I’ve been busy the last few days, so I’m taking advantage of this extra leap day that February has provided us to catch up on my annual birthday post.

The past few years, I’ve used my birthday as a chance to lay out a set of goals that I wanted to complete over the next year. It was aspirational, but ultimately a bit too New Year Resolution-y” and ended up being more of a stressor than a motivator. With 28 or so things to do in a year, that means accomplishing — checks math — one of those items every couple of weeks. Yikes. In reality, I hardly looked at the list until the end of December, and then scrambled over the next couple months to try to check a few more off. Yikes. Though I still like the idea, it wasn’t leaving me feeling good.

So I’m not gonna do that this year.

Instead, I’d like to reflect a little on my 30th year here on Earth, and ruminate a bit on where my life is headed. And I’ll probably make another list… but different. You’ll see.

My Thirtieth Year

As far as milestones are concerned, this past year was dominated by going through the process of finding and purchasing our first home, and, of course, moving in and making it our own. If I’m honest, I’m still not particularly thrilled about the whole thing, but it makes my wife very happy which is good enough for me. Someday I’ll tell the whole story of our journey into home ownership — in fact, I typed a large portion of it out just now, but this isn’t the right time for that tale.

I lost a few loved ones. I made new friends. I enjoyed my first full year of mountain guiding — a goal I’d been working toward for over a decade. I achieved climbing, running, and skiing goals that I’d set for myself. It was probably the most active year of my life.

I faced difficult conversations when I wasn’t doing my best in some relationships, but emerged stronger, more self-aware, and gained more humility from them.

But perhaps the best reflection going into my 30th birthday came from a question my wife posed to me on a walk just a few days ahead of her own 30th (just two days before mine): Did I feel good about going into my 30s or did I resent it?

It seems like there are a whole lot of people who resent turning 30. Maybe because it’s seen as leaving the last years of your youth behind? Maybe because it can be a wake up call if you’re not traveling along the path you imagined for yourself career or family-wise?

But not me. I have no regrets about my 20s, and feel very fortunate to say that I’m happy where I’ve landed so far. I’ve got a wonderful wife and little family with our fur babies. I’m working in the field that I want, and actually get to use what I studied in school. I’ve learned so much over the last decade about who I am, what I’m good at, and what I’m not. I’m living in a place that allows me to pursue climbing, running, skiing, hiking, and many other outdoor adventures. I have a place of my own to live, and some financial stability. I’m not left needing, only hungry to experience ever more.

I think my 30s will be my best decade yet.

The Next Decade

Alright, I promised you a list. Rather than stuff my calendar with more obligations each month, this year I’ve been thinking about a more measured and manageable approach to goal-setting.

This year, I’d like to lay out a set of 10 goals that I’d like to accomplish over the next decade. At just one per year, and with the option to readjust each birthday, I think I’ll be cause to stay on the bandwagon this time around.

Now, I did just put together my Impossible List just a few months ago, which serves a similarly purpose. But I’m thinking about this post as an opportunity to prioritize some items already present there. Let’s dig in.

  1. Start my own small business. The big one, and what I’m most anxious and excited to pursue this year. I’ve come to realize that I’m only truly happy and fulfilled when I get to call the shots. I’ve got ideas that I want to be able to implement without asking anyone’s permission. I want to be able to set my own schedule to allow more time for learning, training, and progressing, in addition to wanting the opportunity travel and spend more quality time with my wife. I’ve got both short-term and long-term plans/dreams that I think could work really well, and I’m eager to give them a shot. It’s my big leap.
  2. Climb in Yosemite National Park.
  3. Complete a thru-hike.
  4. Run a marathon.
  5. Visit a new country.
  6. Develop an app.
  7. Earn my AMGA Rock Guide certification.
  8. Establish annual trips with a few close friends and family.
  9. Reestablish an annual big backpacking trip with my wife.
  10. Write or guest write for a favorite blog.

The time has already begun. Wish me luck!

Previously: 27, 28, 29


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