces fit together.

2. Declutter my life

Reading more about creating a minimalist wardrobe I also came across more articles on a minimalist life style. One sentence that really struck a chord was this: The more we own the more time we spend organizing the things we own.
Reading this was like looking into a mirror because for a lot of time I have been wasting noticeable hours cleaning my room and reorganizing stuff and each time I had to figure out what I need and what I can throw away. There have been days where I just kept seeing myself as this lazy unorganized person, but come to think of it: I do own too many things I don’t have any use for. Too much kitchenware for a singles household, too many books I read once and then never touched again. Some old memories I couldn’t let go of. Decluttering my room will be the first step I can take before moving forward to other parts of my life.

3. Move to an apartment

This one has been very important to me because since I moved to Vienna I have been living in a students dorm room. For now I am still a student and only working part time, so I can’t really afford moving out. Living in a students dorm room is also a lot cheaper than having a real apartment. And while I got attached to living in this part of town, moving to a real apartment is my next step to becoming a real adult.

4. Weihnachten im Schuhkarton

“Weihnachten im Schuhkarton” is German for “Christmas in a shoe box”. It has been a very long tradition from Germany, Austria and Switzerland to pack Christmas gifts into a shoe box and to donate them to children of different age groups who live in Eastern European countries: Belarus, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia etc. For some kids this shoe box is the only gift they receive on Christmas because their families can’t afford buying something special and coming from Romania myself I want to contribute to this as well. 
When I was a kid I received a shoe box myself. As a grown up it is time to give something back. If you’re interested in this project you can visit the official website.

5. Save the bees

I am not going to write a long post about how important bees are to the planet and to us humans — I expect everyone knows that by now. I can’t save the whole world but I strongly believe that we can save the world together if each of us would do their part. Last year we tried planting some flowers on the balcony but we failed terribly because nothing actually came out of it and we didn’t see any flowers. But there are different options like buying flowers from the flower shop to put on the balcony, mowing your lawn less to keep the flowers alive, planting trees that bloom and grow foods and many other options.

6. Encourage 10 people to donate blood

I recently wrote a story about the importance of donating blood and why I can’t go donate blood myself. Fast forward two weeks later and I have my second appointment for an iron infusion which will help me fight my anemia, but it probably won’t get rid of my illness for good. I won’t be able to donate blood ever — which is a hard pill to swallow — but I want to fight for this cause and will do my best to get other people to donate blood instead. Every donation counts!

7. Find a job I love

I am still working on this. Finding the one thing I want to do with my life. Figuring out what I am good at and getting paid for it. While I do have some ideas in mind I still have to put myself out there and try a few things before I can make this decision. Some people might not have much of choice when it comes to their job and they have to take any job they can get to pay the bills and buy food. This might become my reality too some day but I hope to find a place where I enjoy working.

8. Save 10% of income each month + extra money

When it comes to saving money you will find a lot of advice on where to start and how much of your salary you should put aside. Some say that 20% is a good choice but I think that 10% is more reasonable. But it’s also important for me to start saving any extra money I get, like Christmas/birthday money from my family or the payment for extra hours at work or even tax return money. In the past I used to just spend this kind of money right after getting it, and it’s time to take on more responsibility.

9. Open a savings account for retirement

This part is so similar to the one before but saving money in general, for your big trip, for a new car, or emergencies is not the same as saving money for retirement. Being responsible with my finances also means opening up a savings account specifically for when I am old. The earlier I start saving, the better.

10. Generate passive income

This is one of the bigger challenges to achieve in a short time but putting it on my list makes it more real, more important and more urgent. Having more than just one source of income is easier nowadays and I hope that my creative nature will help me find a few ways to put those extra numbers in my bank account.

11. Build up my etsy shop

One way I want to start building a new source of income for myself is by taking care of my etsy shop. I opened it up a few months ago but haven’t really taken care of it. It will require a lot of hard work making new products to list but I enjoy my creative work and should spend more time doing it.

12. Complete a fitness challenge/program

If you’d ask me about one thing I cannot do I would probably mention something that is related to sports and working out. Like riding a bike or doing burpees. This is something on my list that has the main purpose of helping me realize that I can achieve anything I want. Completing a fitness challenge or following a program from start to finish is something I would be very proud of, without having an unrealistic expectation of becoming fit in 3 months or less. Finishing this would just be enough!

13. Reach ideal weight

I strongly believe that each person is different and has their right to be happy with their body no matter their shape or size, which is why I don’t want to put a number or a tag on this. For years I wanted to fit into a specific size of clothing or reach a specific number on the scale which has led me to failure after failure. I also believe that each person has their ideal weight regardless of what our society considers to be a healthy number and I want to find out what that means to me. Do I wanna lose weight? Sure, I do. But no longer chase after numbers.

14. Buy barefoot shoes

Ok, so now I’m just listing something I want to buy. I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out. For the past 2.5 years I have been suffering from my aching feet. Long hours on my feet made me sit for long hours when I got home and it became a vicious cycle of pain. I was told from my doctor that I have a flat foot and that I need special insoles. They help, but they don’t make the pain go away for real. Barefoot shoes are on list because I know from experience that taking off even the most comfortable shoes is the best thing after a long day at work. Barefoot shoes are my hope for fixing my aching feet.

15. 30 day sugar detox

Sugar is everywhere and we consume too much of it. The WHO recommends not more than 25g of added sugar per day but when you learn how to read the labels on the foods you buy, you realize that 25g per day is not quite what we get when we buy convenience food from the super market. I was always aware that I needed to cut back on chocolate and other sweets but sugar is hiding in spaghetti sauce, bread spreads, pizza and a lot of other stuff we wouldn’t describe as sweet. But it’s still in there and it makes us crave more. A 30 day sugar detox is yet another item on my list I think is really difficult to achieve. But I will be very proud when I do.

