And then there was you…

I started out writing this blog for me. And only me.
I wanted to document my last year as a 20-something. I wanted to make public what I had kept private for so long – my Birthday List.

At dinner parties and over coffee or drinks I would tell my friends about my Birthday List, which I have been renewing year after year since I was a teenager. Most people gave me the usual, “Oh really? That’s cool” or “Hmm, nice.” But every once in a while someone would say something that convinced me I was on to something…special. Just maybe.

No one convinced me more of this than my sister, Ashley, whom – if you’ve been so kind as to read my little ‘ol blog all these months – you’ll know I absolutely adore (in fact, read my gushy post about her here.)

We sat over coffee one afternoon, my 29th birthday looming, and I was hungry for something new. I was hungry to add to the List. We brainstormed, as we often do – I mean, get us in a room and add some sort of beverage and oh… – and decided that I needed a little reinventing.

And I did.

Realizing that we could all use a little prim and polish every now and again is one of many reasons I started this blog. So, in my leap of faith towards something new and inspiring, I hoped that maybe – just maybe – someone else out there would find something to think about. And many of you have emailed me or commented that my List inspired your List and your List inspired her List or his List and…

(I’ll spare get the idea.)

A Birthday List or thinking about age isn’t about having a major melt down or crisis or anything that therapy, a few pills or a shot of vodka can’t cure. No. A List like this lets you hit the reset button, which, unlike the snooze button I’m slowly wearing out on my alarm clock, is made to be slammed on over and over again.

Every year, you get to change the rules. Every year, you get to change your life. Every year, you get to look back and say, ‘Hey, I did that…and that..and that…and..”

So yes, I may have stated this blog for me, but then, dear readers of this little ‘ol blog, well, then there was you.

If you have a Birthday List, I would love, love, love if you’d send it to me at originalsandyb {at} gmail {dot} com – I’d love to post it here (if you’ll allow me, but no pressure) and I’d be so honored if you told just one other person – a friend, relative, co-worker or that stranger in the Starbucks line tomorrow morning – that you’re never too old to love your birthday and you’re never to late to hit that reset button…as hard as you can.


I’m taking a Starbucks break.

So apparently I have good ideas. Sometimes.

The other day I wrote a post about how other bloggers have started to BELIEVE ME when I say that creating a “Before I Turn… List” actually works. Kind of like the way when you write a grocery list and the food you need/want sort of ends up in your cart and somehow appears in your kitchen and then in your mouth, feeding you and nourishing your brain. Kind of like that. Only a Birthday List is 10x more awesome, because it can score you things that are equally as fulfilling as food, but better, like success or accolade or a tattoo or a vespa or peace of mind or money or a dream job, or all of that. It all starts with a List, just like your favorite dish. That’s not a coincidence.

So, without further hold up, stop what you’re doing at work because THIS will be the best post you read all day. It’s by the lovely and humorous Cheryl, creator and purveyor of Confessions of a Twenty-Something Year Old, which has amassed a well-deserved following for her poignant to-the-point posts about shit that’s relevant to 20somethings and that 30ishes wished they thought of 10 years ago. Seriously. She’s a gal with sass and she takes her Venti straight up, like a real woman.

Take it away, Cheryl.

You know how sometimes you read a motivational blog, and on the sidebar, the blogger has written a whole list of things he/she wants to accomplish before a certain age?

Yeah, okay. I vowed to never come up with one of those lists- mostly because the people who write those lists actually attempt to do the things they’ve written, but not me. I’m lazy, which means I allow life to roll its own course, and should one of these things happen to me, then great; but if not, I’m not particularly bummed. My cousin, Jacqueline, once said something about how if you have no expectations in life, you can have no disappointments, and as morbid as that may be, I am pretty much stoked everyday of my life, which means that her theory has to be at least partially true. But anyway, the other day, I opened my inbox to find a really long e-mail from Sandyb asking me to guestblog a “things I want to do before …” list for her. Of course, my first thought was “ah, crap” because making this list would mean that I would have to do some serious soul-searching. But whatever. Sandyb is awesome, so I’d do it for her. So here I am, and after 72 hours of obsessing over all the crap I haven’t done in my life,  I’ve come up with the following.

