Two weeks before I turned 25, I read about the 25 by 25 list: 25 goals to accomplish by your 25th birthday.
Imagine my heartbreak when I realised I had no time to write – let alone fulfil – such a list. I felt totally left out. There’s all these 24 year olds getting tattoos, saving for mortgage deposits, travelling. What was I doing? Practicing my cartwheels and eating a Magnum*.
So I’ve made a new thing: 25 at 25. It’s just as catchy and gives me another 365 days to tick off my goals.
Not that you should need arbitrary deadlines to live your dreams.
I mean, I kind of do. I really like fun lists.
My 25 at 25 list
1. Pass my driving test
I have a car and I can’t drive. Boo! I’ve been taking lessons for *ahem* a few months now, so I need to start thinking about booking my theory and passing my test. But first I’ve got lots of practising to do – and maybe some studying…
2. Visit New York City
It’s been my dream to go to New York since I was about 5 years old – the shiny skyscrapers, the yellow taxis, the twinkly lights, the brownstone apartments, the vast department stories… the bagels, the pretzels, the burgers and the pizza – oh, the pizza.
It might be 20 years later, but I’m finally arranging my trip! Fingers crossed for this autumn – next spring at the latest! If anyone has any recommendations for places to visit/eat/shop, please let me know in the comments!
3. Complete Duolingo French
Because ‘learn French’ is a bit subjective: how do you know when you’ve learnt it? I’ve got to make these goals SMART, amiright? If you’ve not heard of it before, Duolingo is an language-learning app – so far I’ve been armed with handy phrases like: ‘I like water and alcohol’. But there’s lots of levels to complete so hopefully I’ll be tres fluent by the end – wish me luck! (Or, bonne chance?)
4. Blog at least twice a month
It’s not a Nikki list unless there’s a blogging goal, right? Last year I was been guilty of not finding enough time to write posts and take photographs, so I’ll try and be a dash more organised this time.
5. Hit the halfway point with my savings
After I finished university, I moved back home – and I’m still here. But I’m okay with that, because it’s given me the chance to save for a deposit (ugh, too grown up). Saving for a deposit while renting a flat in the UK is a feat that’s practically impossible unless you earn a lot of money and live somewhere mighty cheap. This year I’d like to hit a halfway point with my savings. My New York goal might make this a tad trickier, but I’ll do it.
6. Start writing something big
I’m proud to say 24 saw me writing for my job, for a charity festival and for my blog. Can I call myself a writer now? I’m hoping that 25 will see me add to that list with something even bigger. I’m not saying ‘write a novel by the time I’m 26’, because that would be insane and I’m a busy lady. A start would be nice though.
7. Find a signature scent
I once read (this is how all my stories start) a book about Parisian ladies which advised: ‘you should find your signature perfume by 30 and wear it for the next 30 years’. I thought that sounded wonderfully romantic. Sadly, I’m yet to find one I really like. I must have a weird sense of smell or something, because most perfumes just smell a bit artificial and chemical-y to me when I test them (although they always smell great on other people!). If you can think of a scent I might like, please, please, please do let me know in the comments!
8. Eat more foods
In 2015, I challenged myself to eat a new food every week – and I totally did it! I’m going to try to keep sampling unknown delicacies (I draw the line at snails) until I’m no longer classed as ‘Picky Nikki’. Because if a taunt rhymes and it’s true, you’re kind of stuck with it for life.
9. Get in shape
I’m pretty lazy. I eat quite a lot of junk food. I’ve never been massively body-confident, which is a shame because I know I’ll look back and be like ‘damn, I was hot, I should have worn more crop tops’ (I hope this is how I talk when I’m old). Whenever I complete a Blogilates workout, or whatever form of exercise I choose, I get a big boost of confidence – so getting into shape is sort of a no-brainer.
10. Do more art
Drawing and painting makes me feel really relaxed and happy. There’s no stress or worry – I’m just in the flow. If I make anything nice, I’ll make sure I post it on Twitter or Instagram!
