24 (Goals) and Counting

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This past Saturday was my birthday, I’m 24 now. With that birthday came a) helping my family hold a yard sale, b) cleaning the garage, c) grocery shopping, d) buying and installing a ceiling light in my room, and e) finally getting my own library card, now that my address got switched back to my hometown. Yep, exciting day.

That, along with a few other incidents this weekend, actually made me start thinking a lot about my responsibilities now that I’m officially out of school and in the “real world.” Instead of expecting my parents to beg me for help or thank me effusively when it was done, I realized that I’m at the age where helping them is somewhat expected, given our close relationship. They’ve helped me out immensely over the last 23 years, so I think it’s my turn to start helping. Plus, I’m still piggybacking on Dad’s insurance since I’m trying the freelance/part time/living the dream thing, so I figure I owe him.

Today, I met with a great friend who I met at a college “road trip to the real world” back in January, when my life was a giant, undefined mess. He and I got coffee back in February, and I was in a bad place: I had just started a new job but was unsure about leaving school, my best friend had just passed away in a car accident, and generally, I felt like I had no plan and was feeling pretty depressed. When I saw him today, I had a whole new life, compared to the last time he saw me, and it felt great to tell him about what’s been going on and where I am. I feel like I finally have a pretty good handle on what I want to do and who I want to be. it’s a good feeling. It felt great hearing him say that I’ve done an amazing job of things in the past few months, and when I was describing what I do, I surprised myself with how much it was. Especially when I talked about what I was doing for Cyclocross Magazine- there aren’t many people my age who run a website for a magazine, from content to editing to publishing.

Now that I’m at that point of being somewhat figured out, I’ve started realizing the I need to look at the big picture of my life, think about things like budgeting for the next couple of years, paying attention to my taxes and working on building a decent chunk of savings. This is also my chance to take my racing seriously, to do what I love doing – writing – and work part time/freelance so I have more freedom and control. There’s a ton of learning I still want to do as well, and I have some major goals for this year. I feel like 24 is an oddly important age, since it’s really my first foray into the non-collegiate world. I’ve been defined as a student my whole life, so it’s weird thinking of myself in any other terms. But because of that, it just means I have a whole lot more I want to learn, school or not.

So, my 24 Goals:

  1. Learn/relearn French so I can understand (somewhat) live feeds of bike races where announcers are French
  2. Get better at bunny hopping and be able to do so while racing
  3. Get my financial life in order and pay off most of my student loans
  4. Blog at least 100 times in the course of the year
  5. Build up and customize my 2 cyclocross bikes in ways that I love
  6. Freelance for at least 2 other magazines
  7. Travel a lot more (LA next week, Cross Vegas, Nationals)
  8. Remount on downhills and weird surfaces
  9. Make more of an effort to make new female friends
  10. Cook more healthy food
  11. Buy a Powertap
  12. Spend more time on technique training
  13. Help build up the Rockstar Games cycling team blog into something legit
  14. Work on “the novel” and at least get a rough draft done this year
  15. Actually do all of the clothing alterations I’ve been meaning to do, rather than leaving it all in a big bag
  16. Keep my room, desk, computer, and files all neat and organized
  17. Avoid buying more clothing I won’t wear, shoes that aren’t comfortable, etc.
  18. Win at least 1 cyclocross race
  19. Update my resume and website regularly
  20. Spend more time with my sister doing awesome new things
  21. Get my boating license
  22. Get the boat in the backyard working and go boating
  23. At my parents house, turn the garage into a workout room and the basement into a decent place to hang out
  24. Make sure Cyclocross Magazine’s website is the absolute best and most up to date source for cyclocross information!

I’ll keep checking in on these as the year progresses. I wanted to make them non-cyclocross specific, though many are, because obviously, there is (slightly) more to my life than just cyclocross. I occasionally read books, for instance.

Anyway … there’s a fine line I’m learning about as I work on “living the dream” and doing what makes me happy, while trying to be a somewhat responsible adult who has a budget plan to pay off student loans. I think I’m at the age where there’s a happy medium between responsibility and having fun and taking risks, and I’m trying to make the most of it. I jump between the two fairly frequently: when I’m at my desk working, or reading stuff like The Money Book for Freelancers, I feel like I’m in that “responsible adult, kind of boring” category. But when I’m out riding, hanging out with pros, doing interviews, writing about fashion… I realize that I do want to be living the dream, and doing what I want to do now. If the money follows, awesome, but as long as I have enough to get by, I’m happy. I think that because I jump between those two mindsets, I have a fairly healthy grasp on what someone my age should be doing: what makes them happy, but always with the thought of the future in mind.

On that note, my 24-year-old self needs to get back to work.

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