Checking In…

It's time for another progress report on my "30 Before 30" list. Regarding the deadline, let's just say I keep asking for and granting extensions. 23-year-old Ardith is thankful for the more flexible time constraints, I like to believe. (That could be Present Me projecting.)

First, the last update from 2015. If you remember, I whittled my definitive list down to a handful of items. Below is the progress made since then, along with some notes where necessary.

The List
1. Visit theItalian town my Italian ancestors are from (Monastero di Lanzo)

2. Visit Australia and New Zealand

3. Visit Kauai, Hawai’i – Completed in February 2017

4. Learn to swim

5. Learn to ride a bike – Completed as of July 2017 (Well, my three class beginner series ended, and it ended with me being able to successfully ride in circles in a single gear! The learning continues.)

6. Learn more Spanish and Tagalog 

7. Meet my cousins and family in the Philippines – Finally completed as of April 2017 (And I plan to go again. Coincidentally, I returned to SE Asia a month later on a business exchange to our Vietnam office.)

8. Travel to the Oregon Coast again

9. Get my CrossFit Level 1 Certificate Change of plans: Completed my USAW Sports Performance Coach certification in June 2017

10. Visit Iceland – December 2015

11. Have the BEST 30th birthday celebration w/ my closest friends somewhere far away – See #10!

Giving me a little bit of extra time seemed to be the trick to ticking off more of my pared-down dream list.*

To be honest, this check-in was inspired primarily by my bicycling milestone. Can you believe this 31-year-old learned to ride a bike in three Sunday sessions? My goal was to be able to ride a bike at a reasonable speed on reasonably level ground, and I'm tickled that I met it. Now, clear the road and get out of my way–mostly for your own safety, because I'm still not fantastic at riding in a straight line.

*Full disclosure: I have a list of 100 dreams I created during a challenge issued by my work. The 11 items here are just a sliver of the whole. I would also be lying if I said most of my 100 dreams aren't travel-related… More to come.


The New 30 Before 30

On December 3rd, 2015, I will turn 30-years-old.

A long time ago, about when I was in the midst of my quarter-life crisis, I thought I was running out of time, butting up against a deadline to finish so many significant things before seeing the last digit of my age reset to “0.” (For further readings on this topic, please feel free to browse the archives from 2008 through about 2013.)

Oh, Past Ardith. You’re adorable.

Time changes things. In my case, I’ve loosened up those timelines. The anxiety of not living up to outsiders’ preconceived notions of what I needed to have done and when is greatly diminished. I feel less frantic and more calm. I’m still future-oriented, but in a different way.

When I was 23, though, I took some sort of advice I read somewhere and made a “bucket list” for my twenties, the “30 Before 30” list. It had some wishes, many involving travel, and my original list expected me to be married somewhere between the ages of 28 and 30.

Ohh, Past Ardith. Seriously so cute.

Life–as it tends to do–happened, though. I went back to school. I dated (“dated?”) boys who were perfectly wrong for me. I moved cities. I met new people. I read new things. I wrote more. I wrote less. I traveled places. I accumulated more debt. I failed repeatedly at budgeting. I finally found a budgeting tool that worked. I changed jobs. I changed industries. I changed lives. I found my mode of fitness. I met someone amazing. I grew new relationships and maintained old ones.

Somewhere along the line, the deadline for my 30 Before 30 was extended. Some of the projects lost their luster or immediateness. Somewhere along the line, I relaxed, and started to truly enjoy the ride.

I never gave up on my original 30 Before 30 list. I just came to terms with the fact that there’s not really anything on there that won’t be more beautiful if/when it happens in its own time.

Here’s the list as it stood as of its last revision.

Now, with 30 actually looming, I feel like removing the completed items and striking out items that don’t hold the same weight as they did when I crafted this list at the age of 23.

2. Visit the Italian town my Italian ancestors are from (Monastero di Lanzo)
3. Visit Australia and New Zealand
4. Visit Kauai, Hawai’i
5. Learn to swim
6. Learn to ride a bike
8. Learn more Spanish and Tagalog 
9. Meet my cousins and family in the Philippines
12. Travel to the Oregon Coast again
13. Get my CrossFit Level 1 Certificate
16. Visit Iceland*
30. Have the BEST 30th birthday celebration w/ my closest friends somewhere far away*

These are the hopes and wishes I would like to keep. Don’t laugh too hard at #5 and #6, please. But also keep in mind that they’ve been on the list for over seven years now, so some laughter is appropriate.

