26 things to do before i turn 26…

it’s hard to believe it’s a new year already. it seems like 2013 just started. in 2013, i turned 25 – for some reason, that was a hard number to wrap my head around. 25 seems like the age that you have to become an adult – you have to get serious about things. when i look back on the years leading up to 25, i’ve realized i haven’t done many of the things that i would like to do. don’t get me wrong, i’ve had an amazing life and a lot of great experiences. i’ve done things so far in my 25 years that many people won’t ever get to do but there are so many more things that i want to do. i want to be able to look back on my life and not have any regrets or say “i wish i would’ve done more.”

so…for 2014, i’m not going to set a new year’s resolution. instead, i’m making a list of 26 things i want to do before i turn 26 on december 22, 2014. the things on this list will be a mix of practical things that i have to do and things that i really want to do that i probably wouldn’t have otherwise made time for because of some excuse or another.

26 before 26:

1. go back to school – i’m in the process of starting this already. i mail my application to PTA school tomorrow and should know by March 15th if i’ve been accepted for the new semester. it’s not exactly where i had planned to be but that is ok. i know the new direction and path is what God had planned for me.

2. go on a road trip – there are many cities around birmingham that i would like to go to but i’ve just never made the time to go. i always have some excuse…i don’t have the money or the time or someone to go with me. this year i will make the time. maybe nashville or new orleans?

3. go to a road SEC game – i’ve been to my fair share of SEC games and i absolutely LOVE spending a saturday afternoon/night at Jordan-Hare stadium. however, i’ve never been to a game in a different SEC stadium. this year, i want to change that. maybe go to a game between the hedges in athens, spend some time on the grove or head back to my second home…tuscaloosa. wherever it is, i’ll definitely be there in my blue and orange!

4. get health insurance – this is one of those practical things i have to do before my 26th birthday. it still doesn’t feel like i should be old enough to have to have my own insurance but i guess that’s the way things are. here’s to hoping i can find something that won’t break my bank account.

5. start preparing for my future – again, i don’t feel like i should be at this point in my life right now (see above). i have actually halfway started on this. i set up my first 401k a few days ago since the company i work for now offers one. i really want to look into a roth IRA this year as well. all i really know is when it is time for me to retire – i want to have prepared for it. i don’t want to struggle and worry at that point.

6. travel more – i LOVE traveling and i’ve been fortunate enough to see some of the great cities our country has to offer. this year, i want to add to that list. two cities i know i want to go to – las vegas and chicago. if i could mark a few more cities off my to-do list that would be nice too. LA, new orleans, nashville and i wouldn’t mind visiting some of my favorites…NYC, boston, philadelphia, DC. obviously, i probably won’t be able to go to all of the cities listed above but i hope to go to as many as possible.

7. see britney spears in las vegas – i can’t help it…i’ve always been a big fan of britney spears. it reminds me of a time when things were a lot easier and a whole lot less stressful. i still believe she’s one of the best of our generation.

8. get back into my own apartment – this another one of those practical things. i gave up my apartment in 2013 because i was offered an opportunity to travel with work and that was a great experience…for a few months at least. after about 3 months, i was sent back home literally a week after i packed up my apartment…all because of lies and rumors that were absolutely not true and has since turned my life upside down. now i’m trying to pick up the pieces – here’s to making things right and getting back out on my own!

9. put my passport to use – i’ve only been out of the country once…i’ve been on a cruise to the bahamas and spent a few hours on the island. while i loved going on the cruise, i want to go and see more. i’ve been close to canada twice but things just kept getting in the way and i wasn’t able to go. i want to go to our neighbors to the north and south – canada and mexico but i want to go to so many more places as well. here’s to crossing more cities/places off of my list over the next few years.

10. see justin timberlake in concert – i know, i know. my inner middle school self is excited about the possibility of seeing both britney AND justin. i’ve actually seen nsync perform before but that’s just different. justin timberlake has definitely come into his own and seeing him perform now will be a show i don’t want to miss.

11. smile more and laugh more – this is pretty self-explanatory. everyone needs more smiles and laughs in their lives and i’m no exception…especially after the year i’ve had.

12. set a workout schedule – i never worked out consistently but i’ve always tried to be active. before i moved up north, i worked out at least 2-3 times a week but since i’ve been back, i just haven’t gotten back into a routine. i don’t know if that has to do with my current living situation or what but i want to get back into a set routine.

13. have more fun – i have been told time and time again that i just “need to loosen up.” i agree, i need to learn how to have more fun. i’m very responsible, i take care of the things that need to be done and usually, by the time i do that, i “don’t have time” to do anything else or i “don’t have the money.” i want to try and stop making excuses and start actually doing things that i WANT to do instead of only doing the things that i HAVE to do.

14. learn to quit caring what people think – i’ll be the first one to admit, i care way too much about what people think of me. i try to always make everyone around me comfortable and happy without really putting myself first. i need to stop caring what other people think and just do what makes me happy.

15. learn to speak up – when something bothers me, i hardly ever say anything because i don’t like confrontation and i don’t want to make things uncomfortable. i’ve always done this and it has hurt me before in certain situations. as i get older, that’s one thing that i’m really trying to work on.

16. take more pictures – i hate taking pictures…i always feel like i look horrible in pictures. i need to just get over that. i want to have pictures to look back on and relive those memories.

