24 Things

In celebration of my twenty-fourth birthday, I thought I would strive for twenty-four things in the coming year. That sounds like an awful lot, even to me. Some of these things are purely for fun, while others are more serious.

  1. Complain less. I would like to think I could strive for not complaining at all, but I think I'd better start by aiming for less and work toward not complaining at all.
  2. Slow down. I want to really enjoy life, taking time to cherish lazy Saturdays, Sundays spent with friends and family, leisurely walks, good books, good food, and good conversation without feeling the pressure to move on too quickly to items on my to-do list or the next thing on my calendar.
  3. Embrace healthier snacking habits. I have a hard time not eating large quantities of snack-type foods, especially when they're sitting out in front of me, and I eat them beyond the point of getting full. I'm working on combating this problem, but I know it's going to take some work.
  4. Seek God's overwhelming presence. I know He's with me all the time, but I tend to neglect Him until I have something to lift up in prayer or until I encounter some sort of structured time with Him (my daily quiet time, church gatherings, community gatherings, etc.). I want to be more aware of His presence and provision as I walk through every moment of my life.
  5. Be still. I run around from one thing to the next, trying frantically to keep all the plates spinning, when I really need to slow down and let God be God. I spend too much time telling God what I want, asking for things left and right, instead of listening to Him.
  6. Complete a bucket list I'm creating with some of my friends. We found one online that had some really good suggestions, and we think it's going to be a fun way to do some different things together. I want to make sure we follow through on doing those things, instead of forgetting about it after a week or two.
  7. Be more intentional with supporting nonprofits. I want to be more willing to donate to organizations that do good in the world, remembering that everything I've been blessed with is God's, not mine, to be used in service to Him and others.
  8. Plan events farther in advance. I was good about that for a while, working on event coordination with my church. But I forgot about the planning for a while, and the events all caught up to me, leaving me frustrated and stressed with trying to plan things on a tighter schedule. Things go much more smoothly when I leave myself enough time to think through all the details.
  9. Donate my hair. I've been thinking about cutting it for a while, but this year, I'm actually going to take the leap and do it!
  10. Read Les Miserables. I bought a hardcover copy of this book a while ago, and it's been sitting on my bookshelf, practically staring me down, ever since. I want this to be the year in which I finally crack it open.
  11. Watch the Star Wars movies. Don't hate me; I haven't actually watched them. I've seen snippets, but haven't intentionally sat down to watch them. And I think I should change that if I want my friends to continue to speak to me. : )
  12. Be more generous. I've seen lately how much joy I can find in giving gifts (of both time and money) to my friends and family, especially when I put thought into what I'm giving them. I naturally am very frugal, but it truly is more blessed to give than to receive. This site has some good ideas about how to be generous when you don't have much, and I want to put some of them into practice this year.
  13. Develop my photography skills. I am not good at taking pictures. I've tried blaming it on the technology, and hope that getting a new phone might help, but I think it's ultimately going to take me working on figuring out how to achieve higher-quality pictures through a process of trial and error.
  14. Go somewhere I've never been. My friends and I are deferring our Europe trip for another year so we can save for it with less stress, so now the prospect of traveling is being revisited as we discuss what short, local trip we might want to make this year while we plan our big adventure.
  15. Spend more time with my sister. We do live together, but our schedules don't actually line up all too well. We're close in age, and have been getting along better in recent years than we did most of the time growing up, but I want to do better than that. I want to be able to say more than "we get along most of the time." I want to foster a friendship, since we're kind of stuck with each other. : )
  16. Improve my blog readership. I'm not entirely sure how to do this, but I'd like to see if I can't take steps toward it this year.
  17. Be thankful. This will assist in completing my goal of complaining less, since when I'm focused on what I have to be grateful for, I'm not thinking about things that aren't going my way. But I want to express my gratitude, to both God and others. I am so abundantly blessed, and I want to appreciate what I have while I have it.
  18. Keep in touch with long-distance friends. My college roommates are spread out, and I was good about visiting them and messaging them for the first couple years after I graduated, but I've fallen out of that habit this year. Those girls mean a great deal to me, and I want to show them I cherish their friendship by putting more effort into communicating with them and staying involved in their lives.
  19. Make a headboard for my bed. I think it would make me feel more like an adult if my bed had a headboard, and my sister and a friend of hers have graciously offered to help me with the project.
  20. Eat more seasonally and locally. This will likely involve paying more attention to which items at the store are in season to ensure they're at their peak, making more trips to the farmer's market in the summer, and possibly dipping my toes into some small form of container gardening in our little apartment.
  21. Develop my friendships with my cousins. I've come to see recently just how lovely, kind, intelligent, and sweet these women are. My eyes have truly been opened to see them not just as relatives that were my childhood playmates, but grown women who are well-spoken on matters of the heart and faith, who have valuable opinions that I delight in seeking, who understand my penchant for all things Disney and will rejoice with me in pursuing them relentlessly, and who will see me through thick and thin as our lives progress and become ever more complicated.
  22. Celebrate the Christmas season thoroughly. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and this next month and a half are already looking incredibly busy, but I want to make the time to cherish this special time with friends and family, delighting in the traditions of the season and maybe establishing some new ones. Some of these ideas look really fun!
  23. Relax and allow myself to be more flexible. I tend to be too tightly-wound, too focused on how I planned for things to go, to allow for things to change without them affecting me. I want to be less easily frustrated, knowing that plans change, and it's okay to not have everything planned out, as long as at the end of the day, I get to spend time doing what I love with the people I love.
  24. Purposefully simplify. I need to do less. I want to be fully invested in things that I'm passionate about, which might mean pulling back from other things. I want to continually ask myself whether the things I'm spending my time, money, and energy on are things that align with my purpose of knowing God and making Him known, of loving Him and loving others. I need to not fill my life with so many insignificant things that I don't leave room for Him to move, and that's going to require revisiting my passions, skills, goals, and the calling He has placed upon my heart to be His ambassador in this crazy world.