I had an extra item that, arguably, was the most important to me when I revised my list a few years ago:

“31. Meet someone amazing and give the relationship 100%.”

Happy to say that one is still in-progress, because giving a relationship 100% isn’t a one-time thing.

*And guess what? #16 and #30 are currently happening right now, with the subject of #31 also along for the ride.

And there you have it. I’ve culled the list a bit and kept the things I want to do someday. No deadline. It feels better that way.

Naturally, there’s more that could be added. Pay off debts. Read and write more. Travel to many more places (poor John knows this–every day elicits at least two new, “Ooh! We have to go there!” comments from me). Continue my fitness journey. Things like that, along with other hopes and dreams that I’d like to keep closer to the heart now, instead of pasting them across the blogosphere.

Living life as if it’s just one big “To Do” list doesn’t seem genuine for me, and I look forward to this next decade and beyond.

I share this all, too, because it feels so trivial to worry about “getting older” when the globe seems to be on the verge of another world war. The vitriol towards so many and the unthinkable acts of violence around the world are too much for me to process, and I am just one unremarkable human who doesn’t know where to start other than within. All I can do is live and love and get behind those who speak up for the beliefs which resonate with mine. 

I am on the verge of 30, and I have led a life of relative comfort and privilege. As such, I led a life plagued by feelings of inadequacy in the realms of romance, finance, looks, fitness, and adventure. I am more than okay with leaving those feelings behind, associated with the “20-something” version of myself.

I hope that as I continue to grow, that I find balance in my personal endeavors and that of doing good. I hope that these worldly adventures continue to widen my perspective. And I hope that I have learned to be resilient enough that my feelings don’t hamper my ability to actually take action in the areas where I think it matters. That goes for myself, my community, and the issues that know no borders.

Here’s to turning 30, to making meaning, to living love, to seeing the world, and to (hopefully) becoming wiser.


2014: The Year in Review

I rang in 2014 on a Seattle sidewalk with lovely lady friends on a walk back from our neighbourhood Dick’s Drive-in.

Now I’m sitting on a couch in my jammies. In Scotland. Sore from two days of CrossFit in the midst of my two-week holiday from work and eating properly and regular work-outs.

A lot of things happened this year, a lot of good things. I’ve cut back on blogging because I’ve been busy in the gym and with my offline life. It’s been really fun, I have to say.

I have some 2015 goals, mostly in regards to what I do with my fitness.

Rehab and build up my shoulder strength.
Clean up some skills and technique.
Lift, because I love it.
Compete a few times.
Have fun, and keep proving myself wrong.

Beyond the gym, well… Let’s see. I’m currently abroad, and it has been wonderful to see my friends in Scotland and also just generally explore a new place. It feels like a big sigh of relief after not going abroad for over three years.

I’d be lying, though, if I didn’t say I’m looking forward to seeing a certain someone in three or so days.

I’ve been pretty bad at checking off things on my old 30 Before 30 list, but I don’t seem to particularly care because things are constantly changing and my goals and wants have changed dynamically even in recent months. That’s okay. The most important item not on my list was apparently to get myself to a place where I could successfully pursue one big item on that old list: essentially, to cultivate a relationship that is healthy, and in which I can place my energy and feelings and be happy.

In a nutshell, my boyfriend is amazing and nice and wonderful and respectable and an entire slew of positive adjectives. (He’s not in Scotland with me, seeing that I booked the trip before we were dating; I get to Skype him from the future, though!)

That’s where much of my time and energy is invested. It is where I do everything I can to be present. And I think that’s the great theme of the present–to be present. To live life. (Accidentally typed, “To live lift,” just now, which is also true.) To have experiences. (And to also be content with mastering the art of doing nothing.)

What will 2015 bring? Many things, I’m sure. Things out of my control, things in my control, unexpected things, and little butterfly effects here and there. That seems alright.

I hope you all have a Happy New Year. Here’s to 2015.

And now, here are some photos from my Scotland trip (and not the rest of the year because I cleared all my photos off my phone before I left).













