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.


Right Back At It

Wednesday, Jan. 2nd
Yoga (at-home)

Wednesday, I decided to practice yoga again because my shoulders were hurting something awful. I chose an online video that looked like it was shot in the 80s, but it was a surprisingly good sequence. I felt stable in my poses, and I was also surprised to noted that I could actually do plow. I struggled with that every time I would go to a class when I was still at OSU. Overall, the relaxed practice felt good, and I felt centered and refreshed.

Thursday, Jan. 3rd
CrossFit HEL – WOD: Fight Gone Bad

Those of you who know Fight Gone Bad are probably cringing. Don’t. I had to modify it because my shoulders were still hurting. I had to drop the weight down on everything.

For those of you that don’t know Fight Gone Bad, it goes like this:

3 rounds, 5 minutes each. 1 minute rest between the rounds.

A full round consists of five exercises. You must switch stations on the minute.

The exercises were:

– wall ball shots – modified to 8lb. ball
– sumo deadlift high pull (SDHP) – modified to 45lbs.
– push presses – modified to 22lbs.
– box jumps – modified to box step-ups (that has nothing to do with my shoulder)
– rowing machine (for calories)

At the end of the WOD, you total up all reps (and the rowing calories) for the final score. I came up with 254. A good number, but too bad I wasn’t able to be 100% to get my true score. I did not die, though, even though I was completely gassed.

Friday, Jan. 4th
CrossFit HEL – WOD: Speed/Agility Work

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I had fun with sprints. We ran a star drill (five efforts) and V-drills w/ kettlebell pick-up and burpees thrown in the mix. Essentially, I was faster than expected on most of my efforts, minus the V-drill attempts where I spun in the wrong direction, or didn’t spin at all, or picked up the dumb weight with the wrong hand, etc. Still! I did it. And it felt great. I may not be the fastest sprinter in the world, but it’s definitely much more fun than distance running for me.

After that, we did some more agility work with the WOD. It was an AMRAP 10 consisting of:

20 double-unders or 60 single-unders
vault (mod: just some really ugly straddles over the bar)
15 hand-release push-ups (mod: from the knee)
box overs (mod: stepping up onto the boxes)

5.5 rounds for me.

Not bad considering I still trip over my jump rope multiple times, and boxes and I just don’t get along at this point in time.

Monday, Jan. 7th
CrossFit HEL – WOD: Halfway

Monday was a good CrossFit day for me. We started with back squats as our lift.

3 rounds of 5 reps
Load: 115lbs.
Boom! Started at 35lbs. four months ago.


4 rounds for time of:

12 toes-to-bar (hanging exercise)4 box jumps (24″ step-ups for me)
12 kettlebell swings (scaled to 12kg., although 48 reps at that weight is starting to actually feel light)

Overall time: 7 minutes, 12 seconds

Tuesday, Jan. 8th
Rest day/Mental health day

I’m including Tuesday because I did stop by the gym to get weighed in and measured for the upcoming nutrition challenge. Challenge starts tomorrow. My lunch is going to be kind of sad because I wanted to blog tonight and not cook for tomorrow.

Spent the night hanging out with one of my good friends who just moved to Portland. I am so excite!

Wednesday, Jan. 9th
Hot Yoga for Life

Tonight marked the first time I’ve done hot yoga in about five years. And five years ago, I went once and never went back, even after buying a three-class card. Hated it then; loved it now. It’s a different kind of challenge than many other workouts, but it allowed me to push myself and also re-center. I am much more in-tune with my body now than I was even just a few months ago, so that aided in knowing when I needed to modify and when I needed to take a break to breathe.

It also helped that my friend came with me, and it was her first time at hot yoga.

We plan to go back. Definitely.

Weekly Stats?

(Yeah, it’s time to start posting those, I guess.)

Weight: 137.6lbs. (according to the home scale)
Body fat: 31.5% (according to the home scale)

Current feeling: knees and shoulders could use some love; sleepy but energized

On to the “mostly paleo” diet tomorrow! (I say “mostly” because coffee, dairy, and some alcohol are still OK for the challenge–but I’m being very mindful of this.) Wish me luck.

This Song is Ending

In one week, I will participate in the commencement exercises at Oregon State University. I anticipate this week seeming quite long, as nearly everyone else in the galaxy seems to have already graduated, with my alma mater, Western Washington, holding their graduation ceremonies today. Regardless, the next seven or so days will pass, and–if all goes correctly–I will be a Master.

What does the end of graduate school mean? It certainly won’t mean reclaiming my life. The life I led before entering graduate school was fine, at times, but I hope that this second attempt at the real world holds many more good things.

It’s been beneficial to start my professional career as my graduate career winds down. Things are fresh, and I’ve had a quarter full of check-ins with my classmates and new stories to share. Theories click while I’m behind my desk, and I remain more intentional about executing personal balance–even if that means choosing personal care over having fun. Case in point, I had to make the choice to stay home today because I ended up uncharacteristically unwell with stomach cramps all last night–and I was supposed to go to the Seattle area for a wedding. Huge bummer, but if it means that I’ll be 90% better tomorrow, and 100% during the week, I suppose it’s worth it. (That said, I really need to have a doctor look me over. Miserable digestive system, I tell ya.)

