Turning 30: A bucket list of sorts
I haven’t went sky-diving, gotten tattooed, driven from one side of the U.S. to the other, or done most of the other things that are on a person’s bucket list.
I never actually made a bucket list, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t accomplished anything. I have done things that I’m proud of, things that were scary, things that were notable, and things that have made me the person I am today.
Today, I’m 30. And here is a list of 30 things that I’ve done in my first 30 years …
- I owned my first computer at the age of eight (a hand-me-down beast of a laptop with a black and blue screen) and it only had three functions: word-processing, Wheel of Fortune, and Jeopardy. I played Jeopardy so often that I memorized all of the answers and whooped the butt of any adult I played against.
- I have been building websites since the days of Angelfire, and I’ve taught myself a lot — and improved a lot — since the days of learning basic HTML. I love computers. I respect what they do, and I’m fascinated by their possibilities. I sometimes think I should have taken computer science instead of journalism, but I don’t follow rules very well.
- I won a public speaking award in junior high and I can say the alphabet backwards really fast, but I’m pretty sure I can’t pronounce “bagel” (bay-gull) without sounding like a Maritimer no matter how hard I try.
- I spent years as Jennifer Aniston’s biggest fan (maybe I still am?) and wrote more than 50 fan-fiction episodes of Friends. Yes, they’re mostly terrible. No, you can’t read them. But I taught myself a lot about writing dialogue, so it was a useful exercise in the end.
- I ran for Member of the Legislative Assembly — something that I had no particular interest in, but seemed like a good idea at the time (i.e. an editor talked me into it). I got a lot of publicity, lost spectacularly, and still have one of my campaign signs somewhere in the basement.
- I spent my first year of university reading works by some of the world’s best thinkers (Plato, Descartes, Nietzsche, Darwin, and Freud), and I’ve also read every single Babysitters Club book at least five or six times. I have an enormous collection of tween-lit and it’s honestly my favourite thing to read.
- I turned my university car into a work of art with paint, fabric, a ton of glitter, and an army of bobble-headed dogs and cats from the Dollar Store. I put a mannequin named Rachel in the backseat, and she liked to freak people out. When she broke down beyond repair, I had her crushed into a cube because I couldn’t stand the idea of anyone else driving around in her. RIP Trixie.
- I graduated from university with a Bachelor of Journalism (Honours) degree, where I got good grades except for in my two (mandatory) history courses — the only Ds I’ll ever have, unfortunately. I loved my journalism courses, but the rest of university felt like I was just slogging through essays and readings that didn’t interest me. I couldn’t wait to start working, and I still maintain that it’s much more enjoyable than going to school — although I’m very glad I went!
- My first job out of university was as Listings Editor/Entertainment Reporter at the best newspaper in the world. Sometimes people don’t realize how lucky they are until something’s over, but I knew the whole time: I was lucky to work there.
- While at the Daily News, I got to review concerts and interview celebrities (most notably Hilary Duff). I got to eat pizza with Ben Mulroney, who was so charming I think I almost proposed. I got to cover major events, like the Juno Awards, where I met Fergie backstage in a hallway and shook her hand. It was warm and dry, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t supposed to be talking to her at all.
- I married my high school sweetheart, my best friend, and the most handsome rugby player you’ve ever seen. I like to think we bring out the best in each other, and there’s no one in the world I’d rather hang out with.
- We defied convention and got married in the drive-thru of A Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, while sitting in a Corvette convertible, with an employee named Missy as our only witness. Our reception was at In’N’Out Burger, and cost $11.83. We rode the roller coaster and then took a drive through the dessert. It was the best day.
- I drove an ATV through the mountains of Alaska under the midnight sun. I was terrified every time I went downhill, convinced I was going to fly off the front. I went whitewater-rafting in Denali, Alaska. Again, I was pretty sure I was going to die. Whenever our guide would yell to hang on, I dove into the centre of the raft so I wouldn’t fall out. I discovered I am a huge chicken, but I had fun anyway.
- I wrote a young adult novel and began the process of pitching publishers. But I feel like my writing has grown up a lot since then, so I’m working on a new book now. I will get it published, somehow, for sure.
- I have went on every roller coaster at Canada’s Wonderland, Hollywood Studios, and the Magic Kingdom. But I don’t think I like roller coasters anymore. They make my head hurt and I feel nauseated afterwards. So I think I’m done them? Maybe?
