22h30. The time I checked-in for the flight and started writing this article.
India. The country where I would be celebrating my 30th birthday alone. It’s worth mentioning that I also started my 29th birthday on what I like to describe as a “self-discovery” journey in the Camino de santiago alone. Well not alone since I spent most of my actual birthday with a guy which I married in my head and which, to my dismay, turned out to be gay. But you see the point.
So I ended my 29th year just like I started it. On a journey to either greatness or boredom… Santiago was amazing so what would it be this time?
This year has passed by so fast and I think that from the moment I started my list time just flew by.
Oh yes the list. The 30 for 30 list. Nothing original. Just a way I found to make my 30th birthday special, different. So I made a list of 30 things which I would have to do before my 30th birthday.
It started in a very organized way. I had a list of ‘things to do’ next to a calendar and I was supposed to do one thing every single weekend, but as the saying goes “people plan, god laughs”. Due to a knee surgery and the move to Dubai the list has had to be adjusted. A couple of times but the core items remained.
I was once asked why post pictures of my 30 for 30 on Facebook. I first thought “I’m not doing anything that should be hidden so why not share it with my Facebook friends”? To be honest that was not really the reason.
First, it was, from a shallow perspective, because I wanted people to get interested and even invested in whatever I would do next. But mostly, the fact that I had started posting this on Facebook would force me to go through with it. If I had stopped halfway those who were paying attention would notice that I started this and wasn’t able to finish.
To be honest that’s what this list was all about. Commitment. Commit to something and stick to it. Go from start to finish. We are in an era where it’s easy to quit something if it gets too hard, diets (guilty), gym (also guilty), relationships (I would say jobs but I guess bills need to be paid)… So I wanted to prove to myself that I could commit to something long term – I started in October and crossed the last item off the list on my 30th birthday – and finished it.
My list wasn’t about blowing people’s minds or impressing them nor was it about showing-off certain aspects of my life. Certain items were quite boring to be honest – clean up my wardrobe?? – not special at all – the movies??
My list was about doing things that I have always wanted to do and never brought myself to do it – climb the Clérigos or try a yoga class – or things that I had been meaning to do for a long while but kept postponing – make banana bread or watch la vita è bella – or yet things that I love doing but hadn’t in ages like karaoke. Of course there were also some easy ones for the weekends where I felt like doing nothing and was like “screw the list” and there were some amazing ones like traveling to India.
I was actually told by a person that my list sucked ! I remember the exact words. I was quite offended truth be told but I didn’t know what to reply in that precise moment. Afterwards I told myself that I didn’t do the list to impress this person. Or any other person for that matter. I did the list for me. To impress me. To surpass me. I made a list of 30 things that I had to achieve and I actually made it! I think that’s something I should at least be proud of!
The list didn’t make me special or stronger or whatever. But I certainly feel like my 29th year was much more interesting because of it. Surely, if it weren’t for the list, I wouldn’t have done most of the things that were on it.