The year was 2018. The world, for me, a young woman in Newfoundland, felt simpler. A global pandemic was only possible in television and movies, graduation felt far away, and I had just turned 21. I wrote a post that February on twowildtides called 22 Things To Do Before 22 and even though it continues to be one of our most-read posts, I kind of forgot about it after I wrote it. Read it here:
Now, the year is 2021 and I am approaching my 25th birthday. A quarter-century. That’s a lot to consider. I thought I’d revisit 21-year-old Char’s bucket list and see what I’ve accomplished, what I’ve yet to achieve, and how my ambitions have changed. And if you remember this post from when it was originally published, thank you for sticking around.
Here are 22 things I had aspired to do before I turned 22:
- Travel solo. We’re off to a good start. I did travel solo at the age of 21! I spent 4 weeks in Sri Lanka and met some incredible people along the way. You can read about my travels by searcing ‘Sri Lanka’ here on the blog, but I paticularly recommend this post, where I share my thoughts on solo travel after that trip.
- Take steps towards becoming bilingual. I never did this– I didn’t even start. I think that speaking another language has always appealed to me in a very romanticized way. And while it would open up really cool job opportunities, my brain does not do well with languages, and I just can’t imagine myself investing too much time into this. Maybe someday, maybe not.
- Work professionally in my field of study. Yes! At 21, I was still studying social work. Now, I am over a year in to a full time job that I love and I think I am really good at.
- Take more risks. In 2020, we took a huge risk when we moved across the country. Mack didn’t have a job and we had never set foot in the town we were moving to. That felt risky for sure, and we are so glad we did it.
- Speak in public. I’ve given several public speeches since setting this goal, which I am very proud of. My speeches were about mentoring and I was speaking on behalf of an organization I volunteered with. I learned that I quite like speech-writing and speaking in public and as I grow in my field of work and study, I hope to do this more often.
- Accomplish an overnight hike. Mack and I still say all the time that this is something we would like to do, and I am sure we will. I think what’s been holding us back is the mindset that we need fancy equipment to do this. And while certain equipment is necessary for safety, I know deep down that we already have most of what we need. We just need to take the leap.
- Become more financially literate. I still have so much to learn, but I have come leaps and bounds since age 21. I have a small investment portfolio that I am taking my time to learn about and grow. It’s a very empowering feeling to do this as a young woman!
- Immerse myself in a new culture. I think my month in Sri Lanka also checks this item off the list, but it certainly did not satisfy my wonders about the world. And while sometimes Alberta feels like a whole new culture compared to Newfoundland, I’m not done with cultural experiences just yet and I don’t think I ever will be.
- Go wine tasting. Check! Last Fall, I attended a wine and scotch night with my family. It was super fun and I can’t wait to do it again.
- Visit the USA. I did this too! We took a family trip to Florida in October 2018 when I was 21-years-old. We had a lovely week of sunshine and amusement park excitement. As an ode to being legal in the USA, I wrote two posts for twowildtides about Disney World for Adults: check those out here and here. We returned to the US in 2019, right before Covid hit, and visited NYC.
- Watch the sunrise at Cape Spear. I still have not done this and I wish I have. I’m too lazy in the mornings (which is something I am constantly working on) and I blame that for why I still have not accomplished this goal. Maybe on our next trip home.
- Have a conversation with someone influential. I met Prime Minister Trudeau the following year, when I was 22, which would have been a cool way to cross this off the list. But I would still say I accomplished this goal as I met some very interesting, hardworking, and influential (on a local level) people during my first social work placement, which I did at age 21. I still reflect on that time and those people as I navigate my professional career.
- Try birth photography. I don’t know why 21-year-old me wanted to do this, if I am being honest. Current me absolutely does not wish to seek out the opportunity to photograph someone’s birth. That said, if a friend or relative asked me to, I would– and I think I’d do a really good job.
- Learn to say “no.” I feel like I have come leaps and bounds in my ability to say ‘no’ in the past 3-4 years. As I’ve gotten older, I don’t feel such a strong desire to impress and please others, which is something I take pride in.
- Take more candid photos. I definitely take more candids these days, and I love them. There is so much more emotion and excitement in candid pictures. They also keep memories alive and vivid.
- Take an RV trip with friends. We’ve only done this one time, but it was a total blast and I’ll never forget it. My friends and I took our buddy’s RV to Trout River, NL and had a grand weekend of camping, drinking, and playing yard games. We also took a boat tour, which I wrote about here.
- Have professional photos taken. I did not do this until about two months ago, when Mack and I had our engagement session. The photos are exactly what I had dreamed up and set out to accomplish and our photographer was amazing to work with.
- Drink more water. I downloaded the Thirsty app and accomplished this one real quick!
- Get to the bottom of my reading list. I now realize that this is never truly attainable if you buy books at a faster rate than you can read them… but I definitely kept up my reading habits and this year started a reading journal to track my progress.
- Only shop at thrift stores. While I don’t exclusively shop at thrift stores (that’s not a realistic goal), I legitimately make the thrift store my first stop whenever I need something, and only purchase elsewhere if it’s not available secondhand. I also shop almost exclusively for clothing at thrift stores. It has been great on the wallet and the wardrobe, and it makes me feel like I am doing something tangible to help our environment by not supporting fast fashion and keeping items out of landfills.
- Do more yoga. Mack and I have both gotten into a regular yoga practice. Linds started teaching this year and I attend as many of her online classes as I can. We also follow YouTube videos regularly as we don’t live near a yoga studio.
- Be more aware of current world events. I have been more attentive to the news, as we all have, since the pandemic. While I am satisfied with my ability to weed out the clickbait and fake news, and my basic knowledge of current events has improved since I was 21, these days I find myself with the opposite goal– to tune out more news media and turn off my phone as much as I can.
18/22 is pretty good if I do say so myself! Writing this post was not only a confidence booster, but it also taught me that I really can accomplish anything I set my mind to. I think writing it down helps, even if only subconsciously. It looks like there is evidence to support making a list of 25 Things To Do Before 25!
Thank you for reading,