30 Before 30 (A Semi-Realistic List)

the style stories 30 before 30

So - and be warned, things are about to get a little self-indulgent around here - today is my birthday! I'm turning 26 (eep!) and in the interests of self-preservation and also self-progression, I've spent the last few days thinking about how quickly time has passed and how, in what will likely feel like a blur, four years will soon pass by and suddenly I'll wake up and be 30. Who do I want to be when I'm 30?! 

So I've had a little (massive) think about all of things I want to do, and despite these kinds of posts being more relevant when you're, say, turning 29, I thought I'd give myself some real challenges and set realistic boundaries - some of these things might just take the next four years to achieve. Here's to 2021!

1. Start a newsletter

This one is actually on my 2017 resolutions, but it's something I just don't feel like will be doable this year - it's just not something I've given much thought to. But I would really love to make this part of 'what I do' so it will happen at some point, I'm sure.

2. Learn floristry

I love the idea of this; I dabbled in floristry in my teenage years and while I really enjoyed it, it was something I never got the opportunity to explore. I'd love to take a course and learn to make beautiful arrangements - and learn about flowers and plants too.

3. Become the sort of person who goes to yoga

I've always been pretty bendy (lol), and a recent fear that's crept up on me is that I'll turn 30 and won't be able to touch my toes anymore. I really want to get into yoga and build my strength and flexibility as like a long-term investment into my own body.

4. Go to ballet class

This is pretty similar to the above, but again, I just really want to improve my core strength - and if I get to wear blush pink while I do it, all the better.

5. Become eloquent in conversational French

My French is, admittedly, not too shabby - it certainly gets us through when we're there. But my aim is to take it beyond passable and become fluent enough that I can hold a conversation. There are some conversational language classes here in Edinburgh, so maybe after a couple more months with Duolingo, I can take the plunge!

6. Finish my book

This is a bit earnest. I have 'finish my book' on a resolutions list every single year, and it's not happened yet. But my real long-held dream is to write a book, and it's about a third of the way there - I just need to get my head down and spend the next couple of years finishing and fine-tuning it. I would love to have it published by the time I turn 30!

7. Learn to drive

Yep, I'm one of those who never bothered when they turned 17. Given the option between staying at home and learning to drive, or moving out and into the city, I packed my bags and have never lived outside of a city centre since. So there's been no real need, but it's something I feel like I want to learn now - just in case.

8. Go to New York

Can you believe we've never been?! I would say that it would be a dreamy way to spend my 30th birthday, but I hope to visit long before then...

9. Eat-aly

Or, visit Italy, and basically eat my way around the country. It's another place I've never visited (sob) and would love to travel to. My Pinterest boards are filled with Milanese cathedrals, coloured houses and beautiful beaches - and gelato too. Obvs.

10. Get a tattoo

I'm admittedly a ditherer on this, but I hope that in the next couple of years, I can settle on a design for long enough to get it inked. At the moment, I love the idea of something floral and delicate, somewhere like my ribcage or the side of my torso.

11. Learn to 'treat yo'self' (i.e. go to the spa more often)

It's been two whole years since I went to a spa. How ridiculous. My problem is that it feels like such an indulgence, I can't often justify it - even when I have the money. I'd like to learn to adopt a more 'yolo' attitude and book in for a facial or a massage when I really fancy it.

12. Visit more UK cities - especially in the north

In terms of visiting UK cities, I've not done badly - I can tick most of the big southern ones off my list, and all of the big Scottish ones. However, I've only ever visited Leeds when it comes to northern England, and even that was just for one day. I'd like to see more!

13. Live in Paris

This has been something I've dreamed about since I was sixteen, and I've never been able to let it go. I don't know how it would be doable - we'd have to rent out our flat and I'd have to convince work to give me a sabbatical - but I would love to live the Parisian lifestyle, even just for a few months.

14. Do a US road trip

This is something Lewis and I have talked about lots, and I know it would be on his bucket list too. It just sounds so cool!

15. Learn to code (properly)

I'm not bad with the old HTML, and I build websites for clients as part of my job, but I'd really love to properly learn to code - I feel like it would be such a good skill to have.

16. Live more minimally

Or in other words, Konmari the living daylights out of my flat. Even after a mass clearout, it still feels like there's stuff everywhere. I dream of a pared-back, Scandinavian kind of look to our home and so I need to learn how to throw stuff away!

