Tag Archives: bucket list

30 Before 30 – Grandfather’s arsenal


Got this in the mail today from my Grandfather. The benefit of writing other people onto your 30 before 30 list is that you get to see how they respond. My Grammy is so excited, that she’s actually started her own “80 before 80” list (she’s got 5 years to go – we won’t shove 80 major life activities into a year!) and my Grandfather, whose time in the ATF and other government service I’d like to document, set me the handwritten note on the back of a birthday card. (Apparently Grandfather has a veritable arsenal in his house somewhere. I’ll probably pass on the machine guns, but will happily record his history.)

I’m really excited that this project is giving me the chance to really know my grandparents as an adult. They both had a big hand in raising me, and I’m glad they’re willing to be open with me and share parts of their lives that I’ve only learned about in fragments over the years.




Filed under 30 Before 30

Thirty before 30 – the official bucket list

I can’t find any photos of myself from 2002 – did no one have a camera? That’s probably actually a good thing… I wasn’t super camera ready back then.

A few months ago I read this list of 30 things everyone woman should have/know by the time she turns 30 on the Huffington Post. Some of it I agreed with – some of it I thought was lame. (Item number one in particular – why would you want to have an old boyfriend you could see yourself going back to? Unless you live in a rom-com, this is actually a super sad thing to have.)

Even though the Huffington Post’s list was kind of stupid, I liked the idea and decided to make my own list.

My 29th birthday is in a week, and inspired by the article and by my friend Mindy,  I’ve come up with my own 30 Before 30 list. Thirty things I want to make 100% sure I do before I step foot into my next decade.

Turns out, coming up with 30 things I want to do before my 20s die was actually kind of hard. But, I think this is a pretty good list and I think I can actually accomplish it. In no particular order:

  • Shoot a gun with my dad. Shooting just feels like one of those basic skill things that I should at least attempt to learn how to do. And, my dad was a rancher in his life before kids, so he feels like the right person to ask to teach me.  I planned on doing this over the holiday break and then, two days before I left for Tucson, Sandy Hook happened. “Shoot a gun” no longer feels right to me as a life goal, so I’m changing this one to: Go on a long hike with my dad at Turkey Creek. He’s a huge hiker and knows all the best trails in Southern AZ, so this way I still get to spend time with my dad, without recreating using an object I don’t feel comfortable with.
  • Attend a silence and meditation retreat weekend. Earlier this year a very zen coworker of mine suggested this to me after he returned from a 10 day silence retreat. (He probably wants me to stop talking so much. I don’t look super Irish, but am definitely blessed with the gift of the gab.) If I tried a full week, it would end like the episode of the L-Word where Bette tries this and goes all crazy. But I can do a weekend. Um, I can probably do a weekend.
  • Take a real baking class
  • Finish reading Love in the Time of Cholera. Jesus Christo – I’ve been trying to get this book read since I was 27. I’m still on page 200. I think it’s because Florentino Ariza is SO annoying and creepy and I hate him.
  • Take a trapeze lesson. This one comes from my amazing, beautiful best friend Adriane. It’s going to be super-awkward.
  • Ride a horse. Haven’t done this since my age was in the single digits.
  • Take my mom on a hot air balloon ride. She’s always wanted to. I’m scared of heights. Seems like a must do.
  • Participate in a grape stomp.
  • Take and do well on the GMAT
  • Take ballet. When I was 5 I quit ballet, because the teacher at Tucson Parks & Rec didn’t think I was graceful. (Who says that to a 5 year old?!) I’m still not, but maybe I can approach graceful-ish?
  • Run a marathon in 4:45.
  • Run one race – any length – a month just to stay in the habit.
  • See the Grand Canyon. Yeah – born and bred Arizonan whose never seen it. Humiliating.
  • Buy a washing machine. I hate spending money on boring things, even boring things I can afford. Putting this on here will force me to do it.
  • Be a better friend. The kind of friend who calls people back, keeps up on letters, and isn’t afraid to actually talk about feelings and stuff.
  • Finally get that brother-sister tattoo with my brother, and sister-sister tattoo with my little sis.
  • Overcome my fear(s) of swimming, fish, and the ocean and go snorkeling with mom when we go to the Bahamas.
  • Visit two countries that are not contiguous to the U.S.
  • Do the 21-day Vegan Kickstart 
  • Visit a state I’ve never been to, for non-work related reasons.
  • Join the St. Johns neighborhood association. (Update I haven’t done this yet, but I did join the City Club and I’m counting it because it’s similar in spirit and also, I think we might have to move out of our St. John’s shack in which case joining the neighborhood association makes no sense.)
  • Find meaningful volunteer work to do in my neighborhood and stick to it for longer than a month.
  • Go home to spend time with my parents once a quarter.
  • Get my Grammy to tell me her life story, and write it down.
  • Get my Grandfather to tell me his crazy ATF moonshiner stories and write those down too.
  • Write something and get it published again. Don’t be fussy or pretentious about where – four years is a really big gap in the old clips portfolio.
  • Get in contact with the other Megan E. Irwin from Phoenix and find out if she is my evil twin.
  • Visit the house I grew up in and say good-bye to it, finally.
  • Get completely debt free, including student loan debt.
  • Celebrate and make a big deal out of our 10-year friendiversary with Luis and Adriane.


Filed under Growing Pains, Life

Summer planning and possibilities.

Our first summer – a year before I moved to Oregon I came to visit Oliver. You can see why I made the move less than a year later.

Today was a perfect Portland summer day. Almost, but not quite, 90 degrees. Not a cloud in the sky and 0% chance of rain.

I adore summer. It fills me with a sense of possibility and slight recklessness – a feeling that something great is about to happen. The feeling of hope and excitement that summer brings is a little stronger here in Oregon (after all, I’ve endured months of rain!) but even in 110-degree Arizona I felt the same way. As a kid, summer was the time to stay up really late scheming, reading book after book, worrying about the future. In college and the few years beyond, it was the time to abandon responsibility, to go a little crazy, to wear my swim suit all day.

And, always, at the end of summer comes the chance to reinvent, to calm down for the fall. I was that nerd who always planned – over planned – the first day of school from my outfit to my notebooks. My birthday falls over Labor Day weekend. The official end of summer and the perfect opportunity to plan all the ways I’ll be better next year.

Today, obviously, I don’t get completely reckless just because it’s summer, though I do, occasionally, leave work by 4 on Friday. A couple years ago a co-worker had what she deemed “epic summer.” I admire her energy, but decided to allow myself to feel ok about just having “pretty good summer.”

Whether this summer turns out epic or just pretty good (which would be fine with me), I do still have my birthday at the end. This year I turn 29. I’m excited and I also feel like I need to really do something with my 29th year. Taking a page from my friend Mindy, I’ve decided to try and come up with a “30 before 30” list. The only trouble is besides “finally go see the Grand Canyon” I have no idea what to put on it. There are some things on my lifetime bucket list (qualify for and run Western States, live in a foreign country) that are unrealistic to start on my 29th birthday and complete by my 30th.

So I’m taking suggestions.  I don’t have unlimited funds, but I can afford some travel. I get 20 days of vacation time a year. I’m vegetarian (and one goal on the list might be “finally go vegan” so no weird food suggestions.) I can only think of two other things – skydiving and bungee jumping – that are absolutely 100% not ever going on a list of things to do in my lifetime.

I think those are the only rules. So – help me out here… what goes on the list?





Filed under Life, Portland