The point is, I used to have this grand image of where I would be and what I would be doing by my twenties. Guys...I turned 25 in June. The goals I have now are wildly different than they used to be. It doesn't mean I don't have high expectations, its just that about what has changed. I mean for the last three years I've been trying to get into the Navy, or - before that - the Air Force (but that's a story for another day). That was my goal. I thought I'd be at OCS by this point, or going through whatever was beyond that. I never would have thought I'd still be living in Michigan less than an hour from where I grew up. But life changes. And with it, my goals.
Most of my family have followed a pretty standard path: go to school, work for a couple of years, get married, buy a house, dog (or cat), kids...and here we are. I love my nieces and nephews, and couldn't be happier for my siblings. But honestly? I can't say if I'm after the same things. When someone asks me what I want in life, 'travel' is the first thing that pops into my mind. Meeting new people. Exploring new places. The thought of 'rooting down' in one spot without having the freedom to make travel plans is terrifying to me, just like the thought of getting on a plane and flying to a foreign country is scary to some people. I've been told its because I'm a millennial. Personally I think it's because I've traveled quite a bit and just know how happy it makes me, even in the planning stages. I've been bitten by the travel bug (but that's another series of posts for you to check out). I can't have pets at my apartment, so a dog is out of the question. (Maybe a guinea pig one day - haha.) And I'm pretty content in my current job. So today I thought I'd share what some of my realistic goals are for the foreseeable future. Who knows, maybe one day they'll look a little different (like I said, life changes, and with it your goals can, too). But for now, these are at the forefront...
1. More community events
So this is something I told myself as soon as I moved out of the UP. We had occasional trivia nights (during the winter, to give locals something to do), Sunday movies at the library (literally me, the librarian, and maybe one or two others), and live music (the same guy, every weekend, at the same bar), but not many big non-touristy community events. Here? I'm constantly on Facebook's events page looking for the next interesting thing to do. I went to a "Fork & Cork" arts/music/wine festival on Saturday. It was a complete bust, but at least it was something interesting to do. I went to a "Vino and Vinyasa" class at a local yoga studio and met some neat people over rooftop yoga and wine. And today I'm going to a Harry Potter trivia night with my brother and sister-in-law and some friends at a brewery. There is no end of things to do here. My goal is to just get out there, meet as many new people as I can, and live for the experiences.
I feel like this is increasingly obvious, especially if you follow me on Instagram. I mentioned the Vino and Vinyasa class I went to last week, and this past Sunday I went to a "Breathe and Brunch" class. I find that the people who go to yoga classes are usually so friendly, especially when the teacher breaks the ice either before or after class. Then you go through a flow together and everyone feels like they have some unique connection. Even chanting 'Om' in unison with this group of people you've never met can make you feel oddly connected. I've been trying all kinds of different yoga classes, from Kundalini and Vinyasa to Gong Meditation and Yin. Naturally I enjoy some more than others, but the experience every time is just incredible. I've even just finished my second 30-day Youtube series from Yoga with Adriene and connected with an awesome group of people online - from all over the world - who have also made it part of their home practice. In person or online, I love chatting with other people about yoga and learning more from their experiences. And...there's some pretty big news coming in October so I will be sharing that with you soon!
In the past few months, there have been a lot of really big life changes going on. Packing up, moving on, moving in, getting back in the office, changes in my personal life, etc....its nice to be around family to kind of 'absorb the shock' of it all. Sure, there are some things we don't see eye-to-eye on, but just being around my parents, my sister, my nieces and nephews, etc....it's hugely comforting. And having (almost all of) them less than an hour away feels like a luxury. The Saturday after I moved in, they all came over for a little 'housewarming' party. I'm going to the Harry Potter trivia tonight with my brother and sister-in-law. My niece turns two in a few weeks (ahh!) and I can't wait to go to her birthday party. Even this past weekend, I met one of my aunts out for wine at Michigan by the Bottle. I love being around my family and having the option to see them more often.
