For the past little while, I’ve noticed that a blog post from 2012, 25 Life Goals from a 25 Year Old, has been getting a lot of viewership. I don’t know the reason for this, because I also don’t fully understand how the internet works. Either way, I thought I’d revisit these goals, written a little over three years ago, to see which ones I’m sticking to, which ones I think are completely bonkers (or don’t make sense), and any new goals I have.
Reading a three-year old post was delightful and entertaining. These goals are definitely the ones of a young, optimistic person. There’s nothing wrong with them, but many of them seem a little too hippy-dippy for my current state. Some also seem crafted and written specifically for a blog post, instead of realistic, true goals. Again, nothing wrong with that, but if I had written this today, I would have surely used different language.
Something I’ve realized in the three years since I turned 25 is that life is magical and ever-evolving. After turning 25, I experienced a life crisis of sorts. In college, 25 seemed so old. I expected to have everything figured out by 25 and that I would basically be a billionaire living on the ocean in an exotic country or something. Since turning 25, I’ve adjusted my worldview and come to understand that life is often a slow burn (in a good way) and that things take time. Also, I’ve realized that age is just a number. Sure, there are certain things that I should be doing by 28–like saying thank you, or doing things I want to do, and a handful of other things on this list–but most of these are just general being-a-decent-person life goals. I set these goals at 25 as a reminder to myself to take ownership of my life, and that mindset is still just as prevalent today. So, in a way, they’re life goals from my 25-year-old self that I can stick to and adapt and mold for as long as I want.
1. Find ways to work on my anxiety. I’ve developed a lot of anxiety over the past year (thanks, fractured leg), and I’m trying to find ways to reign it in.
2. Get out of my apartment and stop wasting time. I waste so much time, especially when school is out for the summer.
3. Never get tired of my surroundings. DC is a great city, and I never want to feel like I’m just “tolerating” it.
4. Don’t underestimate or undervalue myself. I’ve had a revelation of sorts lately where I realized the reason why I hardly ever spoke in any of my classes as a student was because I was underestimating myself, not the other way around. I’m learning to value my voice more, as well as my own opinion, and finding ways to more thoughtfully engage in conversations.
5. Write write write write write!!!
The Original List:
1. Write thank you cards. Say thank you.
I’ve done okay on this one. I usually remember to send thank you cards, and try to always say thank you when I feel genuinely thankful for someone’s help, advice, you name it.
2. Take a moment to calm down when overly emotional. Re-consider your thoughts.
Eh. What can I say? It’s that quarter-Italian in me. My brain has this funny way of going into overdrive when I have something interesting to say, or I’m trying to make it point, and takes over my calm, rational side.
3. Never make decisions when you’re emotional.
Again, I’ve done so-so on this one. I’m pretty impulsive by nature and when I realize I need to do something, I want to do it RIGHT AWAY! But, I have gotten more practical about my decision making, usually allowing things to sit before completely deciding.
4. Read books for pleasure.
Yes! It’s a slow process, but I have done this one. When I made this goal, I was in the middle of my first year of my MFA, which required a total of 20 books per semester for the lit classes I was taking. Ah! The back-to-back reading turned me into a very, very slow reader, as I wanted to be sure I wasn’t missing anything potentially important while reading. Let me tell you, that’s not a fun way to read. I’ve been working on bouncing back from that. I have little time to read during the school year because I’m up to my ears in papers to grade, but I’ve managed to read The Secret History, The Girl on the Train, and Station Eleven, and I loved all of them. Just finished Everything I Never Told You, which was amazing. AH-MAZE-ING. This book will stick with me for a while. Do yourself a favor and add it to your reading list now.
5. Open your windows. Go outside.
This one seems kind of silly, but I am trying to do this instead of lounging on my couch all day…which has happened a lot, unfortunately. BUT I’m finally running outside again, post-leg injury (knock on wood). I also take advantage of the apartment’s pool, as well as walking to the grocery store instead of driving. Even though it’s blazing hot, it’s nice to get outside. Plus, I have huge windows which make my apartment feel luxurious.
6. Stop making excuses.
Eh. I’ve gotten better at this, but I still come up with the excuses in my mind, even if I don’t use them. Since I’m sort of anxious/shy by nature, I’ll often think of reasons not to do something, even if it’s just meeting friends for a drink. BUT I will say that I didn’t use my broken leg as an excuse to not grade my classes, other than for the day I was actually in the hospital.
