20 Things to Do in Your 20's - Equestrian Version

I live nearly 20 minutes from town and when the weather is poor it lengthens my daily commute considerably, often leaving me pondering odd things in my half-awake, pre-caffeinated daze.  Lately, I've been compiling a mental list of things I feel were/are crucial to developing me into the person I am and while I don't think people are ever done growing in a mental sense, I began researching various posts such as "30 things to do before you're 30" or "books to read in your 20's" and it has inspired my own list.  

For the record, I'll be 27 at the end of February and with an upcoming birthday I have been pondering growth.  I still have time to scratch some of these things off my list but they really resonated with me.  This post involved a lot of self-reflection as well as estimated prediction and while it's not all horse related, sit back and mull over how these can apply to your life - even if you're in your 30's or beyond!

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  1. Find What Sets Your Soul on Fire, and Throw Gas on it!
    • A few years ago I set a New Years Resolution to do what makes me happy, not what makes others happy if it means that it makes me miserable, and this has been an absolutely life changing revelation.  Part of "adulting" is sometimes having to do things we don't want to in life, but if you absolutely hate Jumpers and only you do it because all your friends do, what's the point?  Find what you love, and make it your bitch begin the unrelenting pursuit.

  2. Discover What Type of Reader You Are
    • I have enjoyed a good ol' fashioned book for as long as I can remember, but it was never a big priority to me.  Admittedly, I was quick to turn on the TV, but hesitant to pick up a book.  I later concluded, it's because I didn't know what type of reader I was and therefor was reading books that didn't appeal to me.  While I do switch up the genre from time to time, finding what types of books interest me was what really shone the light on my love for a well written book.  Now, I would much rather get lost in a book for hours then watch TV.  Reading has piqued my curiosity and fueled my creativity more times than I can count.  It's truly remarkable to be moved by mere words, regardless of the story they're telling.  Read a book, then read another.  If you're not sure where to start, ask a friend or peruse the recommended books on Amazon.

  3. Get Outta Town
    • I grew up in what I would consider a secluded area of North Western BC, where we were literally at the 'end of the line' for horsey-things with the exception of one town a little closer to the coast that is home to a few horse owners (and fellow blogger C).  I grew up at what I would label as the best barn in the area.  It was a very active barn with frequent clinics, various on-site instructors, and upwards of 30 boarders during my youth.  Thinking back, I was a competitive and arrogant kid who thought I could do very little wrong.  While I am, and have always been, an empathetic person, I was a much harder shell; almost robot like.  I thought I was humble, but looking back now, I was far from it.  I took riding very seriously, and dreamed of being one of the best riders in the region like some of the other girls I knew.  As such, this bred jealousy.  It wasn't until I moved to Alberta in 2010 that I realized how teeny, tiny that sea was that I called 'home'. The riders I looked up to were average, just like everybody else.  I realized there was more to life than living in a small, clicky town where hordes of girls from various circles stuck together and criticized one another. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it doesn't happen here but people are far less concerned about what others are (or aren't) doing in larger, more spread out areas such as where I live now.  Who has more money, nicer horses or invested parents who pay their way seems less important now.  While I still live in a small town eventually, I recognized that I too, was average.. and that is OK.  Just as I came to that realization, the most amazing thing happened. I became less arrogant, just like that.  I 'get' it's not logical for everyone to move or travel for an extensive period of time, but at least consider that you are most likely part of the drama that comes with many small and/or secluded towns, I can almost guarantee it.  If you're denying it in a cranky tone and cursing me, you're probably still arrogant. This realization really opened my eyes, and encouraged me to lift others up rather than put them (and myself) down.

  4. Invest in Yourself
    • What are you doing for yourself? No really, what are you doing to build yourself? We're at a pivotal point in our lives where decisions we make now may still be a part of our lives when we're in our 30's, 40's 50's or even 60's.  We aren't just living in the now, but living for the future.  We're buying cars, we're buying houses, we're taking out loans and lines of credits, we're vying for a promotion or starting a business - we're building a life.  While we follow the masses of growing up, take time to invest in yourself - your happiness, your self worth, your joy and your truth.  There's nothing more disheartening than looking back on your life saying "I have a fancy house/horse/truck/trailer/etc, but I am a miserable person".  If you measure your happiness in material, this list can't help you.

  5. Pay Your Debts
    • Debts are things owed, and they often weigh heavily on us.  While the most common debts are measured in monetary value, they aren't always.  Debts can be a deal you made with your mom, your friend, your co-worker or yourself.  Perhaps you promised yourself new show clothes when you gain or shed the 10 (+/-) pounds that are troubling you.  Perhaps you promised yourself a vacation or a lifestyle change when you accomplished something big in your life.  Prioritize these debt-related goals, dispose of those that no longer apply and accomplish the things that lead you to #6.

