120 things I’m happy to have done in my 20’s

(Part I)
As I was creating my list of things to do during my 20’s, I realized that I needed to give myself some credit:  I have done, and continue to do a lot of things that I’ve been meaning to do.  I don’t think I ever take the time to truly reflect on moments, or silliness that has made me previously happy, as it lasted.  These are not exclusive memories, although I may elaborate about some of them, in future blog posts.  They’re just a literal list of some of the moments, or things I experienced so far in my 20ies. I’ve created this list on the top of my head, and so these are items that pop in my head when I stop to ask myself ‘what have I done these past 5 years with my life’.  Of course, I’ve been to other places, other landmarks, but this is about what meant something to me.  This list is not about what I have learnt in my 20’s.(I’ll keep that one for 5 years from now hah)
So, here it is, a look-back at the top 120 things I’ve completed, or explored during my 20’s, or simply of things that make me smile today and made me happy.   Some of these photos are by me, others are from pineterest.  The ones from pinterest link to the people’s profiles.  I’ve expanded on most of the items.
1. Graduated university
It was a warm and sunny day in June, and probably one of my favourite days ever actually.  My best friend came to town, my parents and sister brought me flowers.  The ceremony lasted close to 3 or even 4 hours, but I was feeling happy, and so it did not bore me.  Later I went to celebrate with friends, and I wore a tiara…(I think it was probably the last time I went out with a tiara, don’t worry)
2. Got a real salaried job, and a promotion
With the opportunities to have a boss who permitted (or permits..) me to develop different skills, work in communications and make my own decisions.
3. Traveled on my own
Two summers ago, I took off on my own.  At first, I was afraid, and felt quite uncomfortable.  I wrote in my diary, as I sat in a café in Prague, how I felt guilty sitting alone, as if it was socially unacceptable worldwide.  It took a month, but I adapted to the feeling of walking the world on my own, without a security blanket.  The next year (so this past summer), I traveled on my own for two months.  It was the most amazing experience in my life, and except for the first evening of the trip, I never felt alone and met so many amazing people.  It was one of the best feelings I have ever felt, the feeling of being completely comfortable to explore and to allow myself to live, on my own.
4. Left a post-it note to a crush (yes I was an adult…it was last year)
I had a very child like crush on this coffee shop boy.  The crush lasted a full 5 months, it left me flustered, and feeling like the 13 year old extremely shy self.  It made me introspect a lot, and I realized I was a little retarded when it came to man-woman relationships.  It wasn’t the fear of rejection, necessarily.  I think I just discovered that I was feeding my own patterns of feeling awkward in a random, normal moment, because I anticipated awkwardness.  He would flirt with me one day, (without me flirting back) and the next day would just be giving me customer service…and so when the early morning shot of…(not esspresso but vodka…and that is a true story) failed me, I decided to JUST DO IT, and to stop thinking.   I went in there and stood in line with a pink post-it and my number on it in my hand, I gave it to the guy, in a robotic manner, and left.  30 minutes later, he texted.
5. Rescued a cat
When I was 4 I found a bunch of kittens in a garbage bin on the side of the road, they were all dead, except for one.  I went to get my aunt and she got it out and we kept it.
Although I believe anyone should rescue an endangered, or lost animal, I suppose I have to recognize that it would have been easy to just give my cat up to a shelter.  I found her in my apartment building during a cold evening of January.  I went around the building, and the block and no luck finding the owner.  And so I kept her over night, and the next morning put an elastic bracelet around her neck with a note saying “if this is your cat, call this number”.  I let her go, out in my building, she immediately hid between in the corner where the floor door and the wall meet.  It was 7:30 a.m. and I was headed to class.  I came back that evening, around 10:30 p.m. only to find the cat, in that same space where she initially hid over 12 hours ago.  She didn’t pee, poo, nor did she have anything to eat or drink.  It broke my heart and I kept her.  Now 5 years later, there she is.
6. Seen Leonard Cohen
This speaks for itself.  I’m a big fan, probably thanks to my parents.  All the concerts around here were sold out, and so my roommate and I rented a car and drove 8 hours the week-end of my graduation to see him.  My favourite moment, that still gives me shivers is hear him recite a Thousand Kisses Deep.  I’m going to see him again in August with my aunt, in Sweden this time.
7.Seen two of my favourites teenage bands (Hole and Silverchair)
On the same note as the post above, my 14 year old self nearly died.
8. Got stuck in a moshpit at Warped Tour
Because everyone has to experience that kind of an outside concert.
