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30 Things To Do Before Turning 30

For Christmas, one of my stocking stuffers from my husband Zeb (oh yeah, I’m married! I suppose we do have a lot to catch up from since my last blogging phase from 2011-2018!) was a cute rom-com fiction book called “Love, Lists and Fancy Ships.” The main character is a 29-year old yacht stewardess who created a list of 30 things to accomplish before she turned 30. While reading the book, I was 28 and about to turn 29 myself. The number “30” startles my gag reflex. It’s an age that sounds so much farther in the distance for me than it really is. I feel like I just finished college still. I know I’ve hit the major adult milestones in my 20s – bought a house, got married, and found out I was pregnant with my first baby. But I still don’t feel “adult” enough to qualify for the 30s club just yet.

To make the new decade more palatable, I decided to copy the main character from this novel and write my own bucket list to make the most of the rest of my 20s.

The morning of my 29th birthday, Zeb and I went to brunch together at a local spot here in Idaho. I started a new note in my phone and began listing activities I hoped to do before my next birthday. By the end of our brunch, I had 17 items I would commit to doing over the next 365 days. We brought the note back out at dinner with my parents that night and rounded out the 30 items.

And here it is:

30 Things To Do Before Turning 30

  1. Visit a National Park
  2. Stand-Up Paddle Board
  3. Run a Half Marathon
  4. Visit a Museum
  5. Sing Karaoke at a Bar
  6. Do 30 Push-ups in a Row
  7. Officiate a Wedding
  8. Read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
  9. Try Caviar
  10. Fit Back into my Wedding Dress
  11. Volunteer at an Event
  12. Plant a Garden
  13. Catch a Fish
  14. Practice Calligraphy
  15. Watch All of the Harry Potter Movies
  16. Give Birth
  17. Make Homemade Bread
  18. Sled Down the Bruneau Sand Dunes
  19. Attend a Concert
  20