A Woman Can Change Her Mind

Well, I did it again. I’ve found myself in yet another quarter-life/existential crisis. I think it has something to do with working at UW, and suddenly feeling like my professional-prep Master’s degree wasn’t as lofty as I could have achieved, and it has to do a bit with still trying to break the habit of jumping ahead of myself several years, and probably some other underlying aspects, including an insatiable love for learning and the inability to sit still for a second.

That’s all fine, though. I’ll work through this. It’ll just take some real talk with myself, and maybe some hiding in my room, mapping out my interests and strengths and identifying some goals and stuff.

In the same vein, I’ve been thinking about revising my 30 Before 30 again. I created my 30 Before 30 list when I was 24. It’s funny how quickly these things, my priorities, my interests, seem to change. I seem to do this every two years. That’s fine. I don’t know if a lot of this is doable financially, but whatever. Goals and dreams and goals and dreams, and I’m not going to get hunted down by the blogosphere if I don’t finish everything.

Alright. Here are the newest revisions. (With 30 approaching in less than two years, my prediction is that a number of revisions will occur more rapidly. And probably extending the list into a “30 before 40.”)

1. Visit E in Spain Done!
2. Visit the Italian town my ancestors are from (Monastero di Lanzo)
3. Visit Australia and New Zealand
4. Visit Kauai, Hawai’i
5. Learn to swim
6. Learn to ride a bike
7. Learn to make great cocktails on my own
8. Learn Spanish and Tagalog – Alright, well, I’ve signed up for Duolingo, and have been getting a few short lessons in each day. It’s better than nothing. I even tested out of a few initial skills; seems like I still remember some Spanish.
9. Meet my cousins and family in the Philippines
10. Earn a master’s degree in student affairs administration – Done!
11. Have one more Wenatchee summer – Done
12. Revised: Take another trip down the Oregon Coast
13. Get my CrossFit Level 1 Certificate – This one’s scary for several reasons: 1. I don’t have $1k to spend on a certificate; 2. I’m still not that great at CrossFit; 3. It might also mean pursuing my interest in coaching other newbies. (And thus, complimenting my academic side with my “want to run around in workout clothes all day” side.)
14. Hike the Enchantments
15. Hike part of the Pacific Crest trail (WA portion)
16. Revised: Go to Iceland
17. Make blogging a priority – In-progress; and lumping in a revised point #13: blog about CrossFit, having great (and maybe transformative) conversations with others, travel (including great food and drink in great Northwest cities). Basically, blog about the important things in life that contribute to physical, mental, and spiritual wellness.
18. Get a piece of poetry or a research article published/present at a conference – Presentation: complete!
19. Write a book and get it published – This has been in-progress for a long time, I guess.
20. Perform improv or stand-up
21. Be an extra in a movie
22. Get professional-quality headshots/model shots just for fun
23. Try out for a semi-pro/professional dance/cheer team – Done, to an extent.
24. Meet Neil Patrick Harris – Okay, probably not realistic…
25. Revised: Get fit, and have my body reflect it  – In-progress…
26. Save for a sweet city condo
27. Go to the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, Wales
28. Read more books
29. Take the train moreDone; I think after my last Christmas train experience, I’m good on American trains…
30. Have the BEST 30th birthday celebration w/ my closest friends somewhere far away

Still leaving my 31st bullet on here, though…

31. Meet someone amazing and give the relationship 100%.

These are all personal things, yeah? Yeah. They are. And maybe they seem scarier and more daunting than professional goals because there’s not as much structure in these things. My professional career is, in all actuality, pretty easy to grasp; I am having some trouble articulating what I want my future job to look like and in what functional area it should be, but it’s straight-forward: do a good job in my current role, seek out development, gain the skills, refine the interests, and take next steps when necessary. Boom.

I need the fire under myself to get me moving on other things, though. I don’t work well without some kind of guidance, which is why I’m finally meeting some personal goals through CrossFit and now Duolingo. There are milestones to reach, and there are mechanisms to keep me accountable. If I can find that kind of structure for the points above, especially the travel goals, I can put a lot more in-reach.

I’ve got some thinking to do for the rest of the week. I’ve got a lot of thinking to do (when don’t I, though?).

What’s keeping you going?

