Be you. So perfectly.

 

When I first stumbled upon this quote, I silently screamed to myself, “yes, hell yes!” Then I shared it with anyone that would listen. And honestly, no one seemed nearly as excited.

But more than a year later, I’m still silently screaming my excitement. Be yourself. Love yourself. And who cares about anyone else? Because if they’re judging you and not embracing your full, beautiful, fantastic self, why the hell do you want to be around them anyway?

Move on and keep doing you as you were born to do.

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Hello reader. How are you today?

Why do I write here, for all to see? Why not just keep a personal journal of my experiences?

My aim is to share and hopefully inspire. To find others who feel a passion for living outside the normal. To encourage others to forgo the expected. There is so much life to live outside the four walls of work and home. We’re so connected, yet so disconnected at the same time. Put down the phone, step away from the TV. Get outside, breathe in some mountain air. Look at the stars. Learn something new. Talk to strangers and really listen to what they’re saying. It will feel good, I promise.

These aspirations are easy to forget, routine is so much easier to slip into. Break it with me. I will hold you accountable if you do the same for me.

I am also writing to my future self. To promote a lifetime of setting goals and really going for them. And not just until I’m 30. This is not my last hurrah, this is just the beginning.

Life is an adventure.

I can be such a hypocrite sometimes. Here I am, constantly preaching to seize the day and try new experiences and absolutely love life and what am I doing? Working 12 hour days and sitting on the couch on my days off because I’m “so tired” and “stressed”.

No, no, no. I know life is what you make it and your personal attitude is the most important factor.

So it’s time to abandon this new-found negativity and get back to the roots of who I truly am. It’s time to once again start asking “why not?” and to make this the most amazing life possible.

Bah Humbug.

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My neighbor’s decorations were pretty on point this year.

So it’s December and the Christmas season is in full swing.

Why do I feel like Christmas was just here? I want to watch movies and decorate the tree and go see lights and fall head first into the Christmas spirit. I really do, but it’s just not exciting me.

I think it’s because this past year has been kind of a blur. Big things have happened, both good and bad, and it really flew by. So really I’m just not quite ready for another Christmas.

I’m also probably holding back from embracing it because to me, Christmas day has always been about waking up at my grandparents’ house. In 27 years, I have only missed one Christmas there, opening presents while my Grandma watched, then watching her open hers and my Granddad open his. This year, it’s to Grandma’s house and Granddad’s not going to be there. And I’m just not too sure how to handle that.

It’s really temping to just go on a trip for Christmas, but I can’t do that to my Grandma.

Starting this week, I’m going to try to throw myself into the holiday spirit. The hope is to come out full of happiness rather than fake smiles. I should probably start my shopping too. Might be a Christmas Eve kind of thing this year.

30 Before 30

“Every man dies – Not every man really lives.” – William Ross

So to jump start my why not? experience, I’m making a list of 30 things to do before I turn 30. Yes, it’s cliche. But yes, it will work.

I have felt a little lost this last year. I went from being a positive, breathe in deeply every moment because you don’t know when it’s your last kind of girl to one that was working and drinking her life away. It’s time to get back on track and start truly living again.

The result of this list, I hope, is the resurgence of a life full of adventure.

In no particular order, by the way.

1. Run a 10k.

I have run a few fun 5ks and a 4-miler, but I still don’t consider myself much of a runner. I’m so not ready for a marathon or even a half, but a 10k, I think I could do.

2. Cook a really great meal for a group of good friends.

I love to cook for myself. But I love to cook even more for friends. Sharing food is sharing love and I think hosting a dinner party would be an amazing, memorable night. Plus I got a really cute pink and black apron for Christmas that I need to show off!

3. Go to a rave.

This shit doesn’t really fly after 30. I want to get it out of my system. No drugs necessary, just fun.

4. Get a job outside of a restaurant!

This is the big goal after the holidays. Restaurants have been fun and the money is good, but I’m ready for a more fulfilling job. I graduated college, might as well use some of that education.

5. Go on a trip with my mom.

We’ve done a couple mini trips, but I don’t feel like we’ve ever done a true vacation. Maybe the one for her 50th birthday to Virginia Beach counts, but it was only 30 minutes away from home. So I’d like to go out of state at least, if I couldn’t convince her to get out of the country.