7. Allow yourself to have free time, even if it’s 10 minutes of coffee in the morning, 2 minutes to play Scramble with Friends, or a date with your boyfriend to watch Titanic. Don’t laugh—Rahul and I totally did this the other night.
Free time is my best friend. I probably take too much advantage of it. How else am I going to watch all of my favorite TV shows constantly?
8. Celebrate something at least once a day, if not more.
This is hard to track. I am trying to get better about focusing on things I DO do during the day–cue Chandler Bing–instead of things I haven’t done. Doing this helps cut my anxiety and also helps me enjoy my days a little more.
9. Catch up with a different friend once a week.
THIS IS SO HARD and I’m also really bad at it. I’m the queen of texting, but suck at phone calls. I’ve kept up with friends, but it’s more sporadic than scheduled, which is actually fine with me.
10. Keep your attitude in check, always. Be intentional in what you say.
I’m good about this when talking with my students, but sometimes bad when talking to friends or family. Working on it!
11.Listen to others. Take notes. Remember.
Again, another one that is so-so. I definitely haven’t taken notes (come on, 25 year old Katherine), but I do try to be a conscious, observant listener.
12. Don’t be scared of confrontation, when necessary.
Hmm. If I was making this last now, I would change it to “Don’t be scared to hold your ground.” I definitely struggle with this in my teaching–at my core, I want to help each student be their best, but I’ve had to acknowledge and understand that it sometimes just doesn’t work that way.
13. When you make a mistake, never, ever blame it on someone else.
I’m pretty good at this. I had a teacher in college that would never take the blame for mistakes he made (i.e., we would put something in the newspaper because he said we could, and then go back on his word, etc), so I vowed to never be like this because it’s so disrespectful and wishy-washy.
14. Laugh at yourself.
Um, yeah. All the time.
15. Do things YOU want to do.
Also all the time. Stay tuned for my coffee shop series to see an example of this!
16. Don’t say sorry when it’s not your fault, and do say sorry when it is.
This is a hard one, especially since I say sorry all the time for stupid reasons.
What? As in get engaged? Okay, yeah, I did that. : )
18. Talk to strangers, or someone you wish to get to know better.
HAHA! I’m definitely the type to have few, close friends, instead of a 1,000 friends. Of those people, I try to ENGAGE and get to know them better. I definitely don’t talk to strangers. This was definitely written by optimistic Katherine.
19. Do things that remind you of what you love in the world.
I really try to stick to this, especially living near such an awesome city! Since writing this blog, I’ve traveled to some beautiful places (India, Paris, London, New Orleans, Provincetown, just to name a few), which definitely reminds me what I love in this world. Visiting and doing things in DC allows me to take advantage and enjoy a city I love, even if it’s just driving to the Trader Joe’s on U Street.
20. Try new things. My recent fascination: baking and cake decorating. Sorry, Mary Beth, but I’m probably going to ask to use your kitchen a lot this summer.
Mary Beth, do you remember if this happened? I don’t know. BUT I did get into a serious baking frenzy after moving to my new apartment. My masterpiece is banana chocolate chip bread.
21. Don’t bullshit. Ever.
I’m pretty good with this, but this is also so broad. Don’t bullshit about what? I’m not sure what I was thinking here.
22. Embrace who you are, even if you sometimes don’t like who you are.
OH BOY. I’ve had some ups and downs in the past three years. I’ve had many moments where I didn’t like myself, and many moments where I did. However, I think that’s natural for most people. Regardless, I am working on embracing the parts of me that are inherent, and changing the things I can change.
23. Tell people what you think of them at every chance you get, whether it’s “You’re a rockstar” or “I appreciate you” or “You inspire me” or “I love you.”
I do try to do this! If it’s my students, I let them know when they’ve done good work. I tell my family and Rahul how much they mean to me and how much I love them constantly (so they don’t forget, haha). When someone helps me out, I try to say thank you or that I’m appreciative.
24. Don’t waste a day with a bad mood. Find things to cheer you up.
I wish I knew what this video was, but the account has been deleted! oops. But I do try to do this, although when I get in a REALLY bad mood, it’s hard for me to come out. Usually it’s because I’m freakin’ stubborn and want to sulk.
And an extra one because I have problems with limits (even when they’re my own):
Don’t complain about things you can control. This is a MAJOR one to remember for me as of late.
OH MY GOSH, I still struggle with this SO MUCH. The kid taking too much time at the water fountain, the traffic on the way to school, you name it. I’ve really tried to work on these things and let these complaints go, because, when I do, I feel lighter and happier. But sometimes I just want to be mad at the world.