33 Before 33

I have a bad habit of getting myself into long-term, big-scale projects. Often. I’ve never been one for new year’s resolutions, but there is something about having a yearly or daily project (or hell, just one that’s numbered) that motivates me like nothing else. This quirk is why I have completed four years of Project 365 (whining about it heartily by the end), and probably a little bit of why Project Life appeals to me so much. I have a weakness (or compulsion) when it comes to neatly stacked, numbered lists, and even when I need a break, I can’t seem to stay away from this style of project for very long. So after a few years off, I decided it was time to bring back the birthday to do list, last seen when I was 29 with my 30 Before 30 list.

Having these lists to guide me as I approach a new year has been such a great thing; I really think that if you strike the right balance of silly, small things and big, maybe scary things and things you’ve always wanted to do but just never got around to, it’s a recipe for a really great year. I have done some really fun things thanks to these years of lists, and sometimes I just need a list to push me that extra inch toward a goal. So I’m bringing back the list, with this one: 33 Before 33. In the past, I have obscured the big stuff in vagueries (“make a change” or “take a risk or two”)… but it’s not like it’s a secret to anyone (on the internet or in real life) that there are some Big Life Things that Dan and I want to get rolling on this year. Somehow, putting them on this list (and on the internet) in black and white make them feel more within reach. Less like we’re talking about some other people who are going to do adult-sounding things. If that makes any sense.

Or, the short version: I get majorly sentimental about projects and birthdays and numbered lists. And here’s the list of things I want to do while I’m 32:

  1. make a blanket that I get to keep (I made a granny square blanket for Ben)
  2. send random happy mail to friends
  3. go on one date each month with Dan
  4. host a party of some sort (dinner party, housewarming, football party) for more than 4 people
  5. shoot at least one roll of film each with the AE-1, instax, polaroid
  6. make a wedding album
  7. make wedding albums to give to our parents
  8. buy a house! (we did it!)
  9. paint a room in our new house (extra credit for stripes and/or chalkboard paint) (Ben’s room!)
  10. get a grill and use it
  11. visit the ocean (at least 5 times) (1: Cape Cod, August)
  12. walk across a bridge in NYC
  13. become a mother
  14. visit a new local brewery
  15. learn how to cook new (healthy!) meals with Dan
  16. finally own an Expedit bookshelf from Ikea
  17. get a cat!
  18. make pom poms
  19. eat at Pete and Elda’s (for my brother’s birthday in December)
  20. make quote wall art
  21. get rid of the large quantities of clothes that don’t fit
  22. crochet a giant scarf
  23. get another tattoo
  24. celebrate our first anniversary
  25. focus on today’s moments instead of worrying about tomorrow’s
  26. hang a photo gallery wall in our new place
  27. go to a Patriots game with Dan to celebrate five years since our first spark (done!)
  28. make a new dessert
  29. find awesome, reliable, go-to places to eat in our new town
  30. get a sewing machine
  31. and sew something simple
  32. make a wreath for each season (summer, fall, Christmas, winter, spring) for our front door
  33. choose hope instead of letting stress win

And in case you like to go back in time as much as I do, here are my previous birthday lists:
30 before 30
28 Things to Do While I’m 28
27 Things To Do While I’m 27

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15 thoughts on “33 Before 33

  1. I love this list. I have a birthday coming soon, and I just started my list this weekend too. I am the same as you; I need it clearly written out what I want to accomplish so that I have the motivation (and reminder) to check it off. Sometimes half the fun is being able to cross it off.

    • I’m so glad I’m not alone in this specific need to have lists like this to make me do things that I already want to do. and yes, crossing it off (and blogging it/scrapbooking it) is at least half the fun! aren’t the expedits so great? i think i’ll have a hard time choosing which one – but I have seen similar styles in other stores recently, too.

  2. PS The Expedit is my DREAM bookshelf! I am 9 hours away from an IKEA, but I am completely dreaming of a road trip to pick one up for my new office. Or ask Greg make me one that could pass the test.

  3. That’s quite an impressive list! I’ve recently started using lists on the weekends to get more things done and feel a little less lazy. I’m not very motivated to do stuff after work during the week, and I foolishly think I’ll be more inclined to do things on Saturday or Sunday. But, the lists have helped and I feel so much better when I see things crossed off. Granted they aren’t things as cool or exciting as what you have here, but you have to start somewhere :) Good luck with these!

    • thanks!! and yes, you totally have to start somewhere… and weekend lists are SO helpful. just add a few totally frivolous things to your weekend list and you’re golden :)

  4. Your lists always inspire me to make my own! This one looks especially exciting.

    I’m contemplating another Expedit bookshelf. I have one in my room at my parents’ house, but I never had the right spot for it in any apartment. We’ll see…

    • i actually pinned something a few days ago where they used the 1×4 variety as a bench which i really like. i’ve wanted one of those bookcases forEVER and granted, we have lots of bookshelves and my leaning ones are still perfectly great (although i’m not sure my dad will be too psyched about having to take them apart and then re-mount them to the wall in their 5th location ;) (and you should TOTALLY do a list!)

  5. What I love about your “XX before XX” lists is that they’re a place where numbers 18 and 13 both belong. :D

    Also, I love 33 — that’s something we should all try this year!

    (Oh, and sorry if this ends up duplicating. WordPress keeps telling me I can’t post…)

    • hahaha right? they’re getting more interesting in that way. and sometimes the silliest ones are the funnest ones. (although the house stuff made it easier to bulk up the list, for sure).

  6. love this so much! i need the opposite of #1 – i’m soooo stingy about who i give blankets too that i just keep making them for us. #13: <3. and i've never eaten at pete and elda's either!

    • thanks!! :) i actually have never made a blanket and kept it – the one granny hex blanket i made to match the orange couch in my old apartment was a contender… until i moved in with dan and the orange couch (and matching blanket) went to my parents. and pete and elda’s is pretty much the best place on earth – i used to live about 15-20 minutes away and would want to go there for every occasion (or flickr meetup) ever… but haven’t been since i moved north. and that’s totally ridiculous because it’s SO GOOD.

  7. yay!! i LOVE your lists! this one is especially happy-making. but please have a medium/large party *before* you get a cat, okay? (some of us are allergic.) and the expedit. yes. first purchase for the new house.

  8. Ahh, I love this list! Full of big and ‘small’ things and they add up to an amazing year of life! I love every one of these items. :) :) Ooh, can’t wait to read all the blog posts to come from this list! :)

    • thank you!! i think this list came together pretty well (although having it as a draft to work on/change for a month or so definitely helps). and having blog fodder is at least a tiny part of why i miss these lists for sure :)

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