16. DIY beauty products

A while back I switched to natural cosmetics that are vegan and organic. I want to reduce the chemicals I put on my body and the impact they have on our environment. And I want to do something good for my body. My skin is very sensitive and so far I haven’t found the perfect skin care product for me. These next months — years — I want to reduce my use of conventional beauty products, buy more natural cosmetics and learn how to do a few things myself, like a homemade face and hair mask or simple things like using coconut oil as a moisturizer.

17. Buy a fitness tracker

My fitness goals should be very well documented and we’re supposed to walk 10.000 steps each day. While I’m at work I am able to reach that daily goal, but whenever I’m home I get back to my sedentary life style. I like fitness trackers that track your steps and your sleep — I always toss and turn and wake up in the middle of the night, so this is important to me — and I think I would enjoy it a lot to always have a wrist band that shows me the time and the caller ID, without having to pick up the phone — let’s be honest, I hate phones, but I have also been using my smartphone for social media way too much lately. It’s a win-win.

18. Collection of healthy recipes

I’m the kind of person who eats the same things over and over again but my choices are not always the healthy ones. Buying cook books is not a real option for me because I always end up picking only a few of those recipes and ignoring the rest of the book. Which would lead to buying a new book and so on. My goal is to find healthy recipes that are easy to make, that I enjoy eating and to make a binder with a collection of only a few of these recipes. Applying the principles of a minimalist closet to my cooking so I don’t have to spend too much time thinking about what to eat.

19. Grow healthy long hair

For the last 12 years my hair was no longer than shoulder lenght and it also lost the glow and the strength it had when I was a kid. Highschool and early years of college have been a never ending experiment to find a better hair cut, better hair care products. My hair never looked as good as I wanted and while others saw pretty curls all I saw was unhealthy, damaged, dry and brittle hair. In order to change this I also need to take care of health first and get rid of all the bad hair care products but having long hair like I used to has been a life long dream for me.

20. Learn calligraphy

As a creative person I am always attracted by new ways to express my creativity and calligraphy has caught my eye. I enjoy trying out new things and experimenting. Maybe this has something to do with my ugly hand writing but it is something I am really looking forward to.

21. Form a writing habit

Writing this article now on medium is probably contributing to my goal of forming a writing habit. I had blogs before and I always prefer writing down my thoughts instead of verbalizing them, but somehow, it never worked out. After a while I would lose interest in my blog, not find any ideas to write about, and the excuses would just go on. But writing and talent is linked to a lot of practice and dedication in the end. So I want to get to a point where writing is not just something I enjoy doing once in a while — when it seems convenient — I want it to be a habit — something that defines me.

22. Form a reading habit

When I was in school, I was the kid who reads. I still think of myself as the kid who reads, but the truth is that I started to focus my attention on other hobbies and spending too much time on social media. My yearly reading list started to grow short. While taking care of my writing habit I also want to go back to reading and making it a daily activity.

23. Learn a new language

I grew up with two languages — German and Romanian — learning English since my 3rd year of school but French never really stuck with me because I only had french in my last 3 years of school. 7 years later my french is almost non-existent. I am good with languages but now that I am out of school learning a language requires more dedication and discipline. Before I turn 30 I want to add one more language to my repertoire but I don’t want to stop there.

24. Ask for things I want

The difference between the people who have a lot and people who are still waiting for the things they want is asking. Asking for the things you want will usually give you the things you want. Sometimes you might get a no, or a maybe that turns into a never, but your chances to getting what you want or greater if you learn how to ask. I’ve never been very straightforward and I’ve been holding back very often when I wanted something. Dreaming big, visualizing what I need and asking for the things I want is a skill I still have to learn.

25. Learn how to knit

I remember this one scarf I knit when I was a teenager, it was blue and green and red and my mom helped me do it. It was not a great scarf but I loved it so much and wore it throughout of high school with pride. But as with every skill we don’t practice, I forgot how to knit and will have to pick it up again from the beginning.

26. Upgrade my camera equipment

I love photography and one of the biggest moments since I started taking pictures was when I bought my first DSLR 3 years ago and put down the small bridge camera. The next was when I bought my first 50mm lens this year. A lot of people will say that the equipment doesn’t matter, that the photographer and his vision is more important but the truth is: the equipment you choose will affect your outcome. It’s what I experienced and there are a few items on my wish-list I still want to purchase. I know they will help me take the pictures I want. If you’re interested to see my photography you can visit my website.

27. Shoot an editorial

Another goal related to photography is shooting an editorial. This year I already had the opportunity to take some very special photos and I got invited to take photos at a charity event, but shooting an editorial and getting published in a magazine is something really important to me.

28. Complete all city hiking trails

I’ve been living in Vienna/Austria for 6 years now but so far I have only completed 1/9 of the hiking trails here in the city. These hiking trails are usually easy and don’t take much time to complete, so they’re a great way to discover new parts of the city and to get out into the nature.

29. Visit all EU countries

I am from Romania and I now live in Austria while part of my family is in Germany. I have been to Belgium once and am going back in one week, so I already have been to 4 EU countries. I think this is a nice project for this period of time, having a map I can color out to see my progress and having a specific list of countries to travel to is a good plan if you like structure. I haven’t traveled much so far and will start with small steps visiting Austria’s neighboring countries first.

30. Africa days in Vienna

This one is a festival I wanted to visit for a while now. It happens once a year and there’s an entrance fee but somehow I never managed to go. There are a lot of concerts, food stands, dancing, art and souvenirs to buy. Maybe it’s the loud music and big crowds that held me back so far but I definitely want to experience this at least once.

If you enjoyed this article please like it, share it and leave a comment. I hope to encourage at least a couple of readers to make their own 30 before 30 list.

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