So, I’ve been 28 for… what? 5 days now? I was right not to be scared about getting older. Turns out, I’m the same person I was 6 days ago. Phew!
Originally, when my birthday was still approaching, I was considering writing a 29 Before 29 list or a 30 Before 30 list. Based on the number of these lists I see on other blogs, it’s easy to assume I’m not the only person who sometimes feels like OMG I’m X years old and I haven’t done this, that or the other yet! And I want to do this, that and the other. I really do. But there’s two problems with these lists: 1) it gives you a deadline that you may not be able to meet (and not meeting deadlines makes me feel like a terrible person), and 2) it holds you back from living your life.
How does writing a list of things you want to do hold you back from living your life?
Let’s use the last year as an example. Not even a year ago, I was living in Victoria, working for the government, and craving a big change only I didn’t know in what form. I used to daydream my days and nights away. When I was supposed to be doing homework, I’d be searching the web for inspiration, coming up with new business ideas and writing down lists of actionable steps to take. And, to be honest, I wrote a couple 30 Before 30 lists too. Then one day I accepted a dream job offer in Toronto and 19 days later I was living there. See? Life moves fast (if you let it).
None of that was on my 30 Before 30 list. Ok, living in Toronto was. But my list didn’t include: quit job with a pension, move across the country twice in one year, live in Vancouver, etc. You know what it included? Learn how to change car engine oil. I kid you not. Why would I have written that down? And why do some of you have it on your lists too? (I don’t think I came up with that one on my own!) Is this a skill we need to have before we turn 30? Maybe. But I don’t want that to be a goal of mine. If I want to learn how to change my oil, I can ask my dad to show me. Anytime. No appointment necessary.
That’s where the saying yes part comes in.
If you’ve ever worked with me or looked inside my purse, you’ll know that I’m a list maker. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing but, along with a busy schedule, my days and weeks were once so mapped out that there was literally no room for spontaneity. My to-do lists would grow but I couldn’t find the time to cross anything off and I got so stressed out that I started quitting things altogether. That made me sad, which made me feel depressed, which made me want to be alone, which resulted in me spending too many weekends holed up in my apartment watching marathons of crappy TV shows. My lists, and the expectations I set for myself with them, didn’t inspire me. They unmotivated me.
Since saying yes to a new job, saying yes to moving across the country, saying yes to moving a second time and so on, I have realized that saying yes isn’t always easy – making decisions in the moment never is. But it opens so many more doors than saying no, I wish or maybe next time. If I thought about it for 15 minutes, I’m sure I could easily come up with a 30 Before 30 list right now. There are some awesome lists on other blogs full of things I would definitely add to mine. Go to Europe? Yes, please. Get a new tattoo? Sorry Dad, it’ll probably happen. But if 27 taught me anything it’s that you can’t plan too far ahead. I want there to be room in my schedule to say yes. So, that’s my goal for 28.
This year, I’m going to say yes to:
- meeting new people
- travelling to new places (and going solo)
- finding ways to have fun without booze
- wanting whipped cream on my latte (just because)
- all the workout requests that come my way
- doing things that matter
- living the life I want
- my body, whenever it needs a rest
- my heart, whenever I feel good about something
- my decisions, before I second-guess myself
Obviously, there’s one limitation to this (other than the fact that I do not have an endless cash flow to do everything all at once). Last year, I learned how important it is to trust your gut. So, 28 will be the year I say yes to everything that comes my way, as long as my gut feels ok about it. That doesn’t mean I’m going to let fear hold me back; your gut instincts are different than fear. And I’m also not going to jump off a cliff because someone tells me to, or do/buy whatever I want and put it all on my credit card again. But when something is presented to me and I want to do it, or I even think I can do it, I’m going to say yes.
When was the last time you said yes to something you’d normally say no to?
PS – If it feels like I haven’t been talking about money much here lately, you’re right – I haven’t been. In August, my budget will finally have room for me to save a little more than I am right now. You can expect a good breakdown of the savings goals I have and how I’m going to make them happen, soon!