The Big 3-0 : Reviewing my 30 before 30 list.

10:29:00 Karen Li 0 Comments

I hit the big 3-0 this week and have had many celebrations with my closest friends. It might be old age, or simple enjoying quality time, but I have really enjoyed with having dinner separately with each individual rather than with a bunch of people.

When I created the 30 before 30 list for myself almost 5 years ago, I considered myself young and hopeful. I had recently gone through some heart break and was still completing my PhD. The last 5 years have been tough, it's been good, it's been challenging, and I've been blessed.

Here is my list in review.
#1 finish my PhD/masters Dec 2014
It seems so long ago. There were so many times I thought I would quit because it's was a difficult journey. So many times I prayed and ask for motivation to finish, and in the end, God granted me quite a miracle and a very supportive family to celebrate with. I was so blessed to have the many experiences of working in both child and adult clinics, in Qld, Sydney, Melbourne and Seattle as part of my degree. I grew in independence through these travels and confidence as a evidence-based practitioner. 

#2 get down to goal weight according to my GP Feb 2015
Not quite at my goal goal weight but having left the obese category, that was a more realistic goal. The thing about losing weight is that it comes to find you again. I am not far more content with my weight that I was ever before, even though I weight more now that 10 years ago. I am fitter and stronger both physically and mentally. 

#3 finish half marathon July 2015
I was incredibly shocked that I was able to cross the finish line considering that I had sprained my ankle, was worried about a potential heart condition (that thanks to God was just in my head) and was still able to do another 10 km that day on the Story Bridge. Semi unrealistic goal, but done and dusted. Was slightly itching to do another half or full marathon, but probably want to pace and train in advance. 

#4 fall in love, get married and start a family
Haven't quite got there yet, but this goal was quite important to me. It just made me try to get out of my selfish little shell and actually make friends who were guys. And in the process, I got to know myself a bit more. The pressure of meeting this deadline was a gentle push, I'm glad I didn't commit to someone just to meet the deadline. 

#5 go to Europe April 2014
Bit of an epic whirlwind tour of England, Amsterdam, Brussels ... And i am so grateful that I was able to visit these places. Because when the terrorism events of late were broadcasted on the tv, I felt a bit more empathy for the people who were there, and a bit more of a connection to the place. 

#6 visit Ice Sculpture festival in Northern China
This was more to commemorate my late grandfather than a personal endeavour. I'm not sure how I'd go in -40 degrees Celsius, and for me at the time, it was another challenge. So, no, haven't done this year, but haven't stopped thinking about it! 

#7 See a meteor shower August 2013
In order to satisfy this criteria, I camped out in insane temperatures on the balcony I had restored for this occasion. Sadly, I haven't been out to the balcony very much after that. At least I can now say I can do it!

#8 watch a live Christian concert done May 2012
The definition of Live has morphed over the course of the last decade. I attended a live stream of a worldwide christian concert and felt like i was part of it. Still to attend a live one though. 

#9 have a wardrobe I am proud of Feb 2013
It started in 2013, and probably ended a few years ago. Haven't not changed in since since I was in high school, I ended up with plenty of clothes I would never wear. Being a uni student for more than a decade also made me purchase ill-fitting cheap clothes to last it out. And if by God's grace, the clothes started to slowly break apart as I finished uni and got a job. So over the last few years, and definitely last few months, I have been throwing away and donating clothes that no longer fit or I will never wear again. 

#10 learn how to take good pictures- well I think they are ok these days
No, not a professional photographer yet, but I'm not too shabby. I am happy that I am able to document the things I see, the food I eat and the people I meet. When my memory fades one day, I will have these glossy prints and digital images to reflect upon. Two key tips I have learned, law of thirds, take multiple shots and choose the best :P

#11 improve cooking skills Jan 2015
Having many opportunities to live out of home has forced me to become a domestic slave. I have had the opportunities to test new cooking skills. Last year, ordering food boxes with recipes expanded my cooking skills. 

