Well, it happened; I turned 30. Which means it’s crunch time. Just over a year ago, I set myself a 30 before 30 list and it was pretty ambitious. Here’s how I got on…
Visit Angkor Wat
S and I took a trip out to visit the temples at Angkor back in May 2015. It was one of the most magical things I’ve ever done in my life. I haven’t written about it properly because I got a serious case of the overwhelm, but I did write these posts (one, two) which are two of the posts I’m most proud of ever writing.
Get promoted to Senior Consultant
Yes! I achieved this in the annual promotion rounds at the beginning of 2016. I wrote about it briefly here. It’s a pretty big deal for me because there are only 4 job titles in my entire company so to make the step from one to the next is fairly huge. It also means I get more say about what I get involved in, and I just generally feel more confident about my role and ability to add value. So far, I think it’s going really well which I’m so thankful for.
Master gluten free doughnuts
I tried, I failed. In short, my yeast was too old and therefore my mixture didn’t rise. Also, because I was determined to recreate the true Krispy Kreme experience I deep fried mine and they came out so greasy. Any tips for making things absorb less fat? Or is that absolutely not the point of a deep fat fryer…?!
Join an orchestra/ensemble with Ned
Nope. I totally chickened out and failed on this one. I haven’t even properly introduced Ned on the blog; he’s my cello and one day I will write about him. However, I have met a new friend who plays the violin and she and I have agreed to get together a string quartet towards the end of the year. We’ll play in church for special occasions and such. I’m pretty excited about it, but need to seriously scrub up my skills as she’s a proper professional concert violinist. Yikes.
Transcribe FPM’s travel diaries and try to recreate his photos in the present day
So I still haven’t transcribed FPM’s diaries, like the one below which has enigmatic scrawlings like “Wartime in Mespot” and “Kala Azar work Assam”. It’s something I’d love to do one day, but at the moment I’m too sad to do it since one of the things my Dad and I loved to do was look at these things together. One day I’ll be glad to do it in memory of him, but now it’s too soon.
With that said, I did manage to recreate some of FPM’s photos from the temples of Angkor which are linked under my very first heading.
Earn my professional development qualification level 4
Yeah no. I probably could have made time for this but I chose not to. I don’t think it’s a difficult qualification, but not having it hasn’t held me back so far which doesn’t help with the whole motivation thing. I really should do it though, considering work will pay for it.
Travel to the USA
All booked! I leave for NYC a week tomorrow (eeeeeek!) and I’m in a planning frenzy. I’m working my way through where to go, what to eat (gluten free, of course), how to get around; and now I’m planning what to buy. American friends, what should I buy in your country that’s better (or just cheaper…) than anywhere else? I’m keen for all the tips. Hit me!
Oh and also there’s the small matter of the cross-USA trip we’re doing in the Autumn which will take in Chicago, Seattle and some of Alaska, too. More details here (this is the same link I just posted so don’t bother clicking both!).
Master gluten free éclairs
Yeah I think I got there with this. Not something I’d recommend for the faint hearted, but I spent one long evening right before we went to Santorini making these beauties. I miscalculated how much they were going to rise so they turned out the size of footballs, but that just meant more room for crème pâtissière 🙂 Here they are in all their glory. I made 4 giant ones in the end, which was just enough to share with my Mum and sister when we stopped by for dinner on the way to the airport. They got good reviews all round, so other than the size issue I’d say that was pretty well mastered.
Sorry for the terrible photo quality, iPhone photography is clearly not my strong point. Also, I just wanted to dive in! Can you tell from the photo just how huge this thing was??
Quit Facebook properly
Done way back last September and I couldn’t be happier about it. For me it did nothing but waste time and induce rage, and I simply couldn’t be bothered any more. The only thing it was useful for at the end was receiving event invitations, but now people just text me instead. Problem solved.
Tell my friends about my blog (eeek)
No! I’ve still wimped out of telling anyone other than 2 of my sisters, and that was nerve racking enough. I’m still working up the courage to tell my last sister. I’ll be telling one of my besties next week in preparation for our trip to NYC. You never know, maybe she’ll consent to appearing in a post or two. I hope so! I don’t know why I find this so hard. Can anyone else relate??