(Yes, that's me in the middle on the right, with the huge cheeks)
4. Reconnecting with old friends
Similar to my goal of spending more time with family, I've been trying to really prioritize seeing friends, too. Yes, most of mine have moved away from the area since elementary school and high school, and my friends from college are still in Minnesota. But there are those I've met since who I haven't been able to see in awhile because the UP is just downright inconvenient. On Labor Day, I met a friend from my summer internship in Portland for a vegan dinner (she lives in Seattle but was travelling to Ann Arbor for work and swung through on her way). When I first chose my apartment, I got to spend a weekend with my dear Angela. We've actually been working on future plans, and I'm so thankful she's only an hour or two away! I've also been trying to set a Skype date with my German sister. And another friend is getting married at the end of October. And then friends of mine from when I lived in the UP - friends who moved to Iowa in July - are coming through my new town in a few weeks and we're making a point to go out for lunch/dinner. There is seriously nothing like surrounding yourself with good friends to help you feel at home in a new city, and I'm so happy that I've been reconnecting with them in the past few weeks. As well as making new friends at work or at yoga classes.
Ok, getting into slightly more solid goals/tangible goals, I really want to start writing more. And that doesn't just mean write more blog posts each week or make my grocery lists more detailed, but I seriously want to start 'nudging' my way into actually getting published. Did you know I've written a book? It's a nonfiction story - my story - of losing my grandpa, travelling to find my family, running into some serious trouble while abroad, and making all kinds of amazing friends along the way. I'm asking you for advice, friends - let me know if you have any connections/experience with publishing! I did recently write an article for an online business magazine - SDR Huddle - and you can read all about the Power of Conversation here.
6. Trying new foods
I tend to get in 'ruts' of what I eat - same smoothie bowls (though toppings may vary), same lunch, same dinner, same snacks, etc. - and I really want to break out of my shell. I recently went on a tofu kick, and being that I live on my own I basically had to eat it every day once I opened it to avoid it going bad. I love TVP and use that almost daily. And then I found an organic soy yogurt that sounded great. So I thought I was doing good, trying new things, until my skin outwardly (and viciously) retaliated. (Maybe I'll do some kind of post on it soon, but basically my skin can't handle more than one serving of soy product per day.) But a goal of mine is to try more vegan food and create more, and more diverse recipes. I love my Autumn stew recipe but after having it four nights in a row, I like to have options other than oatmeal!
(By far the best vegan food I've ever had: Casa de Luz - Austin, TX)7. New car
Kind of a need more than a want, honestly. I have had my car since 2008. It's a little blue Chevy, and I've had it since I got my license. It was my first car, and it is my favorite car. Great gas mileage, manual transmission, and has carried me (and all of my crap) between my college in MN and my home in MI more times than I can count. It took me to Kansas City. It took me to the UP. It has about 145K miles on it and two dented doors (which my brother and dad are in the process of fixing - thanks guys!). As much as I love this car, its getting to the point where I'm not willing to drive it more than a few hours away from home. I'm nervous on cold mornings. There are electrical issues in the dashboard and the speakers pop in and out and give me a heart attack when I drive. The seats are stained (as careful as I've been with coffee...) and I honestly worry about it with winter just around the corner. Its been 'time to start thinking about a new car' for the past several months. I would love to stick with Chevy, and would love to just get an exact replica of my car (but new). But because that isn't realistic, I've had my eye on a white Cruze or something similar. We'll see. Still saving...
Speaking of saving, next year is the year. You guys, I'm going to Italy. Or at least I really want to. I don't care about staying in fancy hotels. I don't care about trying expensive wine. I want to take 7-10 days (same length as my trip to Germany/Greece), and hit some of the major (and minor) cities in Italy to experience the culture and learn the history. Venice, Florence, Tuscany, Rome...I've wanted to go for so long and I think next year could work. Maybe. I have to get my passport renewed, but I'd be aiming for late summer (July/August). I've even been talking to a few friends in Europe about the possibility of meeting them there. We'll see. It's in the very, very early stages of planning but oh, is it ever a goal! Intensely saving (tough, given my car situation and recent move) but I would use AirBNB and watch flights carefully and do all of the things I usually do prior to travelling. I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it!
Maybe I'll have new goals in a few years. Or even a few months. They're definitely not the 'family, home, white picket fence' goals I thought I would have at 25, but I'm happier working towards them than towards things I don't truly want. As cliche as it sounds, you have to stay true to yourself, right?
I'd love to hear what your goals are, too. Feel free to share in the comments below, it's always fun to hear what others are working towards as well!