Speaking of doctors, I am officially obsessed with Doctor Who. I. Love. This. Show. It’s probably because it’s so fantastical, taking me across the universe(s) at the push of a button. It’s simultaneously removed from reality yet so close to reality with its portrayal of relationships and the dilemmas that come along with such (that’s really boiling things down). Fair warning, guys: I’m a Whovian now, and there’s no going back.

And speaking of guys, I think I’ll be ready–for reals–to date again once grad school is done. Yes, it’s been a thought in the back of my head for awhile now, but it’s something that I am nearly ready to navigate again. I’ve gone through some miserable lows in the past two years, and I have done so much reflecting and processing–and admitting of my own errors–over that period in time that I believe the slate has been wiped clean. I’m hoping that in this coming span of time, any potential partners are met with the best of me, the strong, spontaneous, driven self I have known (yet not always exhibited) all my life.

With this ending comes a sense of renewal. There also comes a need to be thankful for all that has happened, good and bad. All of this has gotten me to this point in time.

Hats off to you, fellow graduates. Let’s go out there and change the world because the world’s changed us–for the better, I like to think.

You Are at Home Within Yourself

Isn’t it fun to learn about all the things you didn’t know about? That’s how work is going for me, but having the challenge is making this job that much more interesting. (And according to my values sheet I created yesterday, “Intellectual Challenge” is in my top ten values. “Happy Hour” is #11, which loops back to “Fun/Happiness” as my #1.)

On another note, I had the most fabulous weekend in Seattle and Bellingham this past weekend. Our little trio of Lady Viks was quite the hit throughout the ‘Ham. We paid a visit to my undergrad thesis advisor at her retirement party, a new oyster bar, Temple Bar’s all-day happy hour, Honey Moon (where we decided it was a good idea to talk about losing pets, which then resulted in three young ladies in their mid-twenties crying and laughing all at one–yes, that was us), and The Beaver Inn in its new location. The Beav was always my favorite dive, and I was happy to see my favorite barkeeps still at work.

I have been consciously trying to enact balance into my new chapter. I have been practicing yoga several times a week, both at home and at a wonderful yoga studio just up the road. I have been reading for fun. And, oh man, have I ever been indulging in Doctor Who. I have been exploring the city and being a bit more proactive in inviting people to come join me on random adventures. It’s hard getting back into the groove of penciling hang-outs into my “real world schedule,” but it is so worth it.

It’s good to connect with myself before making outside connections. Knowing that I look inward first before releasing my love and energy outwards has made all the difference in practicing balance.

And with that, I need to unpack my room and shuffle some things around. Turns out, for all the growth I’ve experienced in the past few years, I’m still not very good at unpacking in a timely manner.

My American Dream

I didn’t intend for this post to be about pizza, but now that I’ve typed “American Dream,” all I can think about is American Dream Pizza in Corvallis.

My apartment is a wreck. I have books everywhere, a basket of clean laundry waiting to be folded, dust bunnies under the desk, and a pair of socks lying on the floor that I kicked off in my sleep. Yes, it’s definitely the end of a quarter. I remember warning my friend after we moved into the residence halls together, “I tend to get super messy when I start to stress out. If you notice it, ask me what’s up. And then I’ll clean up.”


It’s the end of the quarter. I have two quarters left. On June 16th, I will be wearing a cap and gown. On June 16th, I will hopefully know if I’m staying in Oregon or headed somewhere new. It’s only six months away, and I’m still not able to see the future.

I’ve been coming up with creative alternate plans, plans that align with some of my other dreams that come with an overactive imagination. I looked into how much it would be to pursue cosmetology. It turns out that a program for esthetics will run about $3600. That’s not bad, considering that when I was younger, the only consistent career path I could come up with was “cosmetologist.” I explained to my mother last night that if that’s the path I go, even when I find that full-time dream job in higher education, I could still contract out to do make-up on weekends and such. School dances and socials? Helllooooooo.

My other ideas include starting the recruitment process for dispatching in the Portland area. I used to joke about becoming a cop, but realistically, I’m not good at the things cops do. What I am good at is taking in information and acting on it. It would be a way to be in something high-stress and related to public service, and with the odd hours dispatchers have to work, I could realistically pick up an internship on the side to continue in higher education.

Other idea? Bartending. I used to work at a local bar in Bellingham, but I was only a front-door cashier. I didn’t have the chance to learn cocktailing and bartending, but maybe someone would be willing to pick up where I left off. I wouldn’t mind slinging drinks to busy patrons. Someone told me I had the right look and attitude to bartend: cute, with a big sarcastic sense of humor. Just sassy enough.

Of course, the dream would be to land a position at a school working in advising or outreach or related support services. I am very much interested in continuing my work with transfer students (meaning on all sides of that transition–whether it’s preparing students at a two-year to transition into a four-year institution or helping them once they arrive at the four-year), as well as multicultural support (e.g., what the Ethnic Student Center at WWU does) and general advising (whether that’s academic or programmatic).