11. Learn to cook 5 epic dishes
I can’t really cook, but it sounds like the sort of life skill I need to acquire at some point. I want to learn to make a few delicious meals I can fall back on. And people will be like: ‘have you ever tried Nikki’s signature chicken dish? It’s amazing’. (Er, again, any delicious recipes – post ’em in the comments section or drop me a message on social media.)
12. Worry less
I think I’ve been worrisome all my life, but I’m slowly learning how to to deal with problems, stop dwelling on things that bother me and chill myself out (answer: counting slow, deep breaths).
13. Drink more water
I first saw this tip in a Sabrina the Teenage Witch magazine I acquired in the late 90s. #FunFact. Sadl I didn’t listen to Melissa Joan Hart’s advice and I don’t drink the recommended 2 litres/8 glasses a day, it’s surprisingly difficult but I shall keep trying.
14. Eat more fruit and veg
Fruit and vegetables are good for you, blah blah blah.
15. Plan a trip to Italy
I probably won’t be able to go to Italy and New York in the same year – unless I stumble across a winning lottery ticket (a la Charlie and his golden ticket). So I intend to plan my Italy trip instead. Milan, Rome, Florence or Venice? I’m going to eat all the pizza and gelato.
16. Start buying better quality things
Last year I got myself a Macbook, which, until I bought a car, was the most expensive thing I’d ever purchased. I love it dearly. This year I’m hoping to invest in better quality clothes and products – nice (but not super expensive) things that last for years, instead of cheap-and-cheerful things that fall apart in weeks. Yes New Look, I’m talking about your shoes.
17. See more live entertainment
I couldn’t think of a less ponsy way to describe ‘gigs, musicals and theatre’. I’ve done pretty well in 2016 – a jazz orchestra (wait, am I 25 or 65?), a murder mystery play, a Post Modern Jukebox show, Rocky Horror, a festival, Pixie Lott in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and, next month, I’m seeing The Last Shadow Puppets. I dont think I have anything else planned, better get booking!
18. Go on a date
18. Eat more pizza
I was going to set a goal of going on a date this year, but ugh. So I’m going to set a goal to eat more pizza because pizza > boys.
19. Watch IMDBs top 20 films of all time
I’ve taken this one very seriously and have crossed off at least 2 this month: Goodfellas and The Godfather. I bet Amazon will pop up with ‘recommended Mafia movies for you’ soon. You can read the top-rated 250 films here – I only have 4 left!
20. Keep taking pictures
I’m aware I can get a bit snap-happy and irritating (my bad) but when I have my own place I want to fill the walls with framed photos – of the people I love, stuff I’ve done, places I’ve been. Can’t do that without taking pictures now, can I?
21. Disconnect from technology more often
I am almost certainly a phone addict, nearly always looking at a screen of some sort. Constantly refreshing Facebook and Instagram, twtichily checking my Twitter. My connection to technology is essential for the kinda life I lead, but I definitely need to disconnect more often – it’s not healthy. I’m alright at putting my phone away when I go for dinner with people, but I need to be able to read a book or watch a movie without sneakily checking my notifications too.
22. Organise more fun things with the people I love
What’s the point in life if you don’t spend it doing fun stuff with loved ones? P.S. If you’re a loved one and you’re reading this, do you fancy doing something next weekend?
23. Try a new look
This is me trying to intellectualise my decision to go blonder. I’ve had short hair, long hair, black hair, red hair, brown hair, ombre hair. I want to try going a bit lighter. Just to see…
24. Try a new hobby
I’ve never tried stand up paddle boarding. And what if I’m really good at playing the piano!?
25. Keep making videos
* American readers: I recently learnt Magnum is a brand of condom in the US. And a type of gun. In Britain, it’s a delicious frozen treat: ice-cream coated in milk chocolate. I just needed to point that out. Have a nice day.