The Top 20 things I’d like to do before 30- because 30 things would require too much thought:

1. Write for a magazine.
2. Study graphic design.
3. Live in Australia.
4. Become featured blogger.
5. Get through one morning without having to look for my keys.
6. Get through one day without using my cellphone or some sort of chat device.
7. Learn to speak Spanish perfectly.
8. Learn to play the guitar.
9. Finish writing a song.
10. Write and publish a novel.
11. Make a difference in someone’s life.
12. Own a dog
13. Completely stop saying “like” and “um” in every conversation, unless necessary.
14. Be less critical.
15. Find out whether it’s actually possible to be friends with an ex.
16. Be cliche, and do something supposedly incredibly romantic like visit Paris with my boyfriend.
17. Get married.
18. Change my look- because it’s been the same for 7 years. Seriously.
19. Drink less coffee, because at this rate I’m going to die before 30.
20. Watch the Leafs win the Stanley Cup.


UPDATE: Wow! I should use invite Cheryl more often. Seriously though, the responses here are great (keep ‘em coming!) and my inbox has equally awesome messages about this. BUT, I need to clear something up: Your “Birthday List” starts and ends on YOUR BIRTHDAY, not necessarily at 30, which is a long ways away for a lot of you (so jealous, by the way).

If your birthday has passed or is seven months off or whatever, don’t sweat it. You can STILL MAKE A LIST OF THINGS TO ACCOMPLISH BEFORE YOUR NEXT BIRTHDAY (why am I yelling?). Most folks are bummed about turning another year older- a Birthday List, however, helps change that, because it’s the day on which, if you complete your List, you’ve accomplished so much. See what I did there? I reverse-psychologied aging. And yes, that does make me a mild genius in some circles (albeit some very small circles, but they’re circles, nonetheless).

Again, would love to host your List over here, but if you decide to just post on your own blog, totally cool, just link it back to here. Spread the love and give this little project some legs!



You plan. God laughs. Part II.

Ok, so it’s Saturday night-ish and I totally get that blogging on a Saturday is like, breaking a cardinal blogging rule. Or something. Word on the street is that people have better things to do than read blogs on a Saturday. But I don’t care, I’m going to post anyway. You know why? Because the mood has struck, and I’m all about blogging while I’m in the mood.  Not “the mood” though, because that’s really none of your business. Or my husband’s. Just kidding.


So I left you with this the other day:

It has absolutely occurred to me that my List is a plan of sorts. A way of creating a path to the things that are important to me. It has absolutely occurred to me that my plan could fail. But I happened to know that there is something more powerful, more intense, more gravitational, more deluxe, and more stupendous than a plan…


How could I do that? And then just leave with a picture of Turkey Bacon ‘n Eggs, just because I like it? Totally off-side. But you came back, and I’m glad you did. I can only hope you feel my answer was worth waiting for. Truth? it’s sort of become the corner-stone of my reinvention (I decided this last night, while drinking. Doesn’t matter). It’s my secret weapon for when [insert higher power here] decides to have at ‘er with my carefully-planned-planned-for plans. So, without further ado, the thing more mighty than a plan is…


In every failed plan – from the wrong entree, to the wrong job, to the wrong guy/girl, to the wrong opener to your book – there is an opportunity to:

-Test what you are really made of
-Learn how creative your are in the face of disaster or derailment
-Feel how resilient you are
-Use your optimism
-Understand, I mean really get, how badly you want that thing that didn’t go according to plan, because if you want it bad enough, you will find an opportunity to get it

I’m going to start taking my own advice.

Since turning 29 two months ago and beginning to check things off of my “Before I Turn 30 List”, I’ve taken a good look at my life. Here’s what I’ve found:

1. Overall, I have a good life. I’ve seen people who have what most would consider “a shitty life” and you know what? That’s not me. I need to start giving myself credit for the things I have accomplished – it’s the only way to truly know what it is to be successful.

2.Taking a good look at yourself isn’t easy, but it’s always necessary.

3. If you plan to make a List To Change Your Life, be prepared to ask yourself a lot of questions. And then be prepared for the answers. (Bring ice. Sometimes the truth hurts.)

4. I’ve never really failed at anything. That’s not good. Instead, I’ve quit a whole bunch of times and in the process totally short-changed my potential. I failed to see the opportunity at times and now, at 29, I understand that it is far better to fail and get the satisfaction of having had the experience than not trying at all.

5. Regrets = bad news. If you have regrets, chances are you’ve failed to see the opportunity in said situation. Again, I’ve learned this the hard way. Attention 20-somethings!

Opportunity is the thing that lies in between the cracks of failure.

Opportunity bridges the gap between your regrets and your lessons.

Opportunity is greater than the plan.

And [insert higher power here]‘s got nothing on that.


Lisbon, Portugal. Just because.