Thinking Big: Five Huge Things to Accomplish by 35

As a January baby, December not only gets me thinking about what I want to accomplish in the next calendar year, but also what my goals are for the impending turn of my age.

You all know about my annual list, but typically those are small things to keep me on-track and focused throughout the year (even though I’ve not been the best at ’em in for 33). However, as I hit mid-decade in just 13 months I’ve started thinking further about the kind of woman I want to be at 35.

Maybe we should backtrack five years first and visit Meghan around age 28 11/12. I’d just broken up with my boyfriend of three years, finished my first year at transit and was riding the high of Hope & Change. I began 2009 with a trip to India and finished it with a commitment to a healthier lifestyle. By the end of my thirtieth year I was at my goal weight, I’d run my first half marathon and the early pieces were in place for me to make the move to San Francisco.

Bottom line: if I’m going to make radical changes before my next five years are over, I better start thinking about them now. And by putting them out into the universe, maybe they’ll actually happen.

Here goes:

1. Be out of debt by the end of 35. 

I’ve written before about the shackles of debt and made great strides in the past couple of years to get it under control. Since January 2011, I’ve reduced my debt by over 30% – paying off high-interest holdings, switching most accounts to USAA and Patelco Credit Union, and paying closer attention to my personal budgeting. Still, there’s a ways to go and I’ve slipped a little this year with my austerity measures. That said, the light is at the end of the tunnel if I recognize that short-term sacrifices will pay off (literally) for me.

2. Visit all 50 states by the end of 35. 

What? How can I talk about travel after goal #1? Well, cutting it out altogether is not realistic for me and my happiness. However, focusing on domestic trips (and perhaps using miles for international ones) is a way to still satisfy my wanderlust without breaking the bank.

Also, I only have four states left: Alaska, Arkansas, North Dakota and Oklahoma.

I’d like to cap off my quest with Alaska, I’m plotting a very doable (and fun!) trip that would take me to Arkansas and Oklahoma…that leaves a weekend sacrificed to fly to Fargo. This can easily be accomplished by the end of 2015 or, aggressively, by my 35th birthday.

3. Return to my goal weight by 35.

A couple of months ago I discussed my past weight loss accomplishment and the extra pounds I’ve been working to lose. While the 14 lbs aren’t falling off, it’s likely because I haven’t been trying that hard. That changes come 34. I pledge to start food journaling, exercise tracking and making healthier choices to get back to where I worked so hard to be. This should definitely help with item #1 – as home cooking and lunch packing is a key part in good eatin’.

4. Run the San Francisco Marathon.

Okay, yes, I’m insane. I blame my friends Mary Ann and Amber for planting this seed into my brain over the past six months. MAB because she actually ran it this year and lived to tell the tale. Amber because she’s volunteering as an ambassador (a.k.a. cult recruiter) for the darn thing. Both these ladies tell me I’ve inspired their running paths…so I guess I should step up my game. Plus, with the limited traveling and money spending I’ll be doing, I’ll have more time to train. And I suppose it could help with goal #3 too.

5. ??? aka Do Something So Awesome I Don’t Even Have a Name for It Yet

Isn’t that cheating? Listing ??? as a major goal??? Here’s the deal: I had no idea at 28 11/12 that I’d move to San Francisco, lose 60+ pounds, run half marathons until I lost count, pay off $15k in debt, get a job globally marketing fonts and organizing a world-class design conference, spend almost five years single before meeting a fantastic guy, travel to India twice (not to mention Paris, Berlin, London (twice), Croatia, Vietnam and Colombia), GO TO freakin’ BURNING MAN…the list goes on and on. So why not leave this a big blank. And if it turns out I book a trip to Antarctica on the eve of my 35th birthday, you’ll know I’ve procrastinated on it!


Don’t worry, I’ll still make a 34 by 35 list next year, but it’ll be driven by these five lovely life goals. And just you wait to see what’s coming for 40!


About Meghan A.

creative & professional creative professional | communications, content & community | nasty woman | adventurer & inspiration seeker | bicyclist & feminist | walk san francisco board | current: Adobe Typekit Product Marketing Manager, former: TYPO SF magic maker
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2 Responses to Thinking Big: Five Huge Things to Accomplish by 35

  1. What a cool idea, and what a GREAT list! Looking forward to following along as you reach all of these goals 🙂

  2. Maggie J says:

    I have so many ideas for your #5. Surprise the world by getting married. Adopt twins from the little town in Columbia you visited this year. Write a book. Start a youtube TV show. Ok. I’ll stop now. 🙂

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