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31 Goals for my 31st Birthday

OK – first and foremost – I have to get this out there … I really like my birthday. I have no reason not to like my birthday, because I don’t mind getting old. In fact, I relish the idea that I become wiser and better every day that I’m walking, breathing, sleeping and eating. This is probably one of those times where I am annoyingly “glass half full” or in honor of my b-day – cake half there instead of half gone.

The awesome Frugal Duchess turned 51 a few weekends ago and she posted a wonderful article listing 51 frugal goals for her 51st year. I’m going to riff on that idea and make a post of my own. So here goes … 31 years into my life, here are the things I hope to acheive this next year – frugal, zenlike or otherwise …

1. Lose 31 pounds. Hell, I should lose more, but 31 sounds like a reasonable number.
2. Put $3,100 toward my (slowly but surely emerging) emergency fund.
3. Like the Frugal Duchess, I’m going to get rid of 31 items – whether it’s the mixer I replaced by getting married to my fab hubby or those jeans that don’t fit, never will fit and would not make my butt look good anyway – they’re going.
4. Watch 31 sunrises and truly enjoy them, as opposed to just driving to work and being oblivious to the wonderful world around me.
5. Learn to embrace my shortcomings and turn them into positive things and not stuff that I end up beating myself up over.
6. Either find a new job or quit bitching about my current one because I think I’m driving my husband nuts.
7. To not participate in office gossip.
8. To finally triumph over my irrational fear of baking with yeast. I will master bread in my 31st year of living!
9. To find a church home.
10. To organize my recipe collection.
11. To actually finish a first draft of my book (see birthday number 24, 27 and 29 … )
12. To actually make progress on Number 11.
13. To find a new county park and go hiking in it.
14. To see my out-of-town friends more often.
15. To go fishing with my dad.
16. To find a volunteer opportunity that I truly enjoy. I’ve been thinking about joining some sort of reading-mentor program. Reading is one of the things I enjoy most in life – I would like to share that joy with others.
17. To try and keep my car clean for 31 consecutive days in a row.
18. To make a budget and stick with it.

OK – I’m beginning to marvel at The Frugal Duchess for making 51 goals – holy hell, I’m burning out before 20!

19. To read 31 books that have to do with practical matters such as finance, DIY tricks, self-sustainable living, etc., and to write blog posts about each one of them.
20. To bookmark 31 frugal-living bloggers and read them regularly.
21. To try and not take myself too seriously.
22. To try and focus more at work and conquer my Twitter addiction. (I love the finance Tweeps, but I gotta tell you – those foodie Tweeps? They are FUNNY! And they post recipes! And now I have friends in Canada and India!)
23. To put myself in 31 situations that I wouldn’t normally be comfortable in – i.e. – finding a new church home and not inwardly grumbling during the “passing of the peace” (also known as the “passing of the peas” in more humorous settings), go to more Chamber of Commerce events to network with people, maybe join a book club???
24. Write 31 random notes to 31 of my random friends and surprise them with ACTUAL mail!

OK – these are truly more finance related.

25. In my 31st year, I will finally be free of credit card debt.
26. In my 31st year, I will be more mindful of my spending habits. I’m so much better than I was when I was 21 years old, but I still have my “trickle” habits and some outright poor ones (yes, I still love Jimmy John’s, but how can I justify paying $5 for a sandwich I could make at home?)
27. In my 31st year, I will pay off the Rattling Death Trap (RDT) and outright own a car for the first time since I was 16 years old and drove my beautiful blue Pontiac Sunbird that I bought from my cousin Jen. (And when I say “bought,” I bought half, my parents bought half and anytime I gave them lip, they reminded me that the “half” they owned consisted of the engine and the tires.)
28. In my 31st year, I’ll finally start investing my 401k again – and before you yell at me, I thought I had signed up, but the paperwork got mucked up!
29. In my 31st year, I will start paying attention to investment articles and make a genuine attempt at learning the lingo and actually understanding what they mean.

And finally …

30. In my 30th year, I got to marry my best friend in the whole wide world. In my 31st year, I will tell him daily that I love him, I will be better at not taking my bad days home with me from work and I will remember every day how lucky I am to be in such a great relationship.
31. I will try to think of 32 things to write next year, because I gotta be honest – this wasn’t as easy as it may look …

Anyway – love to all of you! I also promise in my 31st year that I will give you some more blog love. I’ve been swamped lately, but that’s no excuse to not commune with you regularly.

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11 thoughts on “31 Goals for my 31st Birthday

  1. Just out of curiosity, why not keep the “skinny” jeans and strive to fit into them again? While losing 31 pounds is admirable goal, it’s obviously not the amount of weight you NEED to lose. If I were in your shoes, I would whittle your list down to five (5) top items, and put weight loss at the top of that list.

  2. Wow. What a rude thing to say, Jay Gatsby. How can you assume to know this poster so well as to tell her how much weight to lose? How much weight should YOU lose? And then when you tell us, can we tell you that that’s not NEARLY enough?
    I think a small goal is perfectly acceptable. Then when you reach it you will feel a sense of accomplishment that may drive you to set more goals in that area if necessary.
    As for the ‘skinny’ jeans…every woman has ’em. Every person decides how much they mean to them. Maybe a tax deductable donation is worth more. 🙂

  3. Sorry Deb, but not rude at all. It has nothing to do with knowing her “well” or not. She volunteered the following:

    “Hell, I should lose more, but 31 sounds like a reasonable number.”