9. Went horseback riding
10. Visited Stonehenge 
11. Hiked in Bavaria
I love hiking, except I don’t do it quite as often as I would ideally want to.  I have family in Munich, and one day, when I was visiting, my aunt and I took a roadtrip and spent the day in the bavarian alps. I even walked on a suspension bridge…which scared me a little.   It was a perfect day, and now a perfect memory.
12. Seen a ballet in Schonbrunn Palace
It made me feel fancy for a backpacker.
13. Stole a lemon from the Schonbrunn palace’s garden…(sue me?)
When I was a kid I used to watch this cartoon that starred the Empress Sisi in it, it was in french however, I so I don’t know if it was world known, but she was seriously my childhood hero (And now that I’m old enough to actually know more about her life, it is safe to admit she was an incredible woman).  But anyhow….this has nothing to do with anything, I stole a lemon, or I thought it was a lemon, until I opened it: it turned out to be tangerines.
14. Painted a few canvasses, and made a painting for my parents
I’m too shy to show my amateur art 😉
14. Had brownies in Amsterdam
On that same note, smoked a joint in Dam Square as a band played Bob Dylan songs. All in all, it was lovely times, not much worth expending on in a PG blog.
15. Let my hair be natural for 5 full years
What you need to know is that for years and years, before that, my hair has been all sorts of colours, damaged, and chemically cut…so this was an exploit
16. Karaoked
First time I karaoked was in a group of about 10 people (that I didn’t even know), while I was in Niagara Falls, in an outside bar.  I went because it was the last song of the night…and I knew I’d regret not doing it, especially because my friend had spent the entire night singing in that microphone.  And so I went up there, not knowing what song was to play. It was that song by Kid Rock. I had mistaken it for sweet home alabama…and so I sang sweet home alabama before anyone else started to sing.  The photograph is a second attempt, in a pub in London.
17. Got a tattoo
I’ve always wanted one, but was always indecisive about it. One day, as I was going through the Origin of Species, I read about Darwin’s tree of life.  I will not get into the depth of it, but it fascinated me, and as a firm subscriber of the theory of evolution (and it being more than a mere theory), I decided that this tree of evolution, not only had a meaningful connotation to me, but it was also pretty and simple enough for my likes.  I was going to get it on my foot, but it was winter, and I was told it would be inconvenient for it to heal properly.  And so, I decided to get it on my forearm so I can catch glimpses of it, because what’s the point of having a tattoo if I don’t even get to see it often myself?
18. Visited the statue of liberty
19. Spent an all nighter with a stranger I met traveling that I liked
20. Went porto tasting
21. Watched FIFA cups when Germany beat Argentina 4-0 in a bar in Freiburg alone
I went to Freiburg with my family from Germany.  My aunt and cousins decided to go hiking, but as I really got into the World Cups, I insisted on staying on my own in the town to watch the game.   People spoke little english there, I sat at the bar, and at every goal they scored, or ball they blocked, all the people in the bar would cheer and hi-five each other, including me.  I speak no german, and they quickly figured out I was a random, but they were happy to see me cheer for them.  Later, Freiburg (which is a tiny little town) was filled with people celebrating on the streets, and of honking cars.  It was lovely
22. Kayaked in Lagos caves
23. Worked with kids, and played like a kid
 From the age of 20 to 23 I had the opportunity to work in a daycare and after school program.  It was lovely, and I was never bored.  We built forts during winter, had balloon fights during summer, skipped rope, made crafts, built haunted houses, etc, etc…I want more of this in my life again though
24. Taught myself guitar
(I normally don’t play naked, but heeeeello Brigitte Bardot…)
24. Made friends across the globe
24. Went to a synagogue 
For a research project in cultural psychology, I visited synagogues and spent long hours talking to this very funny, very liberal rabbi.
25. Biked the Killarney National Park
26. Jumped in ice cold deserted lakes
27. Approached a wild horse and petted him
It was in Killarney once again, I was biking through the beautiful sights, when I saw this vast field, horses were galloping.  Given the economical situation in Ireland, a lot of farmers released horses in the wild…I cannot testify for sure that it was the case with these ones, but there was no ranch or house in sight.  I went in the field to observe, and the two horses saw me from the distance.  They started galloping very fast, and for a moment I got afraid, but I oddly, I also at the same time trusted those horses.  One of them galloped, and then stopped about a foot away from me, the other stayed behind, scared.  This is the photograph I took of it.
28. Watched 50ies movies in a theatre in Bruxelles by myself, laughed and cried
I spent my evenings in Bruxelles in this old theatre that aired old movies for 3E a night that I randomly discovered during my long walks.  It was filled with new lovers, widows, and then people like me.  It was lovely, I’ve never seen old movies on a big screen before.  East of Eden was one of them.
