30 Before 30,  Personal Stories

On My 30th Birthday: The Conclusion of 30 Before 30

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Time flies when you’re busy flying all the time…

I’ve jokingly said that many times in the past few years. As humans, our brains have a strange concept of time: the more we’ve had of it, the less we are able to grasp it. When we’re young, time crawls by in slow, boring summer afternoons and exams during class. As we age, it slips by faster and faster until years – and even decades – seem to flash before our eyes. We get caught up in the day-to-day but let the days fly by.

We are, in short, shit at appreciating the time we have.

I don’t like feeling like a slave to time. I want my life to be meaningful – and to be aware of that meaning.

In November 2014, I set myself 30 goals. At the time, they were important goals in my mind. My 30 Before 30 goals stretched across three main areas of my life: travel, business (this blog), and my personal life. My general idea was to try and achieve these goals in the 30 months before I turned 30, hence the ’30 Before 30′ name.

Now, just like I worried would happen, time has slipped by and my 30th birthday has come and gone (last Sunday!). It’s time to look back on my goals, and see how far I’ve come. What did I accomplish? Which goals did I fail to accomplish? What did I learn?

30 Before 30 Goals and Conclusion

Before jumping in, here are my other 30 Before 30 posts:

30 Before 30 Goals Accomplished:

  1. Get an article published in an outside publication, online. I was published in Lonely Planet on December 3, 2014. [Business] 
  2. Purchase a new digital camera. I bought a new digital camera on December 8, 2014. I sold that same camera earlier this year before we started traveling full time. [Business]
  3. Have someone outside of my family pay for one of my canvas prints. I shipped my first canvas print on January 22, 2015. Thanks again, Wendy! [Business]
  4. Cross 5,000 Twitter Followers. I crossed 5k followers on March 9, 2015, and haven’t looked back. We’re now 6,700 strong and counting! If you have Twitter, join me there[Business]
  5. Buy a really, really nice set of sheets. Mr. Valise bought me a set of Brooklinen sheets for my 30th birthday. While I didn’t buy them myself, they are very nice, and a wonderful gift. [Personal]
  6. Get an article published in an outside publication, in print. I haven’t yet seen a copy, but I was a contributor for the July/August issue of Northwest Travel & Life. I contributed to their Alaska department with a small story about Denali. [Business]
  7. Swim in the Mediterranean Sea. Finally! After a trip to Barcelona in 2013 when the water was too cold, I jumped into the Mediterranean in August of this year, on my Greek sailing trip with A Dot in the Blue. [Travel]
  8. Spend at least one month living abroad in the same place. I spent an entire month living with Mr. Valise in Dubrovnik, Croatia, earlier this year. We talk about it all the time – it was a wonderful living-abroad experience! [Travel]
  9. Have 500+ email subscribers. As of my third blogiversary last month, I now have over 600 subscribers. Thanks, everyone! [Business]
  10. Take a Caribbean Cruise. With my friend Marissa from Postcards to Seattle, I sailed in the Caribbean in March/early April. She invited me as her guest without realizing this would help me accomplish one of my goals! [Travel]
  11. Pay off all my credit card debt and pay down the rest of my car. I paid off my last credit card on April 15, 2017! I’m now working hard to kill my student loan debt… maybe by the time I turn 40. [Personal]
  12. Plan & execute the ultimate destination 30th birthday party. This morning, Mr. Valise and I returned from LA, where I spent the day at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to celebrate my birthday. It wasn’t my original plan, but it was a great Plan B, and I won’t forget how much fun and magic I enjoyed. [Personal]

30 Before 30 Goals and Conclusion

30 Before 30 Goals Unfinished:

As the math suggests, I was unable to finish the following 18 goals:

  1. Finish the ‘Around the World’ calendar: Cairo, Moscow, Athens, Sydney, Tokyo, New York
  2. See Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog’s Day
  3. Scale a wall of the Grand Canyon
  4. Hike Symphony Lakes Trail (Alaska)
  5. Bike to Eklutna Glacier (Alaska)
  6. Go swimming with dolphins
  7. Visit Africa
  8. Have my photography displayed in a gallery
  9. Run a print ad in a magazine for the site
  10. Purchase a new computer for work/travel
  11. Run my personal Seattle 10K route.
  12. Re-run my personal London 10k route
  13. Begin writing a book of short stories, memoirs, etc.
  14. Become a dual-citizen with Croatia
  15. Become intermediate to proficiently fluent in a foreign language
  16. Sell one of my canvas paintings
  17. Invest >$1000 in a new professional & travel wardrobe
  18. Begin a long-term brand partnership (>1 year)

Did I Fail My 30 Before 30 Challenge?

You might think, given my 40% success rate, I’d consider my 30 Before 30 challenge a failure. I didn’t even accomplish half of my goals.

Actually, I feel the opposite.

If I hadn’t set my 30 Before 30 goals, I may never have accomplished those 12 goals that I did accomplish.

Goal-setting isn’t about 100% success – it’s about cultivating your mindset to try and work toward the goals on a regular basis. It helped me drive decisions I might never have made, accept trips and opportunities I might have passed on, and work to better myself and my business (my blog – and you, my readers!).

Yes, I failed to accomplish 18 goals. But I did accomplish 12 goals, and I’m proud of those experiences. I have wonderful new memories and even more ambition to keep moving forward and setting goals in my life.

30 Before 30 Goals and Conclusion

What About the Failed Goals? What Next?

Not to get ahead of myself, but I have big goal plans coming later this week – or maybe next week (one of my goals should be sticking to my editorial calendar!).

The 18 goals I failed to accomplish will – for the most part – not be on my new list of goals. These 30 Before 30 goals were set at a certain time in my life, and a certain place in my story. They aren’t as relevant or important to me anymore, or I would have accomplished them too.

Instead, they’ll be retired. They’ll go by the wayside, like many other goals I’ve set but haven’t been able to accomplish. I don’t feel bad about failing on these goals, because:
A) I set the goal in the first place, and
B) I tried to hold myself accountable.

That’s progress, not perfection, and I’m okay with that.

Stay Tuned for My Next Set of Goals…

…In the meantime, I’d love to hear if you’ve ever set goals like this, and how you did? Would you be willing to set yourself goals for the next 12 months? Share in the comments – I’d love to help support you in accomplishing your goals!

Help others discover this post too!

I was born on the East Coast and currently live in the Midwest – but my heart will always be out West. I lived for 15 years in Alaska, as well as four years each in California and Washington. I share travel resources and stories based on my personal experience and knowledge.


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