And the dream from there? Well, that’s what I was fantasizing about while drinking my morning coffee and staring at my messy apartment. I hope someday to have a comfortably-sized home with some kind of yard (I’m totally envisioning my house on Ponderosa Court from my junior and senior year, aren’t I?), and well-lit rooms. Adorning the walls will be photos of my travels, and I hope that one of them will be a big picture with my mom and all my cousins and relatives in the Philippines.We’ll all be smiling, laughing at a reunion that was over two decades in the making.

I hope another will be a photo of myself and that yet-to-be-determined significant other, the one who put up with the spectrum of my emotions and my wild dreams of simultaneously seeing the world and grounding myself in a career and life I love. Maybe we’ll be standing at the edge of an Icelandic cliff, overlooking the sea. Maybe it will be us in Las Vegas, without a care in the world. Maybe it will be on the Oregon Coast or a Spanish beach. Who knows?

I sure don’t.

What I do know is, wherever I end up, it will be exactly where I am supposed to be.

Here’s to the next six months. May all your dreams come true, my fellow student affairs grad students.

More Than a Feeling?

Fall term began a week ago. I’m interning at my first private institution. I’m only taking one “real” class (thanks to internship credits, a PE class, and some projects). Work is off to a good start.

Yet I can’t shake this feeling. Either seasonal depression moved in early, or something else is going on. I’m working on slowly repairing a strained friendship (with a boy, duh), but there many positive points around that. And I should not feel this way.

I’ve been productive, improving my cover letters and tailoring my resume for a job search I’ve already started. Even so, I’m taking it slow on that and trying to stay in the game with my assistantship right now. I’m happy that the residents in my wing are very social and kind; I even baked cookies last night and shared them with the residents.

Still, though, something’s off. I’m trying to take care of myself, making appointments with CAPS and hopefully the SHS. I don’t want this feeling to keep lingering and keep this cloud around my social and professional life.

It’s taken a lot to write about the way I’ve been feeling. This isn’t an easy topic for a smart, independent, successful young woman to write about.

So bear with me. Be patient. If I call you, return my call because you might just be who I need to talk to.

This, too, shall pass. This is only temporary.

Don’t Call it a Comeback.

By no means is it a comeback, but I do apologize for neglecting my regular updates this past few weeks. With my internship(s) being done for the summer and school still about two weeks out, I have been trying to take care of myself as I transition back to Corvallis. As usual, the universe and my personal life are butting heads, and it is, to say the least, highly annoying.

That said, I’m working on getting some more of my work from my first year of CSSA uploaded to this site. I had most of my final documents saved on my network drives, and I didn’t have proper access to Word for conversion to PDF while I was in Wenatchee.

Also, in other news, I am on the market to switch to Mac. I’m anticipating selecting my first Mac Book variation in the next few weeks. Be prepared for a little bit of craziness.

Now, for something completely different, you can listen to my personalized “remix” of Duck Sauce’s Barbra Streisand song.

All Things Go

For those of you not in my CSSA cohort, The Nest, TUBFE, or even my personal Twitterverse, you may not know that I am back in Wenatchee. I will be here for a bit to tend to a family emergency. This is a doozy, to say the least, and I am incredibly tapped-out.

I apologize for all my previous ranting about the universe being against me and romance. It truly is, as if to say I need to deal with things on my own. But as it is, I wish I knew I had a partner waiting for me with a giant hug and some snuggles. Instead, I’m exhausted, and I feel like I’m running on an empty tank. And I’m sick, too. Probably won’t get better for awhile. I do know that I’ve been really lost the past few weeks, probably since about Christmas. Not ashamed to say that I’ll probably be visiting CAPS when I’m back in Corvallis.

I got my first academic extension on an assignment. I feel, unreasonably, like a slacker and a failure. What’s that all about?

Friends, all I ask at this point is to first of all keep my family in your thoughts. Pray if you’d like, or find a place for quiet contemplation. Remember that the petty things in life don’t matter, and what does matter is making good memories, laughing, and finding adventure with friends.

I’ll see what I can do about regular updates. Everything is uncertain at this point.

All things go… all things go…

Taking Time to Breathe

Week 1 is done. That doesn’t mean Week 1’s work is done, but let’s not go there quite yet.

I want to say the work load is heavy, but I also want to say it’s comparable to my work load from junior and senior years as an undergrad. I took a bunch of writing intensive courses those years by choice, not necessity, as well as throwing in working out (cheer), working (Zumiez), and a personal life (going out). The details are different this time around, but I think I’m starting to get back into the school mode.

It’s weird coming back after several years “just” working. No homework, little outside work– I would go home and quit it. But now, I stay engaged. I’m trying to read as much as possible– and luckily, it’s relevant and interesting reading– and using other free time to read “fun” books. Like a book on how to learn German quickly.

I went to a dance class last night and a yoga class today, too. I am going to make the effort to keep myself in good physical and mental shape– not like this summer, when I gained back 6 pounds from the 10 I lost. UNACCEPTABLE. I worked hard to look good, and I’m going to work harder to look and feel even better.

That said, it’s back to the books.

Enjoy the weekend. Go Beavs! (Give me your extra football ticket.) …who said that?