Two weeks ago I went for dinner with a friend. We had agreed at the beginning of the year that we would make a conscious effort to see more of each other in 2013 as we realized that 2012 had passed us both by without us having time to pause and take stock. We naturally drunk a large quantity of wine and had a wonderful time, giggling, gossiping, venting our respective frustrations, and reflecting on how far we’d come together over the past fourteen years. We recalled the moment that we made a list with three of our friends at the age of eighteen of thirty things that we wanted to do before we hit thirty. It was a joint effort with contributions from each of us, some of which were frivolous; some of which we’ve already achieved. With several exceptions, we agreed that there were probably few things on the old list that were really relevant to our lives now, and agreed with one of our other friends after our dinner to make new, individual lists.

It has been a source of great fun and has brought us even closer together as we have laughed, cried (with laughter) and started to build exciting plans for our future over the past two weeks. It has also made me realize how truly blessed I am to have such wonderful and vivacious friends – friends that have inspired and sustained me as I have grown up. My mum told me when I was on the cusp of adulthood that she had always felt reassured by how mature, headstrong and resilient my friends were, and by how we seemed to fuel each other. We all have a lot to be proud of; we’ve each made lives for ourselves using the materials that we’ve had at hand, we’ve struggled through difficult situations and have all experienced grief, love and happiness. Above all, we’ve made some incredible memories – memories that beat any ephemeral mementos – and we’ve made them together and apart. We’ve been able to harness the support of each other throughout all of this and we’ve come so far as to make our primary ‘list’ virtually redundant.

As the first week drew to a close, the girls had already completed their lists. I was sadly lagging. Of course, I had been tempted to fill my list with ludicrous and off the wall fantasies as I had the first time round, but this time I knew that I had to take it (semi) seriously. Usually so impetuous, and keen to get going on a project immediately (I wrote the first post for this blog several weeks before the blog was even up and running!), I came to appreciate the importance of taking my time and making a list that really expressed what I wanted to achieve in my life (and try to squeeze in before I hit the big three-zero.) After a few deletions, insertions and revisions, it’s finally complete, and I’m fairly happy with it. The list that you see here is only a sample of the full list – only my girls get to see the complete thirty – but I wanted to let you in on my plan:

1) Run a marathon
2) Work and live in America
3) Go to Haiti
4) Publish a book
5) Have an amazing all-girls holiday
6) Take part in a protest
8) Sing live with my guitar
9) Ride a motorbike
11) Have a small home-run craft business
12) Learn how to use a sewing machine and make my own clothes
13) Buy myself an incredibly expensive designer dress
17) Start writing a book about my life
18) Learn to speak Italian
20) Go to Thailand
21) Spend Christmas serving food to the homeless
22) Be able to bring all our families together in one place at Christmas
23) See the sun rise and set again in a beautiful place
25) Drink absinthe
26) Organise a vintage party (and perhaps establish a regular event)
27) Learn how to swing-jive with Julian
28) Learn some practical skills (putting up shelves, sawing a plank of wood)
29) Graduate as a doctor
30) Get married in a magical and memorable place in the company of all my friends and family

If we’re still here together, ‘on our feet’, by the time I’m 30, you can check in with me to see if I made it. It may be a little ambitious, but I’d like to think that I can. Come on, future; show me what you’ve got! (I dare you…)

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