    What is it about “Hell, I should lose more” is so hard to understand? She clearly knows that she needs to lose more weight.

    The fact that every woman has “skinny jeans” and thinks its acceptable to throw them out in an effort to forget what she once looked like is a bit of a cop out. Sounds like you might have done the same, so look in the mirror before you start throwing out insults. I’m not ashamed of my reflection, are you?

  4. I guess I took “more” to mean just a couple pounds over 31, but she chose 31 because it was her 31st birthday. Maybe not far off from her goal. If this was a WEIGHT reduction blog I could understand your criticism.
    And yes, I did throw out my skinny jeans two years ago. You’re right – I wanted to forget what I looked like in them. They were from 1991…stone washed denim with zippers on the ankles. No one wants to remember that. I’m a happy mother of 2 with a BMI of 17 that I bust my arse for. I’m not ashamed of anything. Heck, I even use my real name.
    Sorry to waste posts on this.

  5. Just re-read my last post and I better correct my figures. Make that a BMI of 19. Typing error. But I’m sure I’ll get judged for it anyway.

  6. Wow – I’m going to wade into the fray here … whether or not any of us fit into our skinny jeans doesn’t contribute to whether or not I’m paying off my credit card debt. Although I will also admit – I think that my problem with self-control has a lot to do with my two major “areas” that I need to work on in life – my problem managing my money and my problem managing my weight (or the lack thereof.)

    And in Deb’s defense, since she’s done such an admirable job jumping to my aid – she runs regularly, eats organically and looks about the same she did in high school. 🙂 I think that Deb jumps to my defense because she’s known me since 5th grade and she remembers that it used to hurt my feelings when I got taunted because I was bigger than the rest of my classmates.

    And in Jay’s defense – you very successfully hold up a mirror to some of my shortcomings as a human and as a blogger.

    And finally, in my defense – I will be thrilled if I lose 31 pounds this year. I don’t know if it’s a goal that I will achieve. Is that pretty wishy-washy? Absolutely – but right now, I just want to be done paying off my credit card debt. That’s my biggest battle, pardon the pun. ;-p

  7. Michelle,

    We all have shortcomings/weaknesses. That said, many people are in such denial of them that it leads to things like out-of-control debt, weight gain, anger issues, etc…. I learned long ago that every criticism, put-down or insult has a grain of truth to it. Being defensive is just that – an instinctive defense mechanism – because there is often a grain of truth to every (perceived) criticism, put-down or insult. Thus, I try to examine everything people say about me from the perspective of self-improvement. If there is no deficit in the area being criticized, then I don’t feel defensive at all.

    I would be careful about trying to lose 31 pounds this year (of which there are less than six months left), as that might be medically-dangerous. If your schedule permits, try starting a program of 3-days a week of weight lifting and another 3 days of cardiovascular work. Focus on changing your body composition, not just on what the scale says. You may find that your weight only drops by 20 pounds, but you will have gained muscle. Less fat and more muscle ramps up your metabolism and at the end of the day, improves how you look and how your clothes fit.

    Don’t throw out your skinny clothes. Dedicate yourself to fitting into them again, even if they are “from 1991…stone washed denim with zippers on the ankles.” You may not wear them in public again, but they will remain a constant reminder of how you once looked. It’s similar to keeping your debt-reduction spreadsheets. You don’t throw away your old spreadsheets showing thousands of dollars in debt just because you’ve paid it off. You keep them as a reminder of where you were, and where you never want to be again.

  8. Michelle,
    I thought this list of 31 goals was a great idea, I’m going to borrow some of it for my 33rd year coming up. I figure since I’m addicted to lists it will be great motivation for me to get some things done. Thanks.

    And Jay Gatsby, even if you don’t weigh 500 lbs. your still an a**hole…examine that.

  9. Gosh almighty this is fun. Such a coincidence – today is the last day I weigh 190 and have a BMI of I don’t know what. Sure.
    Weight is such thing in our lives. We want to be skinny and we either work for it like Deb or ignore it like most of us. Right now my jeans are digging into me so bad (my only jeans, not my skinny jeans) that I HAVE to do something about it.
    I lack the discipline to take Gatsby’s advice.
    BTW if you had your 31st birthday, then this is your 32nd year? Your 32nd goal might be to ignore the Gatsy’s of the world.

  10. Mr. Gatsby –

    Since you seem so intent on using the criticism of others for your own self-improvement, consider the following:

    Self-involved fitness junkies who make it a point of giving unsolicited advice to others who are already aware of and publicly admitting their weight issues are only exhibiting clear, unabiguous signs of their own image problems and insecurities. Perhaps that self-examination you so scrupulously do should involve an investigation into why you insult others in order to make yourself feel superior in whatever ways you consider most important. Is it possible your intense focus on appearance is simply a mask for the myriad other aspects of your life in which you feel (perhaps rightfully so) that you are a complete failure? Social skills and common courtesy being two areas that spring immediately to mind. And, based on your interest in this particular blog, your financial ineptitude?

    In other words, Mr. Gatsby, the mirror can only show you so much about yourself. So stop staring at it, and figure out what your real issues are, okay?

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