17. Build a proper grooming routine

In an ideal world, I'd be one of those women who has her hairdresser, waxer, manicurist and masseuse on speed-dial, with regular appointments always pencilled in. But I'm not, so that needs to change - grooming would just be so much easier if I got someone else to do it for me, and I'm pretty sure the results would be better too.

18. Learn calligraphy

This is another one of those skills that isn't necessarily useful, but who says everything has to be practical? I love writing, so why not learn to write beautifully?!

19. Go to Disneyland!

Excuse me, my inner five-year-old escaped then. But I'd definitely like to tick this off my list - I've never been and I know I would just adore it.

20. Improve skill (and confidence) at swimming

I've never, ever been a good swimmer, and I just brush it off - even when it means missing out on fun things with friends. It's gone on for so long that my confidence to try isn't there either, but I'd really love to learn - how can I go scuba diving in the Maldives (one day, lol) if I can't swim?!

21. Get some stamps in my passport

This, admittedly, might be easier than I first thought if Brexit gets its way... but I've never travelled outside of Europe and I'd love to start filling up all of those blank pages with adventures.

22. Get back into music

And by that, I mean writing and performing it. It used to be such a massive part of my life, so it feels really strange now to think that it's been years since I wrote a song or got up on a stage to sing it. I'd really love to change this and make it a much larger part of my life again.

23. Write a children's book

This is separate to my other book-writing endeavour. I've just felt for a long time that I could actually be pretty good at writing for children - whether that be a story or even poetry. I have a few ideas bubbling away that I'd really like to come to fruition. 

24. Discover more of Scotland

Without a car, this is pretty tricky - so I guess I need to learn to drive first. There's just so much of this beautiful country I haven't seen yet, so it's a real must for me.

25. Learn how to say no

I'm really not very good at this. I don't like being seen as being difficult, which often means I don't stick up for myself or I just go along with something that I'm not entirely happy with. I am learning that the better thing to do is to say what needs to be said to make sure that everyone, including myself, is happy. It's all about compromise guys - or just flat-out saying no if needs be.

26. Climb something big

It's a bit of a running joke that I don't 'do' uphill walking. I will walk for hours on a flat surface, but as soon as it involves a hill, I get incredibly stroppy. Unfortunately for me, living in Edinburgh and living in Scotland means being surrounded by hills and mountains, and living with a Scot means there's always someone who wants to climb one of them. I would really like to develop some patience and learn how to climb something of a decent size - no mountains though, I've not taken leave of my senses. 

27. Learn to ski

Growing up in the southeast of England, skiing was never particularly high on the agenda. However, all of my friends and my partner all grew up in the Scottish Highlands, where skiing was very much one of those things that everybody does. So while I've never been anywhere near a pair of skis in my lifetime, they're all jumping off slopes and mountains, and enjoying weekends away in fancy French resorts. I'd love to be able to join them - a skiing holiday sounds like entirely my cup of tea, as long as I actually like skiing, of course.

28. Make an investment purchase

This kind of falls into the whole 'treat yo'self' thing back up that way, but in a different kind of way. I've never owned anything really special, especially in the bags department, and I feel like almost everyone I know has a Mulberry, a Chloe or even a Gucci lurking in their closets. Now that we've (almost!) bought a flat, I'd like to set aside some savings for something a little more frivolous, and treat myself to an investment handbag. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking either this one, this one or maybe even this one...

29. Commit to playing an instrument

In case you didn't know, I went to music school, and studied music at university too. My voice was my primary instrument, and I sailed my way through every year of my course playing piano or guitar at a supremely juvenile level. I'd really love to actually commit to being *genuinely good* at one or the other (probably not both) and make all those years of lessons pay off.

30. Get back into sewing (and learn how to knit)

A few years ago, I got really into sewing and took a dressmaking course, and I wasn't too shabby at it. But after a couple of crazy years, it's taken a backseat and it's been a couple of years since I hauled my sewing machine out. I'd like to get back into it, and I'd also love to learn how to knit, and make myself some gorgeous chunky scarves and blankets for the house. 

And there we have it, my official (and hopefully pretty achievable) 30 before 30 list. It's a good thing I have four years to tick them all off the list...!