Update on 30 Before 30

So, pros and cons of having a 30 before 30 list:

Pro: You do not feel obligated to make New Years resolutions.

Con: You constantly feel like you have 30 resolutions.

So because of New Years and people making lists of ways to better themselves, I figured it was time for an update. Below is a list of items that have seen some progress in the last 6-12 months:

#1. Finish grad school.

Not exactly close, but not exactly far away. Had a major set-back this year with my advisor being fired (possibly the worst thing that ever could happen to a graduate student). Despite this, there has been progress. Had a paper submitted this year (yay!), and have ideas with my coauthors for some cool new directions (double yay!). I have a thesis problem (yay!) that I think is absolutely awesome (double yay!)–though it does look daunting in terms of work. AND, I have applied (hopefully successfully) to give a talk on my research at an international conference this year (yay!).

#2. Pay off car loan.

This will be done much earlier than expected…in fact, it will probably be done by May, 2012. As of THIS MOMENT, only owe $700. Considering the fact that I started making payments on the $11,000 loan in August, 2009, I’m pretty damn proud of myself.

#13. Cook a complete Thanksgiving meal.

Well, between this year and last year I have cooked a complete Thanksgiving meal–and my mother thinks my performance this year was worth knocking the item off the list. That’s because this year I did the bird, the stuffing, the gravy, and the dessert. I really enjoyed this–and I LOVED learning the family stuffing recipe. I don’t know why people freak out over cooking turkeys–twas easy. Below is a picture of me and my first bird (this picture also indicates that I dyed my hair again…let’s pretend I never said that that would be a one-time occurrence).

#15. Set up a healthy retirement/investment account.

Well, in September I opened a Roth IRA. I even put money in it. Whether or not the account is “healthy” is a matter of interpretation…especially with the market’s performance in the last year. Still, it’s progress. And I will make another contribution next year. I’m going to take some of my newly-learned skills of investing (see #16) to make more intelligent choices this year, but still…going from nothing to something is progress.

#16. Finish every unread or partially read book I own.

Well, progress was made, but I am nowhere near done. Especially since I bought some more books this year–GAH! Even worse, in my attempt to “organize and prioritize” I made a list of “Books I WANT to read”–double GAH!! Anyway, here is the list of books read from May 1, 2011 (the last time we updated) until this moment:

  • Things Falls Apart, C. Achebe
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, “J. Austen”
  • The Savage Detectives, R. Bolano
  • Post Office, C. Bukowski
  • Possession, A.S. Byatt
  • The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, M. Chabon
  • Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth, A. Doxiadis etal
  • Around the Fire Stories, A.C. Doyle
  • The French Lieutenant’s Woman, J.Fowles
  • Genius, J. Gleick
  • Tess of the d’Urbervilles, T. Hardy
  • Knowledge Deficit, E.D. Hirsch
  • The Jungle Book, R.Kipling
  • Love in the Time of Cholera, G.G. Marquez
  • Starting a Running a Profitable Investment Club, O’Hara & Janke
  • The Imperfectionists, T. Rachman
  • Dracula, B.Stoker
  • Monsieur Beaucaire, B. Tarkington

Now, on the upside, from May 2011 to January 2012 I have officially read more books than I did between May 2010 and May 2011…so I am making more time to read (or just reading more quickly, or just reading shorter books). AND, according to my records this means I only have 70-some books to go before this item can be checked off the list!

#22. Teach a non-terminal course at a college.

DONE, well, almost. Thanks to the Gods of my Department in the Spring 2012 semester I get to teach the first of a three-semester sequence for (mostly freshmen) #*&%^!<@?> majors! Woo-hoo!!!!

#25. Start and maintain a blog.

Ironically, I received an email last night from WordPress telling me just how much “progress” my blog has made in the last calendar year. I reached over 1,000 hits. Most readers seem to search for my blog by using food-related words like “cheesecake” and “pumpkin.” And I’ve been read on five different continents. Not too shabby…especially for a grad student who really has better things to do with her time than blog. =)

#26. Go to a rugby game.

DONE!!! It was a blast. Apparently our University has a “club” rugby team. The games are free, they are frequent, and you’re allowed to bring your dog. The only downsides are that it’s in the middle of nowhere and there’s nowhere to sit. I’m also still not quite sure who won, but I really enjoyed it. As did my boyfriend. We’re definitely going back.

#29. Donate blood.

Conquered the fear of the large needle. Since May I have given blood twice. I know I need to do it again soon…once the semester starts, I’ll go back. I even have a “frequent donor” card. Learned that I am O-negative, and at one point my blood pressure was 98/68–which indicates I’m making significant progress towards “reach ideal weight/health” (because Lord knows low-blood-pressure does NOT run in my family!).


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