thirty before thirty

On my twenty-eighth birthday, my friends gathered at Liberty Tavern, passed around my phone, and created a “thirty before thirty” list for me. Like a bucket list… but more manageable and not contingent on completion before death. My friends know me well. There were some fabulous items on my list. My friends are also goofballs, so there are some things on my list that are just not. going. to. happen. Here’s looking at you, Mile High Club.

Now my due date (aka 3-0) is just a month away, I figured I would look back and see how I did. Here’s the list in its entirety and some of the amazing experiences I had fulfilling it. Or most of it, anyway.

1. Horseback Riding. Went with my friend Donald to a horse rescue out west past Leesburg. Our guide was a grizzled ex-military guy who a serious love of his horse. Riding, I felt like I’d discovered another side of myself. I am definitely a horse person and this summer I plan to go back and volunteer with the horses.

2. Sing in public. I am strictly a car/shower singer, but Mary and Mary Margaret got me to sing karaoke in San Francisco this past summer at The Mint. This place was dinge-tastic and with the girls, I became a part of the ‘regulars’ crowd. This one chick KILLED Evanescence to the point where I wanted her to just keep singing for us. Mary’s rendition of anything jazz, to this day, gives me tingles.

3. Crow Tattoo. I tried real hard guys. Found a tattoo artist in Brasilia who came highly recommended. Unfortunately, he spent the entire World Cup traveling around Brasil following their National Team.

4. Learn to use my DSLR. This will have to rollover to my next list. I plan to start when I visit Croatia next month.

5. Baseball game. Sara and Maureen took me to a Nats game and opened my eyes to the fun that is baseball. I even got a ‘First Baseball Game’ certificate that they usually give to little kids. Have been back a to see the Nats a second time and got to see a game out in San Francisco. Not my favorite sport to watch, but the atmosphere is amazing.

6. Bourbon Trail Tennessee. This is still on the list, and will be happening within the next year. Damnit.

7. Motorcycle license. Not only did I get my license, I bought a bike! Mo. This summer, I convinced my brother to take the class with me. We had a blast and both ride now.

8. Visit Montreal International Jazz Festival. Not yet, but still a goal.

9. Mardi Gras. Having been able to swing this with my current work schedule but I’m salivating a bit just thinking about ALL THE FOOD there for the tasting.

10. SXSW. Not only did I go, I did South-By like a local. Sara and Alex bought me my armband for my twenty-ninth birthday. Spent three days trudging around Austin in the rain like a damn happy fool. Discovered MS. MR. which has become a personal favorite.

11. Run a 10k. November 2014, I ran my first post-surgery race in the Marine Corps Marathon 10K. Larry met me at the finish line with his huge professional camera and snapped just about the least flattering picture of me. The experience was incredibly motivational-running with veterans who were wounded, there was no way I was going to slow down. I felt like I owed it to every military member I’d ever served with to keep going. Of course, I couldn’t walk for a week afterwards, but it was more than worth it.

12. See Coldplay live. I think Coldplay is avoiding me.

13. Perform 10 Unassisted Pull-ups. I got to five. That’s good enough for the time being.

14. Be a Maid of Honor. One of the coolest things I’ve ever done as a friend. Never been happier for Sara and Alex. But damn, did the wedding have to be outdoors in the middle of July?

15. Drive Pacific Coast Highway. Douglas and I flew to LA and spent 8 days driving up the coast, stopping in Big Sur, San Francisco and St Helena. The most gorgeous drive I’ve ever taken, by far. But hiking the Redwoods and discovering Venge Vineyards were the highlight of that trip. Each moment was so peaceful and surreally beautiful.

16. Buy a Handgun for Oneself. Check. Proud owner of a Glock 42. It’s kind of like Mo… my size, but still could do some damage. Larry took me to his favorite gun shop and then helped me do a thorough cleaning when the trigger was a bit stiff.

