This has never happened before. This year I REALLY was not looking forward to my birthday. Sure, I’ve joked in the past about how I’m getting SO OLD, but I didn’t really mean it. But over the past few months as I got closer and closer to today — my 38th birthday — I panicked.
Yes, I panicked about the wrinkles and the lines and the belly bulge that just won’t go away. But I also panicked about something else — my writing goals.
I started to think of all the things that I thought I’d do before I was 30 and realized there’s a chance I won’t even accomplish these goals before I’m 40 and this left me just downright depressed.
Then I read Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. She devotes an entire chapter to this issue, to the issue that we women often dread our birthdays, not because of all the changes happening in our bodies and on our faces but because of what’s not happening in our lives. She urges us to abandon the idea that we should be further along by now. Hollis writes, “If you have a goal, that’s fantastic! I am one of the most motivated people you will ever meet, and my list of life goals is nine miles long. But I’ve learned that along with my list of goals, I have to give myself some grace.”
Hollis is a woman of faith, which is what drew me to her book in the first place, and in the book she reminds us God girls of this: “God has perfect timing, and it’s highly possible that by not being where you thought you should be, you will end up exactly where you’re meant to go.”
Then she offers a practical exercise — list out everything you’ve accomplished to date.
Every year on my birthday I make a list of things I want to do before my next birthday. And this year is no different. I’m a dreamer so I love these lists. But Hollis’ book made me remember that I’m a doer, too. No, I haven’t accomplished all I dreamed of in my 20s but I’ve done a lot nonetheless.
So before I list the 38 things I want to do while I’m 38 I’m going to list 38 things I’ve done during my 38 years on this earth.
I highly recommend you do the same on your birthday or better yet do it today!
38 Things I’ve Done During My 38 Years
- I learned at a very early age to stop trying to be in the “in crowd” and to just create a crowd of my own.
- I went to one of the top high schools in the state of Alabama and the nation.
- Knowing I wanted to travel but also knowing I came from a family with little money, as a teen, I joined extracurricular activities that would give me the opportunity to visit nearly every state in the country.
- I got a scholarship to go to college.
- I went to college and graduated early.
- I got certified to teach group fitness classes.
- I’ve worked for a trucking magazine and loved it.
- I’ve worked for Health magazine.
- I’ve traveled to Puerto Rico as a broke college student.
- I’ve traveled to Nicaragua as a broke grad student.
- I’ve spent a weekend in Vancouver.
- I’ve lived in three different time zones in the same year.
- I’ve worked for the Seattle Times.
- I’ve worked for the Associated Press.
- I got a master’s degree from UC Berkeley.
- I taught poetry and communications classes at UC Berkeley.
- I made a long distance relationship work.
- I married my best friend.
- I’ve seen my byline in national magazines.
- I’ve seen my byline in USA Today.
- I’ve seen my byline on the front page of a major city newspaper.
- I’ve interviewed celebrities.
- I’ve had my poetry, my essays, and my short stories published in books and literary journals.
- I got a job teaching at my high school alma mater.
- I was a contributor to WBHM, Birmingham’s NPR station.
- I landed my own column for a weekly newspaper in Louisville, Kentucky.
- I landed my own column in B-Metro magazine.
- I landed my own column in Birmingham magazine.
- I gave a TED Talk.
- I received the SMART Award from The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham.
- I’ve raised thousands of dollars for The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham.
- I received the Top 40 Under 40 Award from the Birmingham Business Journal.
- I received the Women Who Shape the State Award from Alabama Media Group.
- I was honored as one of Birmingham’s “Women Who Inspire” by Girls on the Run.
- I’ve inspired dozens of girls and women to embrace feminism and even more to write and live lives worth writing about.
- I’ve run a half marathon – twice.
- I started my own business.
- I was brave enough to get help for my depression and anxiety and brave enough to write about it so others would get help, too.
Now here’s what I plan to do this year…
38 for 38: 38 Things I Want to Do While I’m 38
- Attend the Church of the Highlands Marriage Conference.
- Lead a church small group again.
- See my byline in at least one of my favorite national magazines.
- Write for at least one of my favorite websites.
- Get a piece of writing published in Nelle.
- Speak at the Southern Christian Writers Conference.
- Go to at least one live pro wrestling event in 2019.
- Self-publish a book or get a book deal.
- Start a podcast or YouTube channel.
- Get a BhamWiki page.
- Take See Jane Write to the next level.
- Take my freelance writing career to the next level.
- Collaborate with one of my favorite brands.
- Collaborate with one of my favorite bloggers.
- Collaborate with one of my favorite writers.
- Reach 10,000 Instagram followers.
FINALLYredesign my websites. FINALLYlearn how to do my own makeup. FINALLYbuild a wardrobe that I love.
- Go to New Orleans with my husband again.
- Eat 10 tacos at Taco Libre 2019. (Yes, this is an actual life goal.)
- Read a poem at a Magic City Poetry Festival open mic.
- Get a new passport.
- Spend a day at the beach.
- Reach my goal weight.
- Attend CEO Yeah.
- Attend the Church of the Highlands Women’s Conference.
- Raise $400 for DISCO. (You can help here.)
- Raise $1,000 for The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham.
- Host a fabulous and fun 40th birthday party for my husband.
- Get serious about becoming fluent in American Sign Language.
- Host a BIG See Jane Write event.
- Host a See Jane Write meetup outside of Birmingham.
- Pay down my debt.
- Buy a new car.
- Run my third half marathon.
- Read 24 books in 2019.
- Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Dubai.
Be sure to follow me on Instagram @seejavaciawrite to see me do all these things and more!