29. Voted in every election
30. Went to pay homage to Jack Layton
He was the very first public figure who’s death broke my heart…
31. Completed a TESL course
32. Visited Dachau Concentration camp
With a fever, and on homeopathic capsules that my aunt convinced me to take
33. Went to Le Louvre, saw Venus de Milo and la Joconde
34. Visited de la Sagrada Familia, and marvelled at its beauty
35. Became friends with a stranger overnight
36. made and mixed a video of my eurotrip 2009
37. Worked in a morgue
I may have been 19 though…it was depressing, and I wrote depressing short stories and had nightmares every night.  It was in a funeral salon, and I quit the day I started sobbing loudly, during someone’s reception.
38. Had a late night picnic with a good friend.
I’ve put this in here, because it’s one of my favourite memories.  I had come back from traveling and I met up with one of my good friends.  We made food, brought speakers and brought mason jars of gin and tonic, and we picnicked on the canal until 3 a.m: talking, eating, drinking and listening to music.
39. Walked barefoot in Lisbon streets, on tramway rails at night
I just remember how carefree I felt.
40. Heard Fado Play 
41.  Learnt the word Saudade
42.  Sent myself postcards from another country
I wrote them while I was in Germany, but sent them from Paris, the morning I left.  They arrived two weeks later, as a pleasant surprise with nice words to myself.  They’re hanging in my office now, I read them every night and then.
43. Went to a french baker in France, in the early morning
44. Spent an entire week laying on the same beach in Portugal
And feeling content!  I was always the type to explore as much as I can during my trips, feeling that if I slowed down for too long, I’d lose time.  This time, I let myself slow down for an entire week.  I remember, laying there by the ocean, with the salty smell filling the air, the brilliant blue sky transpiercing my closed eyelids,  thinking that everything was just perfect, as is, without one single worry.
45. Walked along the Cliffs of Moher
don’t worry, I did not fall down…I just enjoy jumping in photographs..
46. Visited a cave in Ireland
47.  Watched the World Cups in the Old town square in Prague
And other cities, but I have such a good memory of sitting there, outside on the cemented ground, among other tourists, locals and homeless people watching the big screen while drinking cheap beer.
48.  Was remembered by a homeless person
I made friends with this homeless man who had a dog and a cat, and for a few months, I brought him blankets, helped him bail out his dog out of the humane society, etc.  He was kind of entertaining, and everytime I would see him, I would stop to talk.  He disappeared for a long time.  And so,  one day, I went to Toronto for a weekend, and on the corner of two main streets, I ran into him.  He recognized me and we did some “catching up”.  He later gave me directions, it made me happy. His name was Jack, but he didn’t know how old he was.
49. Visited Loch Ness
50.  Ate out in restaurants alone
51. Went back to my childhood house
And that is a bit far away…we moved away from there because of the civil war in Ex-Yugoslavia….it felt like I visited ruins of a long lost memory…and so that was very nostalgic
52. Got lost in Prague in the morning hours, and found a way out
I flew into Prague at midnight because of a delayed flight.  Took the metro to a central station and got there around 1 a.m.  Once I exited the metro I realized that I had lost the directions to my hostel, and I had no clue where it was, I just knew the name.  Everything was closed, and I was not in the ‘touristy’ area, nor did I have a map of Prague. I tried stopping taxis, but they would tell me they do not understand.   Finally I saw this little alley with a light at the end of it…as I had nothing to lose, I decided it was a good idea to walk towards it.  It turned out to be a hotel.  The clerk helped me google my hostel, and it’s a happy ending it was about 10 minutes away.
53. Went vegan for 8 months
54. Have the same best friend I had 17 years ago
I got us these pendents when we were 9 or 10, and we both still have them.

55.  Connected with a person without speaking their language, or them speaking mine

56.  Created a song
57. Got my heart broken, and got over it!
There is something beautiful in heartbreak, it triggers feelings that I never found in anything else.  We all recall how awful it feels, but I don’t know about you, looking back, I always find charm in it; the memory of it, the introspection and the growth, and even the pain that ensued makes me perceive those times as “good times”
58. De-Cluttered my life and stopped “paying homage” to material posessions
59. Went on a roadtrip to Maine and back, twice in one single weekend
…Don’t ask…
60.  Baked a penis cake almost from scratch for a friend’s bachelorette
Although the wedding never happened.
À suivre!
N
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One Comment Add yours

  1. Sorry, but I have to say it…. STONY LITTLE HENNNGGGEEE

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