I forgot which teacher taught me the benefits of writing down my goals. I was in elementary school. I thought it was a fun assignment. “You have long-term goals and short-term goals,” they said. “Short-term goals will be what you’d like to do very soon today, in a few days, a month, etc. whereas long-term might take longer. The assignment would be to create two lists. One of your short-term and one will be your long-term goals.

I’d like to think that’s where my goal-oriented mindset came from but it’s also quite possible that I just like lists and goals. Either way, I’ve always loved the idea of working towards something. A few years ago I wrote a list of 30 things that I wanted to do before I was 30. I made my way through and spoiler-alert, I didn’t complete everything. However, this is where maturity reminded me that life is like that and I had actually succeeded in most of the things I had wanted. Had I not had the list, I probably wouldn’t have done any of those things. Also, many things listed weren’t important to me anymore by the time I made 30. Do you have a list? Let me know! Here’s my new list (some have made it back from my previous list)

35 things I’d like to do before I’m 35

  1. Start a Scholarship Fund or Sponsor a Child a Scholarship Yearly

    I just donated recently to a child in Malawi to make sure that she gets a scholarship for a year. In countries like that, the U. S. Dollar goes a long way. Some of the family’s income is roughly $300 a year. My donation was so small that it baffles me that it’ll make such an impact. Most girls in high school simply want things like a bar of soap. They don’t have television so they don’t see the material things that Americans desire. I’d like to try helping children who are in need in my country as well. Education is super important to me. I came from a country where material things didn’t matter to me growing up.  I lived in a small village and because of my experiences it didn’t matter whether we had anything. I did wonder why others might have had more but we were genuinely happy regardless. When I made my way to the U.S. I was often reminded by my parents of how important education was. “They can never take that away from you,” said my father. I’d like to extend that aid to others in need since I also got scholarships to complete my education and it has taken me this far in life.

  2. Learn CPR

    I didn’t do this in time for my 30 things to do before I was 30 and I do regret it. I really need to implement a plan soon because I firmly believe you should learn how to do life saving things for the benefit of your loved ones or whether you’re always in groups of people. CPR could potentially save someone’s life. I need to make this a priority and hopefully I’ll be able to convince some friends to take a class with me!

  3. Volunteer at a Homeless Shelter

    I believe in feeding people. I don’t believe in handing out cash. Like I mentioned in my 30 things list, I know how it feels to not know where your next meal comes from. I also believe in giving back so if I can help out with handing out food to those who are hungry by sacrificing some time, I’m going to do that. When you don’t have to think of your next meal, and if you’re full, you think better.

  4. Boston Qualify

    Running a marathon can be a very selfish goal. As I sit here writing this list, I’ve ran 9 official marathons (have done a few others in training) and completed 6 ultramarathons (anything above 26.2 miles, the furthest I’ve gone was 50 miles). My body has shown me its ability to do these long distances however, the pressure to Boston Qualify (BQ) had never been introduced until last year. Many of the members on my running team, the Dashing Whippets, have BQed. I didn’t realize that I could have until I took all the pressure off during the NYC Marathon last year and it was much too late to make up the time despite how great I felt. My limitation from qualifying, I’ve realized, is the doubt that I have when I’m midway not my potential. It took awhile to realize that. I’m giving myself a few years to get into the mindset, train well and do what I need to do.

  5. Publish a Book

    This was also on my 30 things list. The reason why I haven’t published any of my work as yet is my hesitation to put something out there that isn’t my best… much like the reason why this blog is hardly updated. Since recently I’ve started to say fuck it, hopefully that’s enough to realize that I’ll never know if anything of mine is a best seller until I publish.

  6. Work on my #SquadGoals

    I’ve been reflecting on the importance of my adult female relationships lately. I can count how many women I trust in my life. Before I’m 35, I’d like to flourish friendships with very forward-thinking, encouraging, glass-ceiling shattering, positive feminists who will be as much of a cheerleader in my life as I would for them. And, well, probably have a squad if I need bridesmaids or something (I heard this is important).

  7. Read a book in Spanish

    I still want to read a book in Spanish even if I fail yearly to master the language. I still own the book el principito.

  8. Go to the Statue of Liberty

    I’ve lived in NYC since 2007 and never went. I know right? Let’s fix that!

  9. Throw a House Party

    Still haven’t done this. Might have to be save for next time I move or buy something.

  10. Do 25 unassisted pull-ups

    I still have the dream of heading into the gym, doing 25 unassisted pull-ups while everyone watches in awe. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ C’mon wouldn’t you find that cool?

