Friday, January 21, 2011

30 Random Reflections on Turning 30.

I thought I'd "celebrate" my 30th birthday by putting out some random reflections on where I've been and where I hope to go. Some are resolutions for the next 30 years.

1. How am I still in school? I always planned on finishing school and getting a job before 30. Now the big 30 is here and I'm still in school and facing a very bleak job market.  Finishing my PhD is definitely my top priority of this year.

2. I'm glad we were able to purchase our home. I may not have career stability but I am so happy I have a safe, warm place to live. I reflect daily on the suffering of the homeless in our city and it really makes me appreciate what I have.

3. I never thought that at 19 I would meet the love of my life and marry him at 24. I kinda figured I'd find love around the same time I finished school and started my career. I am so glad that I did things the other way around. I would have never made it through my PhD without the love and support of my husband, and I can face my uncertain future knowing he is by my side.

4. We should have started our family sooner. We put off having kids while I was in school for what seemed to be all the right reasons at the time. Now we've realized that there were a few good windows of opportunity that we passed up on and we now have no choice in the matter. We must put off having kids until my job situation gets resolved. I hope a child will be a part of our future.

5. I am really anxious, but am trying to be excited and optimistic, about getting a job. I have always had the next step clear in my mind. Finish high school then do my B.A. honours, then my M.A. then my PhD. But now, other than knowing I need to get a job, there is so much uncertainty. I am resolve to remain positive and optimistic.

6. I love being an archaeologist and do not regret the choices I've made in terms of my academic career and professional development. There are tons of things I could have done differently but there is no guarantee they would have made anything any better so I refuse to dwell on them. Archaeology is always going to be an important part of my life and who I am. I can't imagine not heading back into the field again in the future.

7. I plan to continue volunteering regularly but really focus in on what is important to me. My community is very important to me so I am going to make time for it. I love the group my sister-in-law has started (Because Edmonton Cares) and look forward to the monthly volunteer and social outings it will provide.

8. I really want to travel more. And by travel I mean vacation. I've gotten to go to some amazing places for my research but in 10 years I have only been on one trip with my husband. That has to change. We are going to go to our top three places: Japan, Peru, and Egypt.

9. I am also going to take my husband to Tanzania to introduce him to a country I love and that is very much a part of me.

10. I am committed to cultivating a positive state of mind.

11. I am committed to taking better care of my physical self. I hope to work my way up to practicing yoga daily. I have been making small changes in my diet which in the long term should make a huge difference.

12. I've realized I'm not a very good friend, but at the same time recognize that it is inevitable that friendships change and I should not mourn their loss. If I regret a lost friendship then I can attempt to renew it. If not, I need to let it go. I am also going to nurture those friendships which are important to me to give them strength and longevity.

13. I need to drink more water.

14. We bought our house because we loved the area. I am going to go for walks in our ravine more. This will be good for both my physical and mental health. And also allow me to practice photography.

15. I want to explore my cookbooks more and expand my repertoire. Healthy, tasty food prepared at home is ultimately more satisfying than a fast food quick fix. That said I'm still going to enjoy my occassional big mac and fries.

16. I am going to read all of the books on my 501 list.

17. I am going to sew and knit more.

18. I really want to finish some xbox360 games (too many to mention) that I just couldn't be distracted by while I was writing my dissertation. At the same time I want to find other things to do that will get me up and away from the tv.

19. I still want to go to Jeep Camp. Before we trade my little red 98 jeep wrangler in, I'll have to take it to camp for one last hurrah.

20. I bought my husband a guitar for christmas a few years ago and it's been pretty neglected. I think it's time for me to learn how to play it.

21. I'm looking forward to finishing our landscaping this summer so we can enjoy our yard. I have plans to spend many evenings on our deck with a glass of wine and a good book.

22. I'm pretty good about keeping the clutter in our house down to a minimum but there are a ton of boxes in our basement which suggest otherwise. We've got to decide what to do with the 24 boxes of books and 20+ boxes of Star Wars memorabilia down there. This means coming up with a realistic plan for finishing our basement including design, budget, and timeline for completion. We definitely want a little wine cellar down there but will also need a guest bedroom, some entertaining space, and tons of bookshelves.

23. I am going to write a book about my experiences in archaeology. I know this sounds crazy after complaining so much about how difficult writing my dissertation has been but this book will be less academic and more of a memoir or general interest book. I'll probably self publish it but may try to shop it around if I actually get it done. I also have at least three academic publications based on my research planned which I hope to submit by my next birthday.

24. I am going to publish a "coffee table" style book of my photos from Tanzania. I started it years ago but want to finish it soon. I think it would be a nice thank you gift for my supervisor when my PhD is done, as well as something nice to share with family and friends.

25. No matter what sort of job I end up in, I am committed to launching CHIRP: Cultural Hertiage in Iringa Research Project. I'll blog more on this project later. 

26. More family time. With a good sized extended family already, and another niece or nephew on the way, I plan on hosting more family dinners and finding more events in our wonderful city to share with my family. My husband and I are pretty bad about getting home, crashing and declining invitations to go out and do things. I want to turn the tables and not just accept more invitations but send more invitations out myself.

27. I want to continue to try new ways of being active. I've previously done classes in yoga, ballroom dancing, belly dance (including bellyflam, tribal, and cardio), revving, and kickboxing. I'm eager to expand upon my yoga repertoire (so many different types of yoga!!!), get back into bellydance, as well as try new things like rock climbing and roller derby. I haven't been skiing since high school so a ski trip is a must and I might just try snowboarding as well (though I'll do that on the bunny slopes at one of our great local ski hills).

28. I've got to start celebrating my accomplishments. This includes not beating up on myself when things go amiss.

29. Continue to remember to breathe! The best advice I ever received and I come back to it daily.

30. Blog more : )

So I've had a pretty good run so far and despite a little uncertainty in my immediate future, I think there are some pretty great things ahead of me. I've gone through a lot of ups and downs, much of which I haven't written about here (posts for the future perhaps),  but as the randomness above shows I'm really trying to focus on looking forward positively.

Happy Birthday to me!


  1. Great read Katie! I think everyone should do a list like this, really puts one's life in perspective. Maybe I'll steal your idea for my blog. :)

  2. Love it :) AND I think you're a great friend!

    I think we should go take a Zumba class and see what all the hype is about. Plus, I'm always up for a walk in the river valley so just call and I'll meet you :)

    Hugs and happy 30th KT!

  3. What a great post Katie! I also think you're a great friend. As you said in #28, you got to stop beating yourself up (because in my books you are amazing).

    A month or so after this baby pops out, I plan on cashing in my Cameron Heights Pub Auction item (unlimited yoga for a month)... maybe we can check out a few of those new yoga classes together!

    Once again, loved this post... brings me a little bit closer to you, my dear friend!

    Happy Birthday!!!

  4. This is an excellent blog, Katie. Thank you for sharing these thoughts with all of us. Happy birthday too!

  5. You seem so honest! I love your to-do list :)