So many people write these posts or make these lists a few years in advance of milestone birthdays then make themselves feel like crap trying to accomplish un-acommplishable things by the time they reach that age. I think getting down on ourselves for being “ordinary” is destructive and unproductive. I have no interest in making myself feel bad next Tuesday for all the things I have not accomplished in 30 years on this earth, nor am I going to set forth to make myself feel bad about things I won’t accomplish between now and 40.
I’m extraordinary simply because I’m Audra, but I’ve done some cool stuff in my life too, so instead of enumerate a list of things I want to do by 30 or goals I have for the years between now and 40, I’d like to list 30 things I’m proud of having accomplished by the time I reached the age of 30. Please note that none of these things was undertaken with the goal of doing it before this particular age because that’s arbitrary anyway. Please also note that, while some will seem totally ordinary to you, each one was and is significant and extraordinary to me. These are also not in chronological order.
1. Staying alive immediately after being born. (Yes, there was a slight fear/danger that I wouldn’t. It’s nice that I did.)
2. Getting scuba-certified and then diving the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
3. Traveling. Traveling, traveling, traveling. To date, I’ve been to more than half of the states, and 7 countries outside the States.
4. Raising a dog to at least 8 years of age. Soren and I became adults together. It’s a wonder either of us is still alive.
5. Learning the French language (though not fluent).
6. Falling in love with baseball (this was a close one; almost made it to 30 without finding out how wonderful this game is).
7. Graduating from a liberal arts university with a bachelor’s degree.
8. Accepting Jesus Christ as my savior.
9. Serving on a church board and learning what the innerworkings of church actually are.
10. Achieving a job as an editor, which actually happens to be within the scope of what my degree is in.
11. Winning multiple spelling bees in elementary school, and failing miserably in the first round of one in college (habiliments will haunt me to my grave).
12. Writing 2/3 of a novel during NaNoWriMo; no, I didn’t finish, but neither would I have ever started if not for that exercise.
13. Owning my first home.
14. Owning (and paying off) my first car.
15. Running my first (second, third, and fourth) half marathons.
16. Running my first full marathon.
17. Working to become the type of editor others can respect and rely on for good and accurate work.
18. Breaking a couple of bones (luckily, I got this over with early in life and haven’t broken a single one since I turned 2).
19. Riding a motorcycle (it was okay; not that great).
20. Attending 42 MLB games over the course of only one season.
21. Managing to see 7 MLB stadiums in only three years of fandom (okay, fine; I saw the White Sox in Chicago long before I was a baseball fan – but it still counts, and 7 out of 30 ain’t bad!).
22. Reading Gone with the Wind in its entirety no fewer than four times.
23. Learning that beauty comes in many forms, and believing those who tell me I’m beautiful when they say it.
24. Riding the best roller coasters at Cedar Point.
25. Figuring out that I’ll never be the kindest, wisest, funniest, or most generous person there is yet not letting that discourage me from trying to be the best Audra there is.
26. Becoming a person who fights for equality, both for myself and for others.
27. Co-hosting a Royals podcast.
28. Becoming a pretty decentish writer, on the good days.
29. Accepting my changing and aging body for what it is, and not begrudging it for succumbing to gravity.
30. Falling in love with and promising to marry the kindest, generousest, thoughtfulest, consideratest, ambitiousest, bravest, strongest, funniest, beardedest, handsomest, committedest, optimistickest, fun-havingest person I’ve ever known.
I’m proud of myself and the life I’ve lived and the person I’ve become in these last thirty years. I haven’t been happy for the full thirty years, but I’m currently the best and most joyful and most-at-peace Audra I’ve ever been, and I hope there is an even better Audra on the horizon because I’ve certainly got plenty of flaws left to work on (and I’m sure my marriage will help me find them more quickly than I otherwise might!).
Here’s to the next thirty years. I won’t be able to do them alone. I haven’t done the first thirty alone. Many of you who read this blog (and many more who don’t) have been faithful friends and mentors and confidantes, both near and far, both IRL and cyber, and I hope some of you will join me for the adventures that lie ahead.