30 when 30 {The Ultimate Bucket List}

30 when 30 {The Ultimate Bucket List}

We love sharing personal stories to connects with our readers in a relevant and simple way. Here’s a look into my dear friend, Tricia’s adventure. She created The Ultimate Bucket List… “30 when 30” is a list of 30 things that you’ve always wanted to do, but just never done. All those moments when you say “I’ve always wanted to do that” immediately make the list. And the great thing about this bucket list of sorts, is that you’re still young, mobile, and sometimes daring enough to do all of those things with no reservations. Her story is so real and personal, it inspired me and I wanted to share it. We worked on this article together with Tricia to share her journey of this amazing year.  Below is the complete article for you to enjoy.

30 when 30- The Ultimate Bucket List

The story of Tricia Cuano; discovered by Ngoc Nguyen Lay and written by Rachel Anderson.

You think your life is going in one direction, and then it’s not.

I know that seems normal. Everyone has probably experienced it at one point in their life, but when it happens to you it always comes as a shock.

Being 30 was not an age I was looking forward to. The changing of being a twenty-something to a solid 30 was terrifying. Yet I took comfort  in knowing that my life was smoothly going down the path I had always wanted. I was saving for a wedding, sure that my boyfriend of five years would propose by the end of the year, saving for a house, saving for my future.

But then that moment happened, as so many people’s lives do, where you realize the path has abruptly evaporated. You were sucker-punched, and now you franticly fumble about in the darkness trying to find a new path or a little light to see by.

When my boyfriend and I broke up three months before I was to turn that frightful age, all of my expectations and dreams abruptly ended. Of course it was hard, and tragic, and heart-wrenching… how could it not be? But this isn’t about that. This is about what came next.

A close friend of mine suggested I do a “30 when 30” list. It was something she had done when she turned 30, and because I’m an avid planner, it seemed like a good idea. “30 when 30” was a bucket list of sorts, a list made up of all those times when you had ever said “I’ve always wanted to do that.” And while you’re 30 years old, the goal was to complete all the things on that list. All 30 things.

Since I had been saving for a wedding, a house, and a future that included room for two, I now had funds with no distinct purpose, and time that needed to be filled. It was an easy decision to put those savings towards this new adventure.

Initially, it was about just checking off all the things that I had put on that list. There were the crazy things like trapeze flying, safari rides (at San Diego Zoo), visiting new countries, speed dating, white-water rafting, and natural wonders. But there were also the personal like getting a new haircut, volunteering, and paying it forward. For this list, nothing was off-limits.

As I started on this year-long journey I was able to celebrate New Years in Brazil, swim with dolphins in Mexico, run a marathon in Seattle, go to a U-2 concert for the first time, participate in a flash mob, ride in a hot-air balloon, and so much more.

For each of these events I went out of my way to include my family and friends because it was important for me to share these experiences with those whom I loved most, and in turn they used these adventures to do some of the things that they never thought they would do either. They became my cheerleaders, my motivatoin, and my inspiration. In turn I became their cheerleaders, their motivation, and their inspiration.

Somewhere along the way (after I had jumped whole-heartedly into planning) I realized that this had become less about crossing things off my list, and more about pushing myself to do things that I’ve never done before. It became about challenging myself and finding ways to grow as a person.

I never thought that I could run a marathon. Growing up I was never very athletic, and I didn’t think that I could ever run that much. My sister became my true inspiration for this. After she completed her first marathon, I thought “if she can do it, I can do it.”

Running was a great coping mechanism at first, because even though I didn’t think I could do it, those training sessions would require me to completely clear my mind and think of nothing. I couldn’t contemplate my problems and remember to breathe at the same time. I couldn’t allow my mind to dwell on the pain and force my legs to work simultaneously.

Then the day came for me to run the race. And I did. I ran and ran and eventually crossed the finish line. It was a huge sense of accomplishment to cross that white painted line, especially because there’s times when you don’t think you can do it. But I did.

Exactly one more month and I will be one year older. One more month and I will be 31.

I only have five more things to cross off my list, and then I’ve completed the 30 things that I have always wanted to do, when I was 30 years old. This, in a way, has been an entirely different kind of marathon. There were moments where I wanted to give up and moments where I didn’t think I could do it. Yet I have, and I will.

“30 when 30” started because my life’s path suddenly evaporated. I was lost and broken. Yet now, as I cross the finish line on this momentous year, I realize that I would take nothing back.

Going through all of this has definitely brought me more comfortable in my own skin. I think about how maybe I was uncertain about things, like what it would be like out of my old relationship, what it would be like on my own. Now I can see my faith has grown stronger, and I have learned how to take a really difficult situation and making it into a positive one.

In the past, not having a plan or anything made me uneasy, but now it has taught me to take it easy and not need to have my whole life planned out.

Secretly I’m dreading the end to this year because there has been something to look forward to every day. But I’m looking at the finish line now, and I can’t slow down. I won’t slow down. This will just allow me to start a new list where I can add things that didn’t make the original list, or new things that I’ve never considered before.

I guess there’s no choice but to look forward to this new path of random adventures, complete with my newly found strength and determination. Helen Keller once said “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; But often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.”  So I suppose there’s no need for me to look at any other door besides the one that’s before me.

Post Published on April 20, 2012. 

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