20 In 20 | My Birthday & A Bucket List

I turned twenty today! As I’m sure you all know, I adore making lists and setting goals, the bigger the better. I thought it would be fun to create a bucket list of things to do during the next year of my life, with one task for each of the years I’ve been alive. I hope to make this a tradition, developing a new bucket list on each birthday and each year adding one more item than was on my list before.

Some of my goals are small, while others are ambitiously large. I look forward to all of them and I hope that you enjoy reading this post and learning about how I want to spend my next year!

1. Travel to another continent

I traveled all over the United States on vacation when I was a kid, and I’ve been to Canada a few times, but I’ve never left North America! I would love to travel overseas, and hopefully that will happen soon.

2. Make the President’s List

I already talked about this a little in a post about my goals for the 2016-17 school year: Since I made the Dean’s List twice last year, I set my sights even higher and am now working to maintain a 4.0 GPA for the entire school year. It’s very demanding and more than a bit stressful, but I think I should be able to do it in the end!

3. Start learning ASL

One of my friends here also wants to learn, so we’ve decided to work on this together! We both agree that it’s disheartening when you have no one to practice with, so we want to make time to get together and practice our skills!

4. Meet an online friend

I desperately want this to happen! Some of the most important people in my life are Internet friends and it’s just so weird to think that we’ve known each other for three or four or five years, but have never actually hung out in person. It’s not fair that they live so far away!

5. Study abroad

This overlaps a little with traveling to another continent, but that’s OK. They’re not entirely the same: After all, I want to go out and explore when I’m not busy studying! I hope to attend the Irish Writing Program in Dublin in the summer of 2017!

6. Read The Silmarillion

This was going to be on my list anyway, but now that a movie deal was announced I have to make sure I read it in time! I found this book quite challenging when I attempted to read it a few years time, but I think that since then I’ve grown better at making my way through difficult texts. (Blame boring course readings for that!)

7. Donate blood

I hate needles, and having blood drawn makes me feel queasy. Yet I still want to donate. I want to help people. Even if I hate the process so much I never donate blood again, I want to be able to say that I finally did it.

8. Get a job writing for a newspaper or online publication

Whether I end up writing for the Daily Iowan here in town, or an online newspaper or magazine, I’d love to start getting my writing out there – more “out there” than this little blog, that is. I currently have plenty of ideas of places I could apply to. B

9. Dye my hair

I’ve never had brightly colored hair so I’m excited to see how it looks on me – and if everything goes as planned, this should happen really soon! My friend Jill offered to dye my hair blue on the same day that she touches up hers. I can’t wait!

10. Shave my head

Again, if everything goes according to plan, this will also be accomplished relatively soon: Once the dye begins to fade and you can see the dark brown roots of my hair, I want to just shave it all off. So that will probably happen sometime before Thanksgiving… you can definitely expect to see me try many different hairstyles over the next year or so. Chopping my hair off this summer made me more willing to experiment!

11. Hold a leadership role in a campus organization

I was an officer in several clubs during high school, but didn’t do any of that stuff freshman year because I was so busy. This time around, though, I want to get more involved in something I’m passionate about – and I can write it on my resume!

12. Get another piercing

I want a third set of lobe piercings, as well as an industrial piercing in my left ear… but the lobe piercings will likely be much less expensive, so I’ll probably get those first. The industrial piercing may not even happen for a few years, but I love how they look so I definitely will be getting one in the future.

13. Come out to my grandparents

Admittedly, this has been on my to-do list for a long time and just the thought of actually telling them makes me feel anxious. I’m determined to do it this year anyway, though. Not to be morbid, but my grandparents won’t be around forever and I want to tell them because right now it feels like I’m hiding a huge part of my life. I want them to know who I really am before it’s too late and I regret having never said anything.

14. Go on a road trip with friends

Probably not even a long road trip. I’m not picky about either the destination or the length. I just want to have this experience.

15. Complete a Wreck This Journal

I doubt I will begin this until November, at the earliest, because I left all my art supplies back home. I love the idea behind Wreck This Journal and can’t wait to see how artsy and messy it turns out!

16. Read Les Misérables

This has been on my TBR for the past few years, and I loved the movie! This will certainly be challenging to read, but that’s the point: I want to pay more attention to the quality, as well as the quantity, of the books I read.

17. Start learning French

Again, this is something I’m doing with friends. I’ve been trying to do this on and off for the past few years, and I need to finally make some progress. I have several friends who speak French and a few who also want to learn with me. I don’t care if I learn only rudimentary French in the next years, because the goal isn’t to become fluent – the goal is to start SOMEWHERE.

18. Make a new friend who is much older than myself

I’ve met so many interesting people during my time here in Iowa City and I hope that continues to happen! Professors, TAs, employees at my favorite bookstores, people in my writing group, et cetera.

19. Splurge on a really nice old book

I have no idea what this may be, but isn’t that half the fun?! The local used bookstore keeps a running list of customers and the specific editions of books you’d like, and will notify you if they acquire one, so there is that: I asked them to let me know if they got an old copy of Dracula or The Great Gatsby or a handful of other books. I love the idea of reading a really old copy of a classic book, especially if it’s one of my favorites.