Backblog – Dec. 11th and Stuff I Don’t Need

Dec. 11th

Prompt: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

1. Drama: I’ll put on my “big girl pants” and address issues instead of just letting everything sit and get convoluted.
2. Laziness: I did a very good job at the beginning of the quarter keeping up with reading, cleaning, cooking, going out and doing things– and then I slipped into my old habits. I know I can do this, so maybe more “to-do” lists will help.
3. Not working out consistently: How do I eliminate that? Work out consistently. Done and done.
4. Clutter: I’m still doing really well with this, but I’m starting to find clothes I never wear in my dresser again. Time for another Goodwill run.
5. Bitterness: I tend to harbor ill feelings towards those who hurt me. I need to address feelings, let go, and move on. It is as simple as that. Maybe blog a bit more.
6. Not adventuring as much: Let’s face it– I need random road trips and adventures. Winter quarter, I anticipate a lot more of this happening. I’m settled into Corvallis, and now it’s time to branch out and see what there really is to do around here.
7. Not talking to my friends on the phone: I have so many minutes– I just need to get over it and call. It’ll be good to connect with friends that are not in town.
8. Men that don’t treat me like a freshly-baked loaf of cinnamon bread: I don’t know how to actually accomplish getting rid of that, but I know if I do, I’ll be a lot more content. And less stressed.
9. Junk food: Grumble. I need to eat healthier to achieve my goals, it’s true. I need to commit to setting aside weekly grocery trips so I can stay well-stocked on fresh fruits and veggies, and I really need to find protein-based snacks that will keep me full– instead of eating tons and tons and tons of excess carbs while in class. This may be the biggest challenge, but it could be the most rewarding.
10. Boredom: Speaks for itself. How am I bored when I am surrounded by a new city and new friends?
11. Rain: Just kidding. I have no control over that.

11 things that I don’t need… that was difficult to get through. I see a lot of recurring themes, though; I need to get out there and make things happen. Maybe things that could happen include learning to ride a bike and swimming. Just sayin’.

Progress Report

Completion date: sometime in the next 30 years?

Under construction for over 100 years

How’s the 30 Before 30 list going? Slowly but surely, I am making progress. Hopefully it won’t be like La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (pictured above), which is still under construction after over a century! Here we go…

1. Visit E in Spain Success! And what fun it was.

2. Visit the Italian town my ancestors are from I got close to Monastero di Lanzo– made it to Torino, Italy. Next time!

3. Visit Australia and meet a kangaroo – December 2012? Where else would I spend the end of the world? Ha, ha.

4. Visit Kauai and go surfing there Slash “Backpack the big island of Hawaii.” I’m thinking summer 2012 would be an amazing time for an “I finished my Master’s degree!” trip.

5. Learn to swim – It better happen this summer.

6. Learn to ride a bike – Ditto what I said above.

7. Learn to bartend – Same for this one. It may not be professional, but I have a great drink recipe book to work with.

8. Learn Spanish and Tagalog – Spanish is beginning to click along; a lot of work is ahead of me still.

9. Meet my cousins and family in the Philippines – Maybe this will happen in Dec. 2012, too.

10. Earn a master’s degree in student affairs administration – Admission confirmed at Oregon State University; I will move to Corvallis, OR in September.

11. Have one more Wenatchee summer I’m going to count this past week as sufficient; this item has been amended to “Have a Wenatchee and Seattle summer.”

12. Stay in a bed & breakfast somewhere on the Oregon coast – Planning on at least going to the coast again this summer.

Not much has been done on the following, nor do I have timelines:
13. Take an extensive brewery tour of the Northwest and West Coast
14. Hike the Enchantments
15. Hike part of the Pacific Crest trail (WA portion)
16. Road trip to Alaska
17. Write a memoir
18. Get a piece of poetry published
19. Write a book AND get it published
20. Perform improv or stand-up
21. Be an extra in a movie
22. Get professional-quality headshots/model shots just for fun
23. Try out for a semi-pro/professional dance/cheer team
24. Meet Neil Patrick Harris
25. Get an awesome 6-pack
26. Buy a car
27. Get a dog
28. Read more books
29. Take Amtrak down the west coast
30. Get married and have a wonderful, down-to-earth wedding

Not bad for creating the list in my 24th year of existence. This will definitely keep me motivated and looking forward to the next adventure.

One step at a time…