  6. Cash Out
    • Once you accomplish your prioritized debt-related goals, cash out. Reward yourself.

  7. Buy Something Expensive, and Pay for it in Cash
    • This could be something that has a price tag of $100 that you've wanted for years but been too invested in your debt repayment that you didn't treat yourself, or something larger such as a new vehicle or a nicer saddle, but where ever this leads you - pay for it in cash.  There's something incredibly rewarding to a pay decent sum of cash for something that excites you, especially something 'big' where financing (either credit card or in-house) is an option.  Subsequently, you could substitute this by paying a financed debt like your truck or trailer off in cash. 

  8. Develop a Dish (or Dishes) That You're Known For
    • Assuming you can cook (if not, insert 8a: learn to cook), master a few dishes that you become known for in your social circle.  It doesn't have to be fancy, but you're better than a box of Kraft Dinner with bacon on top, or a meat & cheese tray.

  9. Be Passionate About a Cause
    • While you don't necessarily need to donate funds to your nearest horse rescue, find a cause that's important to you and work it into your life.  Make an effort to recycle more or avoid single use plastics (I'm projecting on this one), volunteer at fundraising events, participate in a walk or marathon in the name of a cause, or attend a fundraising banquet.

  10. Be A Part of Your Community
    • Depending on your schedule or level of yourself that you're willing to invest, become a part of your community.  This could be as simple as attending your local horse clubs AGM's, volunteering at a show/event/etc, or joining a non-horsey related organization within your community.  You don't have to run for president, but you can join a book club or contact your local Volunteer Coordinator to help with local events when you're available.

  11. Explore your Family History
    • There's something to be said about knowing where you came from.  Perhaps you're the only horsey person in your family for as far as your eye can see, but I promise you, there is more to your family than your siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Find out where you came from, and who your ancestors were.

  12. Pay it Forward (and Don't Expect Anything in Return)
    • Often people want to be a part of the change everyone talks about, but feel too small to make a difference.  This is grossly incorrect.  When your finances allow, pay it forward to inspire others.  Whether you're in a drive thru and offer to pay for the person behind you, or you call your local Vet clinic and ask if you can put $50 on a strangers account (perhaps local animal rescues, etc), or mail $20 or a prepaid visa to a random postal box with an anonymous note, pay it forward.   Hopefully this will inspire others and eventually, 10 people who felt too small will have made a difference.

  13. Share Yourself with Those Who Matter
    • Perhaps you nailed the combination in your last schooling ride or beat your PR (Personal Record) in your Dressage Test, or maybe you got your first flying change or just managed to stay on today, but share it with those who matter.  I'm not talking about your 568 Facebook Friends, but your mom, your private circle of friends, your significant other, or your dog.  Let your pride shine through, no matter the feat.  Stop comparing your accomplishments to others, or feeling like they don't matter as a result.

  14. Find your Style
    • Find your style and own it.  Whether you're the Punk-Rock Dressage rider, or the Hunter who hangs up her spurs and attends Burning Man every year, find your style and be proud of who you are.  Embrace what makes you who you are.

  15. Go Au Naturale
    • Pack a bag of basic essentials and head out to a (relatively safe) area, preferably remote, hike-in only areas and camp for a few days.  I'm not referring to 'glamping' with your $100,000 travel trailer, WiFi and Satellite TV.  Leave the electronics behind, feel the earth beneath your bare feet and be reminded how blessed we are to have access to the amenities we do.  Pitch a tent or hang a hammock and appreciate the peace and quiet.

  16. Learn how to Budget
    • Budgeting isn't that scary (I'm lying), and with the features of Excel or Word Templates now, a computer can basically do it for you.  Pull up your bank statements and see where you can save (sorry, but you can make a coffee at home once in a while!), and learn how to budget your finances.  Do you really need a new saddle pad?! (I may be projecting again...)

  17. Find Solace in Solidarity
    • Learn how to stand on your own two feet and be comfortable doing so.  Whether this means hauling to a lesson, clinic or show by yourself or going on a solo vacation - be comfortable in your own company. 

  18. Ditch the Bitch
    • Most of us have 'that person' that we really aren't sure why we keep them in our lives.  They drain us emotionally and don't value our friendship.  Like an old T-Shirt that doesn't fit into your wardrobe despite having some great memories attached to it, it's time to discard!  This can be scary and confrontational at times, but it's a necessary evil and your future-self will thank me!

  19. Wrap your head around Politics
    • I'm not saying you have to run for Mayor, but understand what the different parties stand for and make sure you vote in local and federal elections.

  20. Forgive Yourself
    • Stop dwelling on what you should have said, or what you could have done.  Don't blame yourself for your short comings.  Live in the present, and blaze your own path - when in doubt; add leg.

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Comments

  1. is it weird to say that some days i'm still kinda shocked at the reality of being an *adult*??? lol.... anyway, good list and good food for thought !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha you and me both! Who let me get this far?! I don't feel qualified to do this job.

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  2. I focused only on 3 things and it really changed my life - http://suenostomanvuelo.blogspot.com/2018/09/the-best-advice-ive-ever-received.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those are great, and really sum up the 20 things I compiled!

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