27 before 27

Every year I make a list of things that I want to do / try / experience before my next birthday. Whether I complete one or all, the goal isn't about "getting through the list." Instead, each item is an invitation for experimentation, prioritizing "life" things just as much as "work" things, and intentionally making this year the year I want it be. 

Here's what I tried between November 1 2016 - Oct 31 2017. Items crossed out indicate items I completed:
  1. Take a ballroom dance class
    A perk of being back at school: dance classes available for $50 / term. Dancing into the weekend / twirling the week away was magical...although, if I'm being honest, this is only a partial truth. There are no such things as "weekends" in grad school 
  2. Travel for a girls' weekend
    Traded New England cold for "even colder" via Montreal in January and yet still walked away dying to go back. It's official: I'm a cold person.
  3. Do 10 pull ups in a row
    Ah, illusive upper body strength
  4. Perfect homemade salmon confit
    Lesson learned in the process: always cook fish within a day or two of purchasing it...waiting until day 4 and thinking, "eh - it's fine" = "oh. it's NOT FINE" when you're running out of class and hoping you make it to a bathroom in time
  5. Take a photography class
    Oh snap 
  6. Try ice climbing 
    Will make you wish you had crampons for feet all the time 
  7. Move somewhere new for the summer
    Hello San Francisco! Goodbye $$
  8. Create an evening ritual
    Something I still fight myself on (nothing if not a self saboteur) but a surefire way to have the best sleep ever when I do convince myself to do it: dedicated no-device time + tea + journaling + stretching. Bye sheep. 
  9. Do the Desire Map
    Girls brunch + chatting about how we want to feel v. what we want to do = a pretty great way to spend a morning
  10. Volunteer 50 hours of time
    Volunteering is a time warp: time dedicated to it feels like life added instead of time spend
  11. Explore Woodstock, VT
    Step foot in this town and you'll swear you're on the set of Gilmore Girls 
  12. Share my story at Tuck Talks
    TuckTalks was a huge reason I went Tuck for my MBA so being able to share my story with the Tuck community was terrifying, thrilling, and one of the most meaningful things I did all year
  13. Salsa dance in Cuba
    Much sweatier than you'd think it would be based on Dirty Dancing Havana Nights
  14. Play the rejection game
    Ah, love. You win some, you lose some. At least I won this game?
  15. Write loves notes to my long-distance friends
    Highly recommended when sent completely out of the blue
  16. Take a big risk
    Lots of moments could have qualified for this, but the most striking was trading financial stability (something I've always valued) for a much-lower-paying summer internship in San Francisco. Pretty much all of my worst financial fears came to life over the summer - I had to take out additional loans to cover living expenses, I broke down from the financial pressure more than a few times...including once at a bachelorette party which felt like a scene directly out of Bridesmaids...and, perhaps surprisingly, I learned a lot in the process about where my "happy" really comes from. Adios meals out, hello walking to work, seeing the sun, being able to spend time with my 93 yr old grandmother on weekends, and getting back into writing. The pain of going through it was brutal, but coming out of it, I'm so grateful for what SF taught me about finances, priorities, and putting your money where your happy is.
  17. Read, "On the Map"
    Still on my bookshelf, only a 5 years after purchasing it. Re-adding to a future year
  18. Plan a trip to Patagonia
    Lesson learned: plan the trip far enough in advance so that once you finish planning it, camping options are still available
  19. Create and frame a piece of artwork
  20. Perform with a band
    Thanks Tuck for making our "making the band" dreams a reality 
  21. Curate a Spotify playlist for a friend and send it to them
    Godsend for long-distrance friendships 
  22. Complete and publish the posts I started but never finished between late 2014 and 2016:) this is the gift which keeps on giving
  23. Run a Ragnar
  24. Drink vodka in Russia
    The cheapest flights from the US to Armenia for a global class connected through Russia so a few friends and I flew out a few days early to explore St. Petersburg and Moscow. Getting the visa was nyet something I'd wish on my worst enemy but Russia itself totally made up for it.
  25. Go to a shooting range
  26. Hike a stretch of the Appalachian TrailReason 102,992 to go to Dartmouth: getting to walk the AT on a daily basis, whether it be to class, to the local pub, or up into the hills. Gosh Hanover is a treat.  
  27. Pack a "go bag" and use it 
    August 2017 went a little like this: Finish internship, take a red-eye + bus to Hanover, grab my go-bag from storage, and fly out for Tanzania the next day. Mental, but also a heck of a lot of fun.
What a year.