  11. Make Friends with an A-list Celebrity

    The thing is, I already have peers who are doing some cool shit. They are celebrities to me. Social media has made everyone easily accessible but wouldn’t it be awesome if I had someone in my digital Rolodex who everyone gushes over? Call me Serena!

  12. Work on a Project with One of my Talented Friends

    I strongly believe that the best projects can come from my friends and my collaboration. After all, we went to pretty good schools you think by now we know that if we strive to work together we would dominate. I only have friends and acquaintances who are talented, creative and passionate about what they do. I respect them and adore their drive. I only hope that they find me as talented and creative with the intelligence enough to be part of their circles, and businesses, to consider me for their goals. It’s already proven that we work better when we work together. So for this goal I’d like to work on something together with one of my peers. By the way, if you’re on my friends list and you read this and you have an idea on how to make me do this—pitch it!

  13. Take another Spontaneous Trip

    I had a very humbling experience for my 30th birthday. I called it the big 30 birthday trip. I was so humbled by the amount of friends who donated and funded one of the most spontaneous trips I’ve ever had in my entire life. You can read more about it here. I’m not saying that I’ll do a trip again exactly like it but I’d love to have another experience where I did something out of the norm. Something to take me out of my comfort zone. I believe the best experiences out of life will be those that allow you to take a risk and create stories that have never been done before. I also hope that I will do it with the one I love.

  14. Visit a 7th wonder

    The classic seven wonders were: Great Pyramid of Giza. Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Statue of Zeus at Olympia. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Colossus of Rhodes. Lighthouse of Alexandria. Did you know there are so many different categories now? I’ve already seen one wonder of the industrial world (Brooklyn Bridge) however I’d like to go somewhere I have never been before and stare at what the world has provided.

  15. Speak up More/Implement the Ultimate Ways to Not Give a F*ck

    Recently I read the book The subtle art of not giving a f*ck. A summary can be read here and it definitely helped me rationalize my life. I care too much. I am an ENFP personality wise. It really bothers me that some of my project has no follow-through because of my person type and I also take a great deal to heart. So for this goal, I’d love to get into the mindset where I care less about consequences that are restricting me from finishing my project. I’d also like to get into the mindset that I can say what I need to say instead of being soft-spoken. I’m aware that I have a lot of cultural restrictions that don’t make me say enough, or just be accepting or rationalize why some others might be assholes so, I’m going to speak up more. Life is too short f*ck that s***.

  16. Train for a 70.3

    When I first met Mike, I have never met someone who did a half Iron Man. Last year I saw him compete at Syracuse 70.3 and he gave me so much advice for my first Olympic Triathlon this year at the New York City triathlon. Training for an Olympic triathlon was a challenge within itself but a 70.3 did not seem impossible when I accomplished it. Because we are both triathletes, or athletes, we know the power of having a goal. We have that support system that encourages to reach our goals. So before I’m 35, I’d love to complete a 70.3.

  17. Blog/Write at least Twice a Week

    I certainly know my restrictions. It’s not impossible to blog twice a week. There are so many dictating software—I don’t even need to type. I just find it difficult to put myself out there these days. It used to be so much easier when I was younger, full of angst and thinking the world was against me. I was emo. I had an audience. These days I’m just clearly busy sometimes… busy working on my happiness—that is. However, I’ll blog. I do have things to share and I’m sure someone learn from it.

  18. Mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

    When I was younger I realized it was so important to have adults in my life who believed in me. I am going to credit that for my successes. Many students didn’t have that option. There is a crucial age where you feel like you will amount to nothing and I would like to make sure that the upcoming generation know that they can be anything that they want to be. I also went back to my high school recently and told the students there that they could be anything that we wanted. I wanted to be an artist when I attended and I remembered that a great deal of people tried to dissuade me. I decided to ignore and just followed my dream. I also remembered that I had no resources to tell me what to do or to get where I needed to be so I’d love to Pay It Forward by sharing my knowledge with kids at that age.

  19. Start a 2nd Career

    I strongly believe that we need to be like chameleons. Nothing lasts forever. So I’d love to start a second career. Although I’m not exactly done with mine I just think that we have to constantly improve ourselves or learn different things to touch different areas of life. I’d be so shocked to see what I get into. I’m very interested in medicine now though.

  20. Campaign for Social Change

    I have a certain perspective in my life because I am in the minority (I am female, black, used to be an immigrant). With the most recent election, I realized how uninformed many people were about people in my minority groups. I’d love to set the facts straight about many of the social issues that I care about and I’d love to use my skill set to do just that. I just want to bring awareness where it’s necessary. Knowledge is power and the only way to create a society of “woke folks” is by sharing what we experience.

