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The Birthday Bucket List You Didn’t Know You Needed

Let’s get this out of the way first. I’m a list person. I love lists. I especially love the idea of keeping track of the things I want to do, books I want to read, and places I want to go.

When I was 13-years-old I came up with the idea of creating a bucket list of things to do before I turned 16-years-old. Basically just a bucket list, but way less morbid. Most were achievements and things I wanted to do, like get an “A” in my math class, get my ears pierced, paint my bedroom, etc. I spent the next three years until my 16th birthday trying to check off every item on my birthday bucket list. Then, I created my 18 things to do before 18, then 21 before 21, and my next birthday I wanted to create a list for is 25 before 25.

I’ve had so much fun creating and thinking of things I want to do before my next “big” birthday. I decided that after every “big” birthday I had, I will create a birthday bucket list for the next “big” birthday. The things I included I felt needed to be fun, kind of personal goals. I only keep a few goals that are more career-oriented. I tend to get way too serious about work and school things, so I wanted to include fun things that would remind me to focus on living and not just working all the time. If you want to create one, all you have to do is pick a birthday and write down things you want to do! It can be anything you want it to be, from traveling to another country to passing a hard class. Have fun with it!

Here’s my list: 25 before 25

1: Visit hot springs

When I was a kid, I went with my parents to a hot spring in Oregon while we were visiting my aunt. I was too young to remember much, but I do remember how cool it was to be in nature and experience hot springs like that. I’ve always wanted to go back, and I hope I will be able to in the near future!

2: Road trip to a national park

I love love love being outside and appreciating nature. I have been to a few national parks, but I would love to road trip to visit a few. Whether that is to Olympic National Park here in Washington or taking a mini-vacation to drive to Glacier National Park in Montana, I’m all here for it. 

3: Go backpacking

I have been following quite a few people who share their experiences on social media about being hikers and backpacking. I hope that I can train and get out someday to experience incredible views and spend a few nights under the stars. 

4: Get another tattoo

I have 5 small tattoos, but I want to get another! I’ve been thinking of getting something inspired by plants… maybe a vine wrapping around my arm?

5: Learn Spanish

I’ve taken a few classes to learn Spanish, but I am nowhere near fluent yet. I want to keep learning and be able to speak Spanish.

6: Refinish a piece of furniture from my childhood

I am such a sucker for HGTV type shows that include home renovations and refinishing old furniture to give it life again. I want to take a dresser that I’ve had since I was a child to fix it up a bit and use it for as long as I can. 

7: Visit the town where my father grew up

My dad grew up in Michigan, a long way from Washington. I’ve been to his hometown before, but we were there for other reasons than just visiting, so I didn’t get to spend as much time as I would’ve liked hearing his stories and seeing the places where he grew up.  

8: Graduate college

I get to check this one off this year! I am graduating in June 2022 :)

9: Bake a pie

I love baking, but my experience stops at cookies and bread. I would love to spend this holiday season baking pies with my mom and aunts.

10: Learn how to knit

I love doing things with my hands! Knitting and creating something with your hands sounds like it would be so much fun. I want to learn how to knit and maybe make a beanie for the colder months.

11: Switch to eco-friendly alternatives 

I would love to be able to make bigger switches to eco-friendly alternatives in household items. I switched to using bamboo toothbrushes, but I want to include more alternatives in my household items.

12: Have a mini garden

The idea of having a small garden to make a salad or salsa from is amazing.

13: Adopt a pet

I have been considering adopting a pet lately! I have a cat now, but I’ve been thinking about getting him a friend.

14: Make a family cookbook

My family has amazing recipes that have become the favorites of everyone we know. Some of them are written on the backs of napkins, receipts and notepads. I would love to scan them and create a family cookbook for us, so we’re not passing around the same 30-year-old napkin for sugar cookies haha.

15: Visit Disneyland

I’m not much of an amusement park person, but I would love to go to try out the classic rides and eat some yummy food.

16: Read/watch the Harry Potter series

My older cousins used to rave about how much they loved the Harry Potter series. I want to get the chance to read the books and watch the movies since I never have.

17: Make a quilt

My aunt teaches a class at Northwest Indian College in Bellingham, WA on sewing and making quilts. She has made so many beautiful tribal design quilts. I hope I get the chance to learn from her and create something beautiful. 

18: Visit a museum

Museums are so fascinating to me. Getting the chance to look at art and historical artifacts for hours is something I would do every weekend if I could. I would love to visit one soon!

19: Make pasta from scratch

There is something so beautiful about watching someone make pasta from scratch. It truly seems like art to make pasta shapes with so much detail and care. 

20: Go snowboarding

I love outdoor activities, but oddly enough this is one that I haven’t done. I will probably need to go down the beginner slopes with my niece and nephew first. 

21: Build a giant snowman

One of my favorite memories is making a HUGE snowman with my older cousins when I was a kid. I have younger cousins now who are about the same age as I was when I first made that huge snowman. I want to keep that memory alive and give them one of making a giant snowman too. 

22: Propagate a plant

I am definitely a beginner plant mom, but one of the things I want to do is successfully propagate one of my plants to create a new plant. 

23: Build my savings 

I am learning more and more about managing money, and one of the things I want to do is to build a savings account. Having a safety net and feeling secure if something were to happen would be a great feeling. I want to set a goal for myself to put a portion of my earnings into a savings account.

24: Have a record collection

Music is one of my favorite things on Earth. I want to support my favorite artists and create a collection of a few of my favorites.

25: Attend Gathering of Nations Powwow

When my mom was my age, she attended the Gathering of Nations, which is the largest powwow in North America. I would love to visit this powwow in New Mexico with my family and connect with my culture and other tribes across the continent.

I might not get to every item on my list, and that’s totally okay. The whole reason I created these lists was to remind me to focus on the fun parts of life and to do things that I wanted to do. I hope I have inspired you to create something like this of your own! I will definitely say that I feel excited to accomplish and do these things on my list. It’s a reminder to not wait and push doing what you love until you are “older.” Why wait? You’re living right now. Go do what you love!


Zoe is a CWU Senior studying Elementary and Special Education. She loves to spend her free time with her cat Pip and loves to bake!
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