Get my teeth fixed
This is currently in progress! I wrote about my first 72 hours with my incognito braces here, and if teeth are your thing then check back here over the weekend because I’ve got another update for you, post first tightening. Thrilling stuff. Here’s a sneak peek:
Sidenote: I went blonder for summer!
Make new friends in our new town
I mean the kind of friends you can call up and say hey, what are you doing this evening, I’m bored, fancy hanging out? This is a weird one to categorise, but I think I’m there. Which I’m really happy about.
Go for a week with no technology after 8pm
Sort out my dang shoulder
So… Feel free to skip ahead if you don’t like extended medical chat. It’s a long ‘un. Here’s the story: after a spinal fusion 11 years ago to correct scoliosis, I am left with spontaneous pains of varying severity. Some are caused by fatigue, or sitting on a chair wrong, or lifting something too heavy; others have no obvious cause at all. Some are constant aches; some are sharp pains that come out of nowhere and vanish as quickly as they arrive. I’m making the situation sound terrible, but usually it’s quite manageable and I’ve grown very good at Pacing.
Anyway, almost 2 years ago I started getting an entirely new kind of pain which was one of the unknown onset, short sharp types. It was in my shoulder, and when it spiked it took my breath away. Last year it became really quite debilitating, so I got fed up of waiting to see if it would go away by itself and tried to go and see a doctor about it. My particular situation is so specialist that there are only a handful of surgeons who can help me. After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing I managed to join the waiting list of the one nearest me. 6 months later, I got my appointment. At this point I’d had the pain for over a year. He said he couldn’t see anything obviously wrong in my x-rays and said he’d sign me up for some physio. Well, I’m still waiting for that as well, nearly a year later. However! Here’s the good news. The pain does seem to have gone away all by itself! I get the very occasional twinge but nothing like what was going on before. So I’m reluctant to start up the surgeon/physio shenanigans again because that was such a major hassle. Therefore, I’m counting this one as done.
Condensed version: the NHS couldn’t help me, so my own body sorted out my shoulder!
Read (or listen to) 52 books in 52 weeks
I just fell short of this one. I made it to 46 and I’m ok with that. I set this target to encourage myself to read more, and I think I did, so I’m counting that as a win. I’m not about to start reading short or easy books to get my numbers up, that totally defeats the object of the exercise.
Encourage someone new to donate blood
Technically I did do this. I encouraged a new friend at church to donate blood, however I have no idea if he actually has or not. I’m going to keep trying on this one because it’s something I feel quite strongly about, transfusions having saved my life during said spinal operations I mention above. Having received a transfusion I’m now not able to donate myself, so the only way I can help out is by gently persuading others to.
Complete a photo-a-day challenge for a month (or longer, if I can!)
I’ve changed this to post a picture a day to Instagram, which I’m using to relive past travel memories and tell little stories about each one. That felt like something I was more excited about, and I’m really enjoying how it’s making me up my photography game. I’ve kept it up for 10 weeks so far, and my photos have been featured on A Beautiful Mess and Great Captures Greece which has been pretty cool.
Presents: 🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸🔸 🔱🏆Photo of the Day🏆🔱 🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹 ♠️Congratulations to @anestingnomad for this amazing capture♠️ ————————————- 📌 Location: Oia, Santorini ————————————– 🔘Selected by @dimitris.kolovos 🔘————————————– ✔️To be featured you must follow @Great.Captures.Greece and tag your original captures of our beautiful country with #Great_Captures_Greece ✔️Consider following our other hubs found at our Directory: @Great_Captures Community
A photo posted by Great Captures Greece (@great.captures.greece) on
Start a memory jar
I’m doing a photo a week book instead, which I think is a better fit for me. I’ve got a beautiful diary from Frankie magazine (link here for any Australian readers who like pretty diaries, although they also ship internationally for everyone else who likes pretty diaries) in which I’m writing the fun things I do each week and sticking in an Instax photo of said fun thing. I have the Instax Mini 70 and it’s one of the coolest thing I own. You never fail to raise a smile from the photographer or photographees with this bad boy, and it makes taking memento photos that much more fun. I’m loving this so far and I’m already enjoying looking back at past weeks.
Go to the V&A Museum
Done! I did enjoy looking around all the art from the Far East, and of course the famous chandelier in the entrance hall, but other than that I’m afraid I prefer the British Museum or the Natural History Museum. Still, I’m glad I went.
