30 by 30 · Life Chronicles

30 by 30 List

Today I turn another page in the story that is my life. Today I turn 26. To some, like my 80-year old grandmother, I am still very young. To others, like my 11-year old niece or even the 18-year old freshmen in college, I am getting a little old.

Regardless of what others think of my age, I don’t think of it as any more than a number which I write down on a piece of paper. A marker that signifies which year I was born in. In reality, life is about so much more than our ages. I’m best friends with people four years younger than me and people fifteen years older than me … the age of the mind is something that transcends all of our physical ages.

Yet there is also something intriguing about numbers and the passing of time which I cannot deny. I am also intrigued by challenges, goals, lists, and life adventures. Putting the two together only led me to the logical conclusion that I need another list of things to do … in the next four years before I hit the big 3-0.

People who know me well will know that this isn’t the first time I’ve come up with a list of challenges for myself. They might even be shaking their heads and thinking, “Here we go again …” And I even had to stop and ask myself that question – why am I doing this? Is it to prove how many cool things I can do in the span of a certain length of time? Is it to show off a life filled with “exciting” things and grand adventures just for the sake of having them?

There’s something meaningless about living a life just for yourself – living to make yourself happy through excessive pleasures or excessive to-do lists or excessive thrill-seeking adventures or excessive – anything really. God didn’t make us to satisfy our own souls. He created us to satisfy our souls in Him and Him alone. I would be cheating myself out of the truest existence if I cut Him out of the picture and focused solely on what I could do on my own.

Forcing myself to sit down and re-evaluate my values did not make the desire for these things go away, however. Rather, I think it brought clarity to what I put on the list and why I’m making it. You see, I have a firm belief that God meant us to live our lives to the fullest – not by stuffing them to the brim with random things that might be fun – but by reaching our full potential, by using the gifts He gave us, by challenging ourselves, by growing, and ultimately by giving Him all the glory through everything we do. And if I don’t sit down and make lists – goals as it were – a lot of these things would slip by as pie-in-the-sky fancies that never get accomplished. I need a deadline, I need hard-and-fast written goals, I need people to keep me accountable. Of course accomplishing to-do lists brings me a sense of satisfaction. But ultimately, my real satisfaction will come when I stand face-to-face with my Maker and I can honestly say, “Lord, I didn’t waste my life. I used every bit of it up for You.” And that is the real reason for my lists and challenges.

Every list and challenge must come with a caveat, however. The caveat always is found within the Latin phrase Deo Volente – “Lord willing.” I plan, I dream, I make goals, I spring into action. But in the end, God’s plans are always better than my own. If He wants me to accomplish the goals on this list, then I believe I shall. If I don’t – or if I don’t accomplish them before age 30 – I’m sure that there will be time later in my life to do so or maybe He’ll take my life in a completely different direction. Let me never get so rigidly stuck to a list of rules that I can’t change them or be open to new ideas or new dreams. God has certainly shown me thus far in my life that His dreams for my life are always more exciting than my own.

He’s the One writing my story. And He has given me endless hope that there will be the perfect happy ending … because He’s the One who originally imagined happy endings.

So here we go! A list of challenges and goals – some physical, some mental, some emotional – but all of them designed to help me make the most of my life. Please don’t contest the value of the goals I’ve chosen for myself … 😉 If you disagree, why don’t you make your own list of things that will help you make the most of your life!

30 Things to Do Before I Turn 30 Years Old
1. Move out into my own apartment/house – CHECK!
2. Secret Goal #1
3. Visit my sponsor child, Gemechu, in Ethiopia
4. Go to the East Coast – namely Washington, D.C. – CHECK!
5. Complete a rough draft of a book that I can be decently proud of
6. Secret Goal #2
7. Read the Harry Potter series and watch the movies – CHECK!
8. Direct a CYT show
9. Have my own classroom – CHECK!
10. Finish my childhood scrapbook
11. Make someone’s dream come true
12. Have surgery [get my wisdom teeth out] – CHECK!
13. Take a month off to just rest – CHECK!
14. Plan a trip somewhere by bus or train and gather stories from the people I meet along the way
15. Go to the Space Needle
16. Reach out to someone who has hurt me in the past … forgive and set them free – CHECK
17. Begin learning another language
18. Reach out to homeless people
19. Make a book list and finish it
20. Buy a new car! – CHECK!
21. Study a book of the Bible on my own – CHECK!
22. Learn how to make a multi-course meal and do so
23. Run an endurance race of some sort
24. Write letters to the 5 people who have most impacted my life
25. Give away something really expensive
26. See a show on Broadway
27. Make something useful with my hands – like a blanket or an article of clothing
28. See someone come to Christ
29. Go on a sailboat
30. Learn to create a schedule that always makes time for people more than anything else

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