#12 swim with the dolphins
went to swim with dolphins as part of a tour, seriously tried but there were only seals there, but there were dolphins somewhere in the ocean where i was, so i guess it kind of counts. I would probably still want to go on a dolphin swim at some point. I heard that you can swim with pink dolphins in Singapore!

#13 watch my best friends get baptized
No, not yet. It's a little beyond my control, but my bad role modelling certainly didn't help. 

#14 10km run in under an hour
Didn't quite make the mark, always a little over the one hour mark. As I age, it's more about completion than competition. And I have completed several 10km runs in the last few years. 

#15 white water rafting done August 2012
This was epic. I remember the drive well, yes on the other side of the road in USA into the woods by myself and then joining a group for white water rafting. I often remember the safety instructions- make sure you don't reach and help someone else if they fall off. And what did I do? Reach out and get chucked off the raft myself. 

#16 shower in a waterfall- done September 2014
It was a surreal experience really, driving into the great outback of Australia and finding a waterfall with both mum and I swimming out to the waterfall. It's rougher than I expected. 

#17 be in a flash mob done May 2012
As part of the pilates practice at the time, I was involved in a women's health flash mob to promote fitness in woman. Lots of practice, heaps of laughs, and slightly disjointed execution. 

#18 be confident my clothes
I think it helped that I started to chuck out ill-fitting clothes. But confidence didn't come from the clothes I wore but within.

#19 clear up my skin  August 2013
It was a tough year to clear up my skin with diet change and medication but it has gained me confidence and health. 

#20 learn to parallel park
Still struggling honestly, but having to parallel park everyday (only have street parking at my work), I have learned how to do it, not well, but I have learned. 

#21 learn the guitar- ukulele count 
I tried, so many times, I went to lessons at a community centre, took lessons online and practiced at home. It just wasn't for me. I did however still pick up a few chords on the ukulele. 

#22 eat at a hatted restaurant 2014 for monica's hen's night.
At the time I was absolutely broke. So to be able to pay for a Q1 climb and hatted restaurant was crazy expensive. Worth it though for my best friend. 

#23 help with micro financing 2013
I have helped micro financing several projects now in various third world countries in the world. 

#24 forgive wishing him all the best
this one was for one particular person. Yes, no hard feelings at all, for real these days. 

#25 go on a mission trip 
funded several, went amongst the drinkers. 

#26 sponsor a child 2013
I have been sponsoring Samuel since 2013, and I have seen him graduate from school. 

#27 buy a house  2013
I bought a little cupboard sized unit overlooking the ocean. Location over quality they say. This is a huge drain on my resources, and I may get rid of this little hole for a more functional living space.

#28 see the Northern Lights
No, didn't get a chance, but with so many family members having taken the route, I'm sure it's a manageable feat. 

#29 visit Disneyland done July 2012
Went to disneyland CA, in 103 degree heat, in line for hours and hours but enjoyed the time together with my makeshift family. I also went to HK disneyland with my boyfriend on a date that was also hot and sweaty but enjoyable never the less. 

#30 Save a life- done May 2012
Shortly after finishing my 30 before 30 list, a bunch of friends from church went to a waterpark together. I saved a life, dived in and scooped out a almost drowning friend. 

In all of that, yes, didn't complete the entire list, but certainly completed a big chunk of the list. So the question is... given my 30/30 experience, what have a learned and will I do it again? 

I learned that setting goals helped me propel change. External reinforcement is probably more important than internal reinforcement for some aspects. I learned that I did not feel regret for not completing all the list, because those things weren't really as important to me as I thought. And I have had experiences beyond what was included in the list- explored other regions of the world, established better long term habits and met some pretty amazing people. And because I was busy being me, I spend less and less time blogging and more and more time living. 

Would I do it again? Another 30 no. Not necessary. At this stage of my life, it's not so much as ticking things off my list but living according to my values everyday, every month, every year. 

So for the next 10 years, I will review my values yearly and see how I'm fairing. for the next year, the values I am focusing on are:

- Relationships with family and friends
- Travel and propelling the #touristinmyhometown movement
- Fitness and health 
- Career success

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