Find an exercise regime that works for me, and then stick to it
I think I’ve got to a place that’s as good as I’m going to get, to be honest. I’ve done better than I ever have before (except for my birthday month, in which I have eaten copious amounts and exercised very little). My winning regime is a combination of my Fitbit which I’m finding a great motivator, and my cross trainer which I try and use every day that I work from home. That has been hovering at around the 4 or 5 times a week, pre-birthday blow out. I’m getting back on it in June, and trying to mix in some walks and pilates as well.
Have S and my pictures taken professionally, for no particular reason
This hasn’t happened. S wasn’t that into it, which put a bit of a downer on things. I still think it would be great to have our photos taken around the pretty bits of Bedford before we move away (more on that at the end…).
Seeing as there are no pictures of S and I, here’s a pretty piece from the V&A’s Japanese collection. Much prettier.
Join a book club with strangers
No I definitely chickened out of this. Big time.
Make our wedding photo album (it’s only been 5 years…)
Can you believe I’ve still not done this??
Get my own camera and learn how to use it competently, instead of half-assing around with S’s posh camera
I’m going to say yes on this one. I bought myself my beautiful Panasonic Lumix GF7 which takes the prettiest pictures on auto, and I’ve now taught myself about ISO and aperture and shutter speed so I’m trying to take half as nice photos on manual mode. It’s a work in progress but at least I understand where I’m trying to get to!
This is me taking an ‘experimental’ shot in Santorini. You’re welcome.
Learn how to edit video clips into nice short films, and then use my new skills to make memento videos for trips, travel etc
Nope. I fell at the first hurdle which was finding decent video editing software. A lot of people swear by iMovie but I don’t have a Mac, so that’s out. Everyone is universally rude about Windows Movie Maker and I don’t want to spend a lot of time learning a new software package if it’s rubbish. Others recommend Final Cut Pro, but that’s Mac only as well. The best alternative to that seems to be Adobe Premier Pro, which is expensive. I got disheartened and stopped looking. However, I’ve just googled it again and found Filmora, which looks promising?
Get contact lenses and learn how to use them properly without freaking out
Done! Wahooo I can seeee with my eeeeeeyes! Note: a few months on and the contacts are going great. I particularly love them for travel, where before I’d be squinting up at signs in the airport and struggling to see landmarks, now everything is crystal clear. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed Istanbul so much. I could finally see things!
Watch the sunrise and sunset in Santorini
Yassss! Totally done. You can find details of my incredible birthday here.
Get a suit made for me
I achieved this in Bangkok back in 2015. I actually found it quite a stressful experience and I’m not sure I’d do it again in a hurry. I think it was something to do with confronting the reality of my strange shape (I’m not just being cute, I am a strange shape. It’s all due to my scoliosis. I just hide it well, usually.), having strangers cluster around and discuss the reality of my strange shape in the middle of a shop, and standing around a lot in strange positions while people poked me. Also it was hot and I got flustered. So…. maybe if I found somewhere that I trusted and could get to know the person making things for me I might change my mind, but unfortunately the reason I wanted a suit made for me in the first place ended up being the reason I really didn’t enjoy it.
Take a hands on course, like floristry, hairdressing, or upholstery
I hugely failed at this. I wanted to take a course at my local university which runs some pretty cool practical courses, but they were all either way too expensive, run at impossible times (2pm every Wednesday for 8 weeks? No way) or lasted a full semester. I know they’re catering for actual students for whom this is ideal, but for me it just didn’t work. I’m still keeping my eyes out for something that suits my schedule more, but with work as it is I can’t commit to anything on a regular basis.
Finally, the biggie. Figure out whether to go and live in Australia or not. And then do it.
Oh yeah. This is why I find it hard to tell people about my blog. Because most people don’t know I want to go and live in Australia, and as yet I don’t want them to. I don’t want them to worry about it, and I don’t want them to overwhelm me with advice or even kind words. I need to figure this all out myself, first.
So, overall I think I did ok. There’s a few in here that I need to take out and put into a new goals list – 40 by 40 perhaps? – and some that I’m actually not fussed I didn’t achieve. Let’s face it, if I had mastered gluten free doughnuts I’d be the size of a house by now so it’s probably a blessing I haven’t.
Have you ever done an X before X list? How did it go?