17. spend more time with family – i spend a good amount of time with my mom but when it comes to other people in my family, i could definitely make some more effort. i don’t always get to see my sisters or niece and nephew as much as i would like or spend time with my aunt and uncle like i should. i know i’m not the only one that should be making this happen but i need to give some more effort on my part.

18. go somewhere special for my birthday – i’ve never really gotten to go somewhere especially for my birthday. i’ve been on several trips that were ‘for christmas’ but we happened to be there on my birthday. while that still technically counts, this year i want to make a special effort to go somewhere extra special for my birthday. everyone else in my family has been able to go somewhere especially for their birthdays…why should i not get that privilege just because my birthday is 3 days before christmas?

19. pay off some debt – pretty much everyone i know has some kind of debt that is hanging over their heads. i definitely have my own. i’ve been fortunate enough to go to school and get my bachelors degree…but that cost money. i drive a nice car…but that too cost money. i also have some credit card debt as well. i know i won’t clear all of my debt over the next year but it will be nice to pay a good bit of my non-student loan and non-auto loan debt off.

20. save more – i’ve already started on increasing my savings account for the new year. i had a pretty nice cushion before heading up north last April but because of everything that went on…both my savings account was drained and extra cost were put on my credit card. this is another area were i’m having to pick up the pieces of a very unfortunate event.

21. try not to worry and stress as much – i’ve always been a very big worrier and stress out over absolutely everything. in the new year, i hope to change this. i’m a very big believer in the fact that God will never put you through more than you can handle. even though i believe this, i need to remember this on a consistent basis. i need to remember that i don’t need to worry and stress out because God knows what is plan is and what the results will be. i just need to let the small things go.

22. do something special with mckenzie and bentley – i love my babies but unfortunately, i don’t always get spend as much time with them as i would like. i want to be that aunt that they absolutely love seeing and being around. i want them to have very special memories of things we did when they were younger. this year, i hope to start creating new memories and traditions with my two favorite little ones.

23. travel somewhere alone – i’ve never really, truly traveled alone and i want to change that this year. this particular point kinda scares me with everything that has gone on during recent years. even with those horrifying stories, i believe many wonderful experiences and memories can be made by traveling alone. traveling alone allows you to spend uninterrupted time by yourself, making choices and decisions about what you want to do. it gives you time to learn about yourself – right now, i feel like that’s something i really need.

24. read more – i love reading. but unfortunately, i always feel like i don’t have the time to read as much as i would like. there are a few series of books that i make time to read but this year, i want to find new and exciting books to get caught up in.

25. buy an investment piece of jewelry – as a 25 year old, i feel like i should own a piece of jewelry the i can grow old with and eventually pass down to my children. i have one of my nanny’s tanzanite rings and i love it. i won’t ever wear it for two reasons – one, my nanny had really small fingers and two, it’s just not the style of jewelry i wear but i love it nonetheless. it’s special to me because it was my nanny’s and she loved it and my mom wanted me to have it. i already have an eye on the piece that i want to invest in – a beautiful tanzanite ring which happens to be my favorite stone and the modern birthstone of December. i already have one tanzanite ring that i’ve had for 10+ years and love it but the new ring is a modern, 10+ year update of my current ring. i’m working hard to get this ring and i’m excited about the day i can afford it.

26. pray more – everyone could use a little more prayer in the lives. it’s always easy to pray to God when things aren’t going good or aren’t going the way you think they should go. why don’t we ever pray more when things ARE going good? i know i’m guilty of this myself. praying more and getting closer to God is a big priority for me in this new year.

i’ve got one more thing that i want to do but since i can’t do this before my 26th birthday, this is going to be a “one to grow one” wish for 2014…

27. go somewhere special for New Year’s Eve – i’ve never really, fully celebrated NYE like it should be celebrated. i came close when i celebrated NYE 2012 in biloxi but unfortunately, drama sort of overshadowed the whole celebration atmosphere. this year, i want to do it right. bring in the new year somewhere fun, somewhere special, somewhere that loves the holiday. maybe NYC, las vegas or atlantic city…wherever it is, i just want to have a good night ringing in the new year.

there is my list of things i want to accomplish and conquer for the new year. i want to travel more, spend more time with my family and get closer to God. i hope this year is the best year so far. here’s to the new memories 2014 has to offer!

UPDATE (8/23/2014): it’s now more than halfway through the year and i’ve been able to mark some things off of my list (i’ve gone through the list and actually struck through the items i’ve completed). however, after i wrote this list, i was accepted to PTA school which has changed my plans and commitments for the next year. so while i’m still working on completing as many items as i can, i may have to retry my effort next year with a similar “27 before 27 list.” but here’s to finishing as much as i can before december!

UPDATE (12/31/2014): so as i mentioned previously, i wrote this list prior to finding out that i would be going back to school so a lot of the things that i wanted to do just wasn’t possible this year. even so, i did manage to mark off 10 things from the list – i could’ve marked off a couple more but i didn’t feel like i really, fully completed the item (ex: i did do something special with bentley and mckenzie separately – but it wasn’t what i was hoping for when i made this list). i hope that i can make another list after i graduate in a few months and have more time to actually complete it! i do think this was a fun little way to focus on a couple of things that i wanted to actually do and i could see it working for me when i actually have the time and ability to pay for things/travel/etc.

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