Birthday sign.
(Image: Ylanite Koppens)

Today, I turned 28 years old. Besides the number, that’s the same sentence I started with when writing on my birthday last year. In rereading that post in preparation for writing today, there was a paragraph that I’m glad that I captured so well because it’s equally valid today. Here’s me, 365 days ago:

I always look forward to my birthday. As I get older, it’s less about the excitement of a celebration, but instead, because it’s as good a day as any to be kind to myself. I sleep late. I eat foods I enjoy. I watch or play what I like. I make myself stop worrying about things, breathe, and relax. At a time in my life when I feel pulled between wanting to make a difference in the world and also just worn down by it all, this is a much-needed day of solace, of smallness, of simplicity.

I’ve had a good day today. After moving so close to them, I finally got out on the ski slopes. I did some writing. I chatted with friends and family. I played outside with my dog. I’ll cook up a favorite meal tonight. And I’m looking forward to celebrating more with my wife in a couple of days, and my parents when they come to visit this weekend.

This past year has included some of the most significant changes in my personal life for a while. First, I left a job in which I was very secure, but it was wearing me down. Then, I took a job that was much lower stakes and that I enjoyed immensely but had to leave when my wife and I moved. And yeah, I moved hundreds of miles further away from family and friends to a new state, chasing the unknown.

And, so, I found myself reflecting lately on how I’d like this year to go. Not so much about what I want to accomplish but more about what I’d like to do. What do I want to do for me? I’m finally surrounded by all the opportunities that I’ve longed for. My little family has a secure income, even now as I search for a new job (an enormous privilege that I’m thankful for every day). How will I take advantage of it this year?

So, in no particular order, here are 28 things I’d like to do on my 28th year on Earth:

  1. Read more books than I did last year.
  2. Spend at least four weekends in a tent.
  3. Design more t-shirts than I did last year.
  4. Summit at least five peaks.
  5. Write more consistently than I did last year.
  6. Spend more time journaling than I did last year.
  7. Get in the habit of reaching for healthy snacks rather than junk food.
  8. Make more regular phone calls to family.
  9. Learn how to fix things in my home.
  10. Own up to mistakes more than I have in the past.
  11. Join a local club.
  12. Lend my talents to a local volunteer organization.
  13. Strike up conversations with strangers.
  14. Get good at cooking something with fresh ingredients.
  15. Finish at least one story-based video game.
  16. Make date night with my wife a priority.
  17. Close all my rings at least 50% of the days this year.
  18. Get out ice climbing.
  19. Climb at least three multi-pitch routes.
  20. Tick off at least 15 crag days.
  21. Find a local climbing partner. (Maybe this should have been #18)
  22. Take a non-local friend out climbing.
  23. Take my wife up a trad route.
  24. Learn a programming language / finish a programming course.
  25. Take a writing course.
  26. Take my wife on a surprise weekend trip.
  27. Play my trumpet. (Hooray for living in a house, not an apartment!)
  28. Work my way up to running a half-marathon.

Wish me luck! I’ll try to keep track as I tick things off in this Twitter thread. And though the number has become all but meaningless, it is, after all, my golden year. It’s going to be a good one. 🥳



❮ Previous post

Genius or Not, We Learn Best Together February 28, 2022

Next post ❯

Cloudflare Reveals Tidbits About iCloud Private Relay March 4, 2022