  21. Live Like a Minimalist

    We have too many things. All these things. Most of the world is living with the bare minimum and sadly our economy focusses on marketing in excess and all these things that we possess are not necessary. So I’d love to go back to a minimalistic life where I don’t need to have multiple trips if I ever have to move and I can live out of a suitcase.

  22. Get to my Ideal Weight

    Clearly this goal is for vanity reasons but I have an ideal weight. I believe that you always need to have goals like that, even if it’s not necessary to be healthy. It just makes me feel better and keeps me working for something. So here goes, the attempt to lose 20 pounds.

  23. Go Camping

    I am sure this is going to be under the guise of being social but I’ve never been. I failed once. After all, if I grew up that way essentially, with the bare minimum, doesn’t that count? Nonetheless, I should do that to cross it off my bucket list. I feel that at a certain age if you can afford the bed-and-breakfast, you should, but I also probably want to share some random memory with my kid.

  24. Create New Recipes and Publish Them

    I love cooking. I don’t always write down the recipes. But a lot of my followers always ask me for them. I use simple science to cook and I understand that not everyone does this. Some people are incapable of doing anything else but follow directions properly. There’s even some people who don’t even know how to boil water. It’s okay, we’re here to share knowledge and to be honest, I’d rather have seamless every night anyway. Cooking is hard not all of us are Chefs or cooks. Maybe this exercise will help me with item #5.

  25. Take a Self-Defense Class

    I think that females need to know how to defend themselves. I hate feeling vulnerable. It’s really unfortunate that we have to come to that and as people we can’t just respect each other but as a precaution I am going to take a self-defense class. Oh, this might be another social thing. If you’re a follower, or on my friendslist, would you like to do one with me? Preferably if you’re a contender for my #squadgoal

  26. Get a New Tattoo

    C’mon there had to be some frivolous goal here. I don’t need a tattoo but I’d just like to get another. Why not? After all, it’s not like I get into Dove commercials anyway—yeah they don’t take you even if your tattoos aren’t visible.

  27. Do Something Great for Some of my Followers at Least Once a Month

    I really appreciate the people who follow me online. The human interaction, the discussions and the wealth of knowledge… I really appreciate it. So, in order to give back I’d like to offer things that I can do. Usually that comes in the form of art of course.

  28. Go to a Concert

    So, I know this sounds lame but hear me out: They are loud. They are crowded. Why do people want to be around so many people? Fine. I did promise to do things out of my comfort zone so I’m going to go to another concert. I’ve been to a few, it’s just that if the offer was on the table to go to a concert or run a marathon I hadn’t trained for—I’d pick the marathon.

  29. Give a Talk or a Presentation

    Usually when it’s one on one I can share in great detail the things that I’m passionate about however I am making this my goal because I think it’s very important to share the knowledge that I do have. I shouldn’t keep everything to myself. I’m sure by giving talks and presentations I will in fact get out of my comfort zone but it probably will give me a lot of clout and credit and help my career or something like that. Or so they say.

  30. Try to Workout for at least 30 minutes Daily

    I know it doesn’t seem like this but don’t underestimate how lazy I am daily even if I train for marathons. The reason why I am going to try to work out for at least 30 minutes daily is so that I don’t do the regular-just-focused-cardio workouts that I do.

  31. Unplug Often on the Weekends

    This is going to be very difficult because I am a freelancer sometimes. However, technology might be our downfall and I don’t want any part of it… so I’d like to unplug on the weekend for mental relief. Granted that I could probably go for a run or bike or something but unplugging for a few hours, or all day, might be a great start.

  32. Get to Inbox Zero

    This means unsubscribing, deleting, clearing, just getting to 10 emails MAX. Okay that might not okay for my archive but just being free of clutter. I think this could also be under minimalist lifestyle.

  33. Take a Class in Something I have Absolutely no Idea About

    So I remember taking a microeconomics class during my senior year of college. It probably wasn’t a good idea since it affected my GPA a little bit. Now that I don’t have to worry about making it to the Dean’s List, I am going to take a class in something random that I’ve never done before. Meh, that should be easy right?

  34. Complete a DIY Project monthly

    I love making things with my hands. I am sure that this could also fall under previous item like a recipe writing, or book publishing, but I like to make things and do crafts. I’d like to do a DIY project monthly and since I want to do a minimalist lifestyle it might be sent to one of my followers.

  35. Do a Photoshoot

    So this one is very important I know it sounds very cliche, or even vain. However, I did a photoshoot when I was 25 and I really love those photos. If professionally done, especially if I have achieved my goals, it’ll be great to reflect on. It’ll mark a milestone.

Thank you for reading through and if you have a list of your own, please share it with me. Feel free to comment to let me know what you think.



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