- I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy son in 2010. I was terrified to have a son, because I feared that little boys were nothing but grubby sweatpant-wearing, bug-collecting sports-fans. He turned my world upside-down and showed me that little boys are sweet, smart, interesting people. His kindness and enthusiasm for life have made me a better person.
- I moved outside of the city I’d lived in my entire life, because I knew there would be a better life for me and my family there (and there was). We live in a small town now, and I love it dearly. It feels right for us to be here.
- I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy daughter in 2012. I was terrified to have a daughter, because I’d already figured out boys and girls were surely going to be scary, tantrum-y, high-maintenance divas. She has filled my life with sparkles and glitter, and while I suspect we will have a knack for driving each other crazy, her spunk and personality have made me a better person.
- I lost 65 lbs. after the birth of my daughter by following Weight Watchers, and I’m now wearing clothes I wouldn’t have fit into since high school. I still love fast food and potato chips, but we see less of each other now.
- I have been fortunate enough to breastfeed both of my children. It was hard as hell both times, in the beginning, but I’m stubborn enough to have suffered through it until it was second nature.
- Along the same lines, I saved more than $2,000 by cloth-diapering both of my children. It can be a disgusting thing to do sometimes, but it’s worth it for the savings. Plus, those fluffy butts are so cute.
- I have built a successful freelance writing career that allows me to stay at home with my young children and still make an income. I have great clients, my writing appears in newspapers and magazines across the Maritimes, and I get to keep up with the laundry in between interviews. I love being my own boss, although she never lets me cut out early or take long breaks.
- I feel like I haven’t traveled much, especially compared to a lot of my (young, double-income-no-kids) Facebook friends, but I have done a bit. I’ve stood on the top of the Empire State Building, ridden the London Eye, walked the shores of Loch Lomond, rode roller coasters in Florida, strolled the Vegas Strip, and explored the wilderness of Alaska. I have been to New York City six times, and it’s my favourite place to visit. I love walking fast, and it’s the only place I’ve been where the pace suits me perfectly.
- I have seen three Broadway shows, as well as watched many of my favourite artists/bands perform live, including Hilary Duff, the Backstreet Boys, Avril Lavigne, the Goo Goo Dolls, and the Spice Girls (yes, I’m a tween for life). But I have yet to see NKOTB, Jewel, or Taylor Swift — maybe by the time I’m 40?
- I am a recovering Picky Eater who has now tried lobster, sour cream, pickles, Jalepenos, and lots of other foods I never thought I would try. Now I’m not sure what the big deal is about trying new things, except I can tell you that I’ll never be a fan of peas. Never.
- I have an amazing extended family. I have friendships with wonderful people from every stage of my life — from elementary school up to my current life as a mom — and I have accepted that I will never be popular. I don’t want to be, either. Having a select group of close friends is perfect.
- I have a beautiful home. We’ve worked hard on decorating it and making it our own, and there’s something to be said for making the place that you spend 99% of your life (in my case) into a haven. I have also organized the place so that there isn’t so much as a safety pin that I couldn’t tell you its exact location. I love my label-maker. I have organized my linen closet with plastic bins so everything is in perfect order. I have framed, printed labels above each garbage can and recycling bin. People sometimes think I’m crazy for this, but it makes me happy.
- I have built an impressive collection of well-loved Barbies, and I believe in playing with them — not leaving them in pristine condition in the boxes. My dream job would be the person who dresses, styles, and poses the Barbies before photographing them. If anyone knows how I can get into that field, please let me know.
- I have never tried drugs, I have never been pulled over for speeding or other traffic offenses, and I have never drank enough alcohol to get hungover. I have smoked about five cigarettes, but I haven’t inhaled more than once because OMG YOUR LUNGS and the coughing! I once smoked a piece of rolled-up newspaper because I thought it would be pretty much the same as a cigarette — and it was!
- The day before I turned 30, I did something I’ve always wanted to do and started a hobby business selling toddler dresses and other handmade goodies: Lottie & Dex Designs. Part of me thinks I’m insane for taking on another project, but I’m excited to be able to put my stuff out there. It feels like something I’m meant to do — and, like everything else I’ve listed here, it’s just who I am.
Thanks for reading!