Happy New Year everyone! I can’t believe it’s already 2019; it seems like 2018 flew by way too fast. With the New Year in mind, I thought this week for my #30before30 post I’d dip into the topic of New Year’s resolutions—what hasn’t worked for me in the past, and how I plan to get it right this year.
This is gonna be a bit of a long one, because I’m tackling two posts in one: the post I meant to write last week, before I unexpectedly got majorly sick the entire week leading up to Christmas; and a post I didn’t intend to write, but which seems like it needs to be written after the wild couple of weeks I’ve had. So buckle in and let Lucy explain all the madness! (The title will make sense, I promise!)
I hate small talk. It isn’t just that I run out of topics—I don’t have them to start with, thanks to a blend of social anxiety and garden-variety introversion. But somewhere in my twenties, I realized that learning how to make better small talk was an essential life skill that I needed to learn, fast.
Why? For starters, there’s no magical formula for escaping awkward situations that lead to small talk. You will always find yourself at a work event seated next to someone you barely know, or at a party that’s comprised largely of strangers. No one likes someone who sits silently staring into space, and if you’re supposed to be networking, then it can do you some serious damage. “Quiet” translates too quickly to “standoffish”, to both workmates and potential in-laws!
And I hate to break it to you, but there are a lot of situations when staring at your phone isn’t just considered rude, it might be physically impossible. (Back to those work events!)
In last week’s #30before30 post I talked a little about the inspiration for this blog series. It was also inspired by one of my favorite quotes, from the writer Douglas Adams:“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
I definitely haven’t ended up where I thought I would at this age, but boy, have I seen some sights along the way! And looking back now, my view of goals, happiness and success have changed drastically. If I could go back in time and hand my younger self a new #30before30 list, it would look remarkably different from the bucket list of items I originally wanted to accomplish. There are a lot of lessons I’ve learned the hard way over the past few years, and I wish I could share that advice with younger me.
Several years ago I wrote a bucket list for my life. It was thirty things I wanted to accomplish before I turned thirty, ranging from personal development to education and career goals. They ranged from getting a degree to learning a new language to traveling to different countries that I’d wanted to visit since I was in high school.
I don’t remember all the goals on the list, but I do remember that I accomplished almost none of them. When I was twenty-eight, that felt like a failure. After all, conventional wisdom puts a lot of stock in having a five-year plan, going to school, advancing in a career, setting goals for your personal life and checking them off. At twenty-eight I had accomplished none of the major plans I’d set for my twenties, and the things I’d worked at for several years—getting married, putting ten years into moving up the ladder in a career—suddenly dissolved. I hadn’t traveled the world, hadn’t made it to college, and had pretty much shelved art, once my passion, as a dead end.