20. Volunteer somewhere in Iowa City

I volunteered a LOT in high school, mostly through 4-H, but that seems to have fallen by the wayside in college. I’d really like to take up that habit again, so lately I’ve been looking for places where I could volunteer for maybe a few hours per month, because I honestly don’t have time for anything more.


God, it feels SO WEIRD to not be a teenager anymore. Have you ever created a bucket list? Or started a birthday tradition? I’d love to hear about it!

About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
This entry was posted in Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to 20 In 20 | My Birthday & A Bucket List

  1. Cynthia says:

    Go ASL! *deaf applause* I learn it too on the internet and I’m utterly horrible at actually understanding it…
    and yay different hair!

    • nevillegirl says:

      Ahaha, I still haven’t gotten around to actually learning it, but your comment reminded me that I’ve seen several interesting YouTube channels all about how to learn ASL… I need to check them out, clearly!

      • Cynthia says:

        LIFEPRINT!! it’s run by a deaf person!!
        also like learn from deaf ppl / their resources and learn the history because there’s a long history of ableism and stuffs


  2. orphu44 says:

    Also, wait, they’re going to make a Silmarillion movie??
    Also PLEASE speak to me in French, I have been constantly chock-full of the need to speak to people in French ever since people stopped talking to me in French like … three years ago. ALSO, ASL! ASL’s one of those things that’s like … a latent bucket list item for me. I’m always interested in it, but I’ve gotten to the point where I was sure enough to commit and put it before /other/ things I’d like to do. And ooh, blue hair! And you know how I like the idea of head-shaving. And I had never heard of industrial piercings before. And meeting Internet friends! (The sentence structure there sort of implied that I’d never heard of meeting Internet friends before, which is patently untrue. That was an expression of enthusiasm.) And studying abroad! I hope you get to do the Irish Writing Program!
    I’m sorry, this comment is all over the place, I was so enthusiastic about all the things on your list and wanted to comment on all of them, but I somewhat threw any sense of order out the window.

  3. Sounds like a fantastic list!! 🙂

  4. Happy birthday! Good luck with your list, it looks great.

    I actually also want to learn sign language. I’d like to learn ASL but I live in Europe so I guess that wouldn’t be all that helpful. I think donating blood is really great. I donated 3 years ago. I didn’t feel drowsy at all because I actually followed their instructions and ate beforehand. Definitely eat something before you go, because those who didn’t needed Cokes to bring their sugar levels back up.

    • nevillegirl says:

      Thanks on both counts!

      There’s British Sign Language, right? And… IDK if there’s just like a general European version, actually. I’m going to go look that up right now!

      I’ll be sure to remember that, thank you for telling me! Lol half the time I don’t remember to eat even when I’m not doing anything as major as donating blood, so I’ll want to be careful of that.

  5. Hey that’s cool we’re the same age, I turned 20 last week! I’m trying to learn BSL (the British equivalent of ASL) but it’s hard to find the time. I also really want to study abroad, I’m hoping to go to Canada. I would try to donate blood, but I’m scared of needles and not really keen on blood either! I’d like to go on road trip with my friends again and go to another continent (I’ve been to other places in Europe and North America but I want to go to at least one country on every continent). I hope #13 goes okay for you.

  6. Mahima says:

    CONGRATULATIONS ON SURVIVING TEENDOM. I love your bucket list idea and am definitely for you travelling to London (hey, Ireland’s QUITE close to us, you can make the trip!). One of the goals I have for turning eighteen is donating blood so I’m going to do that as soon as I find out how and what the logistics are!

    • nevillegirl says:

      THANK YOU.

      I’d love to come visit you someday! Idk if it will be this summer, though, because it costs $$$$ I really don’t have to make an additional trip from Ireland to the UK, but I guess I’ll just have to see what happens! 😀

  7. Evi says:

    Happy birthday! Those are amazing goals!

  8. Miriam Joy says:

    Nice list! If you do come to Ireland next year, we’ll have to try and meet up. Not that Dublin’s particularly near London, but it’s a lot nearer than Iowa, you know? And I’m hoping to (possibly) do an Irish language course next summer, so I might be travelling in Ireland anyway. If not, you know you’re always welcome to stay with me if you come to London or Cambridge (depending on the time of year).

    As for Les Mis… heh, have fun. I don’t think anyone would blame you for skipping the Waterloo chapter. Or the sewers chapter. I definitely skipped them when I read it, and I had a longer attention span back then. I don’t think I could read it now, tbh.

  9. Heather says:

    Happy birthday! And good luck with this list. Because like you, I’m turning twenty quite soon and I am nowhere even close going to be attaining these levels of accomplishment. LIKE I COULD READ LES MIS. It’s too much to ask of me. But still, they are good of you. So. Best wishes on all the things.

  10. Pingback: Quarterly Rewind, Fall 2016 | Writing, The Election, & “Moana” | Musings From Neville's Navel

  11. Pingback: 20 Things I Did In 2016 That I’d Never Done Before | Musings From Neville's Navel

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