Andrea is on a quest to check off a bucket list of items in her 29th year. You can read more about her adventures at her blog, Thirty-Things.
Today is my half birthday. It seems fitting that it falls on a Wednesday since that is the day of the week that I write my column for you, dear Gloss readers. I have six months left of my twenties and I can’t help feeling that it will be gone before I know it. Twenty-nine almost feels like a fake age somehow, a gray area, neither here nor there. I’m not technically thirty but I don’t so much feel like I’m in my twenties any longer either.
I’ve accomplished a lot of the big items on my list. I spent a month in Argentina where I learned to speak Spanish and dance the tango. I made amends with a friend I thought might be long lost to me. I’ve danced in the street (and really everywhere else) and thrown a fake bachelorette party.
I’ve also done some major revaluating along the way. I’ve thought a lot about what kind of work life I want and found an awesome situation. And I’ve pushed myself to make peace with my body both a woman and as an athlete as I take it into its fourth decade on earth. These slightly more abstract list items are a work in progress but I’ve made big strides in the past six months.
I’m about halfway through my list in total. Among other things I still need to dress up like a drag queen, ask a stranger on date, throw a fancy dinner party, watch a sunrise, play a prank and accept a dare (suggestions? Leave them in the comments!).
Like many of us, I’m often better at having big ideas than executing them and this list has been one big, ambitious idea. In the meantime I’ve still had to work and deal with my life as it unfolds. We had a big family drama that sucked the life out of me for a while and made me more inclined to hide under my bed than to go out and seize the day. I’ll admit that I’ve felt some fatigue with the project but sitting here today reflecting on where the project has taken me, I feel revived and ready to continue.
A younger but very wise friend told me the other day that being brave isn’t about not being afraid, but about being afraid and doing it anyway. This is crucial to keep in mind. Afraid to go for the dream job/ guy/ whatever? Fine. Be afraid! But do it anyway. I’ve tried my best throughout this process not to let fear hold me back and I’ve found it gets easier little by little. And really, what fun would it be to be fearless? You wouldn’t get the thrill of conquering your fear if you didn’t have any to begin with.
By far the most ambitious item on my list is to get a book deal for one of my novels. I’ve dreamed of being a published author since I was a little girl. Thirty seemed a mythical and far off age then, a time when I would surely be published and also generally have my life figured out in all of the ways that mattered.
As a grown up I work in the book industry, so I know better than anyone how much has changed since I was youngster who left yellow legal pads all over her parents’ house with poems and stories scrawled on them. With the advent of e-books and the decline of traditional publishing, I’ve had to wrap my head around the fact that my lifelong ambition might not look exactly how I dreamed it would. That doesn’t mean I have to let it go.
When I think about what’s really important to me as a writer, it’s having readers. All of the rest is just window dressing. Sooner or later as an artist, you have to take a risk and get your work out there.
Stay tuned this Friday for more on this.