1001 days ago today, I was sitting on a sofa thousands of miles away from where I am today. Curled up on that sofa, on a bitterly cold winter’s day in Estonia, I was compiling a list. It was a list of things I wanted to do, achieve, or experience before I turned 30, whether they were huge, important accomplishments or tiny little fun moments. And now, here I sit on the final day of my 1001.
No, I didn’t finish it. I didn’t make it to Russia (I came close this summer, but the expense and the hassle of red tape put me off and I decided I’d rather go at it from the other side when I’m back in Europe!), and I didn’t milk a cow. I didn’t drive a car on a road trip, I didn’t swim with dolphins, and I gave up on ever being able to speak Korean.
What I did do, however, was have a pretty damn amazing 1001 days. Well, OK – they weren’t all amazing. ;) But overall, it’s been a great few years! I crossed 84 things off my list of 101, and I think that’s not half bad! I tried new foods, new attitudes, and new activities. I travelled a lot and ended up living on the other side of the world, quite unexpectedly. I did good deeds and I indulged myself. I painted, wrote, played the guitar, spoke other languages, read classic novels, went to the theatre, and watched foreign films. I explored local markets in various countries, went horse riding in the Mongolian wilderness, visited a concentration camp in Poland, and went on an overnight train ride across China. I discovered I loved things I would never have tried were it not for the List, such as the thrill of cheering on my local team at a Korean baseball match, the pleasure I now get from studying geography and actually knowing where a lot of the countries are (!), and the fun of behaving like a child now and again by building a snowman or climbing a tree. I found out that really cool things can happen when you invite a random stranger out for coffee, I did volunteer work, and I pampered myself in natural hot spring baths.
Oh, and I tried teaching, as per no. 74. I think that one worked out rather well!
I’ve been freaking out about turning 30, you know. The end of my youth, the feeling that I’m meant to be sensible and organised and secure by this milestone in my life, all the things people normally panic about when they reach a something-zero. But as I write this post, and look back over all the stuff I’ve done over the past 1001 days, I don’t feel scared or sad any more. I feel positive, and even a wee bit proud of myself. I was right when I wrote that post 1001 days ago: I did arse around aimlessly for a large portion of my 20s, and I would be one depressed almost-30-year-old right now if I’d stayed in that slump, just existing but never doing… but now, as I prepare to raise that birthday glass of wine, I’m looking back and thinking Hey – I made up for it in the end! I crammed as much as I could into the tail-end of my 20s. That list was a lifesaver! And you know what? There’ll be another one very soon, full of new challenges and goals, as well as some of the old ones I haven’t given up on.
Goodbye, my sweet twenties. Chapter closed. We’ve had fun, and I’ll miss you, but now it’s time to look ahead. There’s so much more to see and do, and I’m on a roll. Bring on the thirties! I’m ready.
And anyway, life doesn’t even begin till I’m forty, so I’m told. ;)