26 before 27, and a final tally on 25 before 26

I’ve been putting off writing this post for days now — nineteen days to be exact! A whole fortnight and then some, and a whole transition from early fall weather into the cool, wet month of November. Yikes. 

It’s not that the update itself is hard to write, that’s pretty self-explanatory. A simple update on how many more items I got to cross off of last years birthday bucket list, a little bit of reflection on the twists and turns of the year that I wasn’t expecting and the exciting adventures and less than ideal detours made along the way. And I will certainly do that in this post, easy peez, as the kids say.

No, what has been difficult about writing this post is that I still haven’t finished writing my “26 before 27” bucket list.

oct 18 donut

I spent all of October attempting to grow this year’s list to twenty-six items, but I just kept coming up stumped. It’s not that I don’t have goals for this year — things that I want to do, tasks that I want to accomplish, places I want to go and people I want to see — I have all of those in bucket loads. It’s not that I even hold myself steadfast to the commitments I make in these lists; as I’ve said before, these birthday bucket lists really just act as a guidepost for my wants, needs, wishes, and goals for the year. It’s exciting and fun to work towards them, but also to see how those wants, needs, wishes, and goals change and transform over the course of a year. So what, exactly, has been holding me back from completing this year’s list?

oct 18 feet

Truthfully, I still don’t know. Coming into my twenty-sixth year on this earth has meant a lot of change, a lot of transitioning, and a lot of uncertainty. The day before my birthday, my degree was officially conferred, and with it came a whole lot of questions from friends, family, colleagues, former professors, and current mentors.

“Are you working in your field? What kind of jobs are you applying for? What do you plan on doing?” Heck, there have even been personal transition questions, especially surrounding the future of my partnership and other aspects of my personal life. 

In a way, I still feel like I am in a bit of a liminal space. Betwixt and between different times in my life, shedding old identities and growing into new ones, and still settling like autumn leaves.

Maybe that’s the reason I can’t seem to finish this list. I’m not settled enough, I don’t have a clear enough vision of where I am going or where I even want to be going.

And, perhaps, that’s okay. Perhaps this twenty-sixth year — or at least the start of it — is going to be all about accepting myself for where I am at, and giving myself compassion when I do not know which fork to take or which road calls my name. Perhaps it will be all about cultivating acceptance with the unknown, unseen path before me in order to create the space and clarity I am seeking.


Perhaps this twenty-sixth year will be a true work in progress.

And so, I’m leaving my list to be a work in progress as well. As of today, I’ve added seventeen items to the list. Here’s to another year and season of life, and to works in progress. Cheers!

  1. Work towards career (full time, in my field or adjacent/in-line with values)
  2. Go white water rafting
  3. Sort out health stuff (eyes checked, new doctor, manage migraines, insurance…)
  4. Finish registration applications
  5. Find consistent counselling
  6. Start actively saving for retirement
  7. Finish framing and hanging art and photos for the house
  8. Kayak along the canal
  9. Visit the Nature Museum
  10. Participate in another 30-day yoga challenge
  11. Get a massage
  12. Cultivate more presence in relationships (have folks over more, send more cards)
  13. Attend a trauma informed yoga training
  14. Start a physical recipe box
  15. Go on more “artist dates”
  16. Grow more flowers
  17. Attend Emily’s wedding in November


Oh, and PS, here’s how last year’s list ended up shaping out. You’ll notice a bit of overflow from this list onto the present list, hehe…

  1. Make a serious commitment to self-care
  2. Complete my master’s
  3. Go white water rafting
  4. Start to exercise consistently I’m working out more consistently than I have since they stopped making me doing it for a grade. It’s not a perfect practice, but I’m listening to my body, so I’m calling it a win! 
  5. Go to another dance class
  6. Visit Stanley Park
  7. Visit Bowen Island  In my physical journal, I crossed out Bowen and changed it to Vancouver Island. Priorities changed, and while I only made it out for a day, it was a lovely day spend with a lovely friend.
  8. See the gardens at UBC
  9. Visit Lighthouse Park
  10. Go on a mini post-MCPAT vacation Camping with my partner and their family.
  11. Complete at least one large painting
  12. Have our third anniversary in Quebec City All booked and ready for next week!
  13. Commit to journalling more
  14. Go rock climbing again
  15. Practice more gratitude
  16. Complete (at least) three self-compassion meditations
  17. Attend Taryn’s wedding
  18. Visit Emily, in Hamilton 
  19. See Rockcliffe Park in the fall Rescheduled due to illness, but it’s still scheduled for fall, so… I’m counting it, haha.
  20. Declutter, downsize, + simplify
  21. Start being (mostly) organized again
  22. Throw an unbirthday gathering once home in Ottawa
  23. Read eight books for fun — not just blogs + articles Twenty! I’ve read twenty books for fun, not school! Unheard of since probably 2012.
  24. More commitment to living sustainably, both in life and at work/practicum
  25. Add (at least) another month’s worth of $ to the “fuck off fund”/emergency fund Life throws us a lot of curve balls sometimes, and I’m very glad to have had this fund when I needed it twice last year.

2 Replies to “26 before 27, and a final tally on 25 before 26”

    1. An artist date is an idea from “The Artist’s Way” book! Essentially, you make time every week to take yourself on a little date, by yourself, for an hour, to nourish your own creative process and self. The book recommends a few suggestions — like going to a museum or going on a walk — but really it’s just about play, exploration, and giving yourself the freedom to be alone and do something just for you on a weekly basis.

      If you try it, let me know how it goes!

      Liked by 1 person

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