I’ve been told that I have so many stories to be so young. I’ve looked to several other bucket lists for things to do before I’m thirty and quickly came to the realization that, “been there done that” is a straight up mood.
Observations like this is why I no longer participate in games of Never Have I Ever because I’m an adventurer within its own right. Throwing my hands up I gave up on everyone else’s list and decided to focus on the opposite because reflection is always great. Visiting the past is about growth and experience, living there is not recommended. I can’t believe 30 is two months away!
1.Live in another City
That one time I almost moved to California but it wasn’t for the right reasons and the price wasn’t right. A few years after that I found myself in Queens, NY and Texas before moving back to Pittsburgh. I loved New York’s public transit. In fact, coming from there to Pittsburgh immediately made me realize I needed a car here.
I also loved that food was always available in New York, even at 2AM from a food truck in front of the laundry mat. The only thing I didn’t like about New York was how expensive it was for such tiny apartments.
Everything is bigger in Texas including the bugs and I didn’t like how scattered everything was. 101 degree summers also proved that I was way too northeast for that.
Living in another state made me realize that I don’t need much to be content. While I was gone my entire shoe collection was destroyed in storage and most of my clothes were left unworn and I didn’t miss them. This is when I realized life is about moments and not momentos.
2.Visit the West Coast
Once upon a time I entered a Rue21 contest on Facebook because I really wanted the shopping spree. Turns out when you aim for second place sometimes you get number one. That included a free trip to San Diego to meet the Lea Michelle and that free shopping spree.
There was another San Diego trip after that and then came Vegas which is always a good time. Next time I’m in Nevada though I must visit the Grand Canyon (look I found something for my list).
3.Publish Three Books
Most people take forever to publish one book. So far I’ve published four. Only three of them are currently available for purchase but I’m okay with that. Not only am I publishing my own books but I’m mentoring others to do the same. Next year I shall put out four more because, “writing keeps me sane.”
4. Get Lost in Another Country
Turns out my Spanish isn’t that terrible. I knew just enough that when I wandered around Buenos Aires I could “Donde esta” my way to the Intercontinental. It was a fun time. Would totally get lost there again. 10/10
5.Go on a Road Trip
I’m the “are we there yet,” kind of adventurer. The destination is always awesome but getting there always makes me antsy. Right after college I got laid off from my first job and I let a friend talk me into riding up to Niagara Falls.
Taking a road trip to Niagara Falls, New York was awesome even in the winter. Frozen and all, the falls are a work of art.
6. Do Something That Scares You
I do quite a few things that scare me. I’m always trying to find something to do for the first time. When I was in AmeriCorps I found myself faced with conquering a team building course and one of those was a zip line.
I’ll never forget opting for the rope ladder instead of the rock wall to get up. When I finally did get to the top I knew there was only one way down. Ziplining is so exhilarating that the last time I got to try it was in the middle of the forest when I was in Belize.
I would not recommend ziplining in flip flops and a sun dress.
7. Negotiate a Raise
My mom always told me to ask for what I want as the worst thing that could happen is a, “no.”
One year in college I had three jobs at once.
I had two on campus positions and one part time job at Giant Eagle. My work-study job as a secretary was fun but two years in I asked for a raise and was so excited to get it. My supervisor had never had anyone ask but she worked it out.
Since that moment I’ve asked for a raise on two occasions. One supervisor actually told me no and I went above her to her supervisor for a yes. Coming correct with supporting documentation to why I deserved more money was also helpful.
Know your worth and add tax. If someone doesn’t see it, move on.
8. Model in an Actual Photoshoot
Usually I take photos but being in front of the camera was a welcomed change. When I found out a group of young black women were getting together for a photoshoot promoting positivity in Pittsburgh, I had to be a part of it. The photos and the reception was beautiful.
This photoshoot was so important to me. As a kid I got picked on because kids destroy your self-confidence before they can even spell it. This was around the time I found a life hack. Embracing every quirk and flaw meant no one could use them against me.
9. Get a Car
Living in New York for even a little bit made me realize that Pittsburgh public transit wasn’t something I wanted to solely rely on. Taking two buses to work usually meant an hour and fifteen minute commute as opposed to getting in a car and sitting in traffic for forty-five minutes.
I wouldn’t wish car shopping on my worst enemy as I’m not expert at it. But I felt so proud getting into my Ford Fiesta. It was well-needed freedom and taking control of my commute.
10. Volunteer for a Great Cause
Graduating from Carlow University practically instilled volunteerism in me. I’ve started a toy drive, fed the homeless, mentored kids at the library, and even spent a summer giving back to my community through AmeriCorps.
Giving back is important to me because all it took was the right people to make a positive impression on me. Hanging out at the library every day pretty much molded me into the writer I am today.
11. Go to The Movies Alone
One summer I spent every Sunday at the movies treating myself. It took me a while to realize it but putting me first isn’t self-ish. Taking myself to the movies was fun and relaxing. The only downside was not being able to finish the popcorn by myself. Also, I was notorious for losing my car when the movie was over.
Where did I park? – Me every Sunday afternoon
12. See Day of the Dead in Mexico
My last cruise was a six day Halloween cruise through Mexico and seeing the Halloween parades was on my bucket list as I love all things culture and Halloween. The only way I will ever top that experience is if I throw my own party.
Sequin shorts are not practical. Do not do it if your thighs touch. You’ll thank me for this tidbit.
13. Celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans
This year Mardi Gras fell on my birthday and I saw it as a sign that I needed to be there. My friends pulled together and we made it happen and it was worth every penny. I got to stuff my face with the largest flavorful po’boys, catch trinkets from the parades, and enjoy the lively culture on Bourbon Street. It’s definitely a birthday I’ll never forget.
When’s the last time something you purchased made you laugh until you cried? Moments are truly the best souvenirs.
14. Go Camping
As a kid I never went camping. In fact I was a Girl Scout for a day. I remember being in the woods and the girl next to me asking me to hold her spider. I went home that day and asked that I not return. I did not hold that girl’s spider.
It wasn’t until the summer I did AmeriCorps that I went camping. The jury is still out on rather I like camping. I like the idea of it. Maybe one more time will help me decide if it’s something I would do again.
The cabins were cold, the outdoor plumbing had spiders, and there was zero cell reception. 3/10 I would not recommend. Maybe going with close friends would change my mind. Until then I’m more of a Seven Springs cabin kind of women.
Everyone knows you don’t know if you like something until you try it twice.
15. Quit A Job
Quitting is not a bad thing if you do it for the right reasons. I quit my first job because I asked for full-time hours and they objected. The second time I’ve ever quit a job was for the sake of my peace. My brief accidental life as a flight attendant wasn’t at all as rosy as I wanted/needed it to be at that time in my life so I resigned.
Quitting that first job was a no brainer. The other opportunity was a bit back and forth but ultimately my gut made the right decision for me at the time.
16. Take a Girls Only Vacation
Rather it was a vacation on a cruise or a staycation in the mountains, girls trips make for the best stories. Men may come and go but as Carrie Bradshaw once said, maybe your girlfriends are you true soul mates.
17. Go to a Music Festival
I’ve been to two weekend music festivals. Maybe the next one will be out of Pittsburgh. Music festivals have this vibe that if done right it feels like magic. Weaving through a crowd to get up, close, and personal to cool musicians is like top five in favorite experiences.
The best thing about having a music festival near my house (one year) is I didn’t have to pay for parking and I wasn’t inclined to use the outdoor bathrooms.
18. Learn to Forgive and Not Forget
Holding a grudge is exhausting and it gives the other person way too much power over you. I’ve learned that forgiving someone doesn’t mean we have to be friends. Sometimes it’s in the interest of my sanity to forgive someone that hurt me. It’s important not to forget the hurt though.
Hurt is a reminder that I’m human and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
20. Learn How to Say No without Explanation
“No” without explanation was hard for me but as I got older I realized that I didn’t have to do things I simply didn’t want to do. There are consequences of course but saying yes to everything is exhausting and you can’t help yourself if you’re helping everyone else add to your load. Rather it’s a big or small ask, practice saying no without explaining yourself.
For a while, I was really good at attaching people to my lifeboat knowing the heavier the boat gets, the likelihood of everyone sinking. This is not something to be good at unless you have a yacht.
21. Eat Really (Really) Expensive Food
My bank statement is a food diary and as long as the flavors are there, I’m willing to spend the money on it. Fine dinning isn’t an outing it’s an experience. I’m enjoying every cent I spend eating my way through Pittsburgh.
22. Find a Forever Friend
Turns out I was born with a forever friend which is awesome! I don’t remember not knowing my best friend. Her mom and my mom knew each other and apparently there’s pictures of me in the delivery room as a baby when she was born. Who knew we’d have some crazy adventures since then?
We threw an accidental party, discovered that high heels were a chore, cooking didn’t come naturally for one of us, one of us could dance better than the other, and we even travel together when we can.
Having someone that’s been there through everything, even when you’re wrong (we get it wrong a lot) is important especially in such a crazy world.
23. Find Something I’m Really Great At
It’s still up for debate if writing found me or I found it. I just know I’ve come a long way since writing fanfiction on MSN Groups B2K boards. Who knew my poems would turn to screenplays, and those plays would inspire full-length novels? I sure didn’t. I’m not a writer, it’s a part of me.
Having a passion for something in life makes nothing ever too much to deal with.
Every experience good or bad is a great writing experience.
24. Vacation at Least Twice a Year
Money can be taken away but memories are mostly forever. I set a goal to travel at least twice a year and it’s taken me to some beautiful places with great friends. Snorkeling in Costa Maya, on top of the Stratosphere in Las Vegas, and even Niagara Falls. I must say that this is the only New Year’s Resolution I’ve ever found myself keeping. Next year’s vacations are already booked and on the calendar.
Having nice shoes and clothes are nice but taking a trip somewhere you never been is much nicer.
21 year old me wouldn’t have done well with 29 year old me’s confidence. At 21 I remember thinking I would never be content and life was strange. Life still is strange but it’s when I realized that I’ll never have it one hundred percent figured out that life started coming together. I had to settle for being able to control half-ish of life and I’m okay with that.
Whoever said that your twenties were for figuring things out was completely right. What’s on your bucket list?