6. Ride in a hot air balloon.

This is an ultimate wish. As long as I can afford it, this is happening this year.

7. Go whitewater rafting.

Never done it, never really thought much about doing it, but I know it would be a freaking blast. I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie.

8. Take a surfing class.

I’ve almost always lived near the ocean. Now that I don’t, it might be a little more difficult to take a surfing class, but considering it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, I’m keeping it on the list.

9. Visit New York City.

Cliche? Maybe. But why not? Especially at Christmas time, it would be so fun to get wrapped up in all the tourist traps. Also, have you ever seen the movie Serendipity? Frozen hot chocolate for me please!

10. Take a spontaneous trip.

Yes, yes! Let’s pack our bags and book a flight. Or point to a place on the map. I may be up for doing this one solo, but I haven’t really decided yet.

11. Go rock climbing.

At a gym or outdoors, this is one to broaden my fitness interests. I’ve climbed the rock walls at fairs, but I want to try it for real.

12. See the Grand Canyon.

Speaking of rock climbing…I want to venture west and see the beautiful creation that is the Grand Canyon.

13. Go vegetarian for 21 days.

This will probably be relatively easy for me. I often go without eating meat, especially when I cook my own meals. But I’d like to make a conscious effort to eat completely vegetarian for a specific number of days.

14. Horseback riding on the beach.

Outer Banks. Horseback riding. It’s happening.

15. Get another meaningful tattoo.

I got my first when I turned 25. I’ve had two others in mind for awhile. It’s time to sit down with an artist and plan out at least one of them.

16. Go to brunch with a fun group of girls.

Who doesn’t love brunch? Give me some waffles, mimosas, and laughter – I’m a happy girl.

17. Go to the cherry blossom festival in DC.

Tried to plan it one year and failed. Let’s try again.

18. Spend an afternoon completely unplugged, reading, writing, and relaxing in a “fancy” coffee shop.

We as a society find ourselves on the go, go, go. I want to take time to just sit and watch and relax.

19. Stomp grapes to make wine.

Wineries in Ohio? Oh yes! Look it up. Actually, I did it for you. The date hasn’t been announced for 2016, but I have my eye on going to the 53rd Geneva Grape Jamboree.

20. Cook an entire cookbook. Cook 300 Pinterest recipes.

This seems like quite the undertaking, but I’m down. Just have to pick a fun cookbook. This seems less like an undertaking. Most of the new recipes I cook are from Pinterest, but there have definitely been some recipes just sitting there, begging to be tried, since I created my account. Time to tackle them! Also, I really couldn’t find a cookbook I loved enough to stick to my original plan.

21. Be single and enjoy it.

I’m that girl that has always gone from relationship to relationship without taking time to really be with myself. After 12 or so years, it’s time.

22. Take a pinup style photo.

I want to feel sexy and beautiful and have an absolutely stunning photo to look back on one day.

23. Take a fitness class.

I’ve been a little bit of a gym rat. I’ve done Insanity, the running routines. I want to try something a different – perhaps Zumba or pole dancing.

24. Hike Old Rag mountain in Virginia.

Being from Hampton, VA, the mountains were always a short drive away. Many of my friends have talked about how amazing this hike is and I’ve always been jealous. Now I want to do it. Preferably to see the sunrise.

25. Create a family recipe book.

Mom and Grandma aren’t going to be around forever to call for recipes. I want to make sure I have them to make for my kids one day.

26. Take a cooking class. Or pottery class. Or glass blowing class.

Pretty much, just get creative. Do something different for a night out.

27. Be in two places at once.

Again, I know it’s cliche. But so are “30 Before 30” lists, aren’t they?

28. Do a polar plunge.

I’m a freeze baby. But if it’s for a good cause and it gets me out of my comfort zone, why not?

29. Start a blog and stick with it.

I am a writer. I always have been and though I lost it for some time, I know it’s still there deep down. It’s time to jump in head first and see what comes of a project I’m completely committed to.

30. Cross country road trip.

This is the one I’m most nervous about putting on the list. But it’s one I really want to do. And if it doesn’t happen before children, well it will certainly be a little more difficult once they’re around, won’t it? Time to make it happen now!