17. Train Fang. I sure tried.

18. Hike the Inca Trail. Got so far as to look up guided tours but wasn’t able to make the timing work. After seeing friends’ photos of Peru, I still want to do this.

19. Jump out of a completely good airplane. Courtney badgered me for not asking her to go with me, so I guess we’ll be making that leap next summer.

20. Join a boxing gym for 1 year. No idea who put this on my list, but boxing is not really my thing. I wouldn’t mind trying out Jujitsu, however.

21. Have a Threesome. Hahahahahahah. No.

22. Swim with Sharks. This was actually a freebee. Sara and I snorkeling with some nursing sharks in Key West after high school.

23. Tight Rope Walk. Oh man, forgot about this one. I’ll need to find a place to do some acrobatics. Love the feeling of free-falling and swinging around. There is a trampoline gym I have been dying to try out.

24. Ride an Elephant. Nope. Probably will never, not sure how I feel about how the elephant are treated in these scenarios.

25. Ride a Hot Air Balloon. Think I’d rather just jump out of a plane. At least I’ll have a parachute?

26. Go Surfing. I looked for a spot out in Venice Beach in LA last summer, but the surf looked way too choppy for a beginner. Instead, I want to try paddle boarding this coming summer.

27. Join the Mile High Club. See above answer to “Have a threesome.”

28. Cook Osso Buco. I’m guessing Tarra threw this on here. Sorry, love. Haven’t done it yet, but I’m sure I will if it shows up in my Blue Apron!

29. Hike the Appalachian Trail. Have definitely hiked parts of it. In 2014, the Babilyas plus Courtney and Fang trooped out to Shenandoah on a gorgeous fall day. I watched Larry and Courtney do matching handstands on a summit and comforted Fang who was scared shitless of the view from the top.

30. Run a Half Marathon. Given my knee’s reaction to the MCM 10K, I think this is a little bit outside my reach. For now at least. I can always continue to work toward building my strength back up.

31. Participate in the Running of the Bulls. My friends are ridiculous.

32. Watch It’s a Wonderful Life. I think I missed this one. Next Christmas?

33. Guest Bartend. Also took care of this one in the war zone. My name is carved into the ceiling above the bar.

34. Sleep under the stars. Sleep under the stairs. My friends are creepy. While I’ve never been camping, I did technically fall asleep on a pool chair in Atlanta on a layover to Brasil. Thanks, Scott for not leaving me there overnight.

35. Go Fishing. Hmm, don’t think I could. Hate to watch anything suffer. Nearly drove off the road trying to avoid a crossing possum last night.

36. Sip Malbec in Mendoza. This is so awesome and I should have visited Maureen in Argentina to make it happen. One. I love wine. Specifically Malbec. Two. At one point in 2013, I tried very hard to go live in Buenos Aires.

37. Play with Penguins in Antarctica. Ditto to the above. I saw photos of Rhonda and Maureen running a race in Antarctica. Those ladies are BOSS.

38. Run the La Champenoise Drinking Half Marathon. Just the thought of this is making me queasy.

39. See the Northern Lights (with Sara). Sara, when are we going to Alaska??

40. Ride a Tandem Bicycle. Who are you people? A mental image of me riding a tandem bike, with literally anyone, is beyond hilarious.

41. Snowboard Naked. There are two problems with this. One, I prefer skiing by far. And two, hahahahahahah. No.

42. Tomato Fight at Pamplona. I was actually going to do this last year! And then my travel buddy wasn’t able to get away for it. What a bummer. I was really looking forward to pelting total strangers with tomatoes. Who wouldn’t want to do that??

Ok, so looking back… my friends also cannot count. Thirty! I said-thirty-people! Each time I crossed something off my list, I felt this serious sense of accomplishment. Not only that, I had friends with me each step of the way. I loved sharing the silly, the awe-inspiring, the excitement with the people who had all of this adventure in mind for me. When I figure out what I want my next set of life goals to be, I’ll be sure to include you guys. Even whoever put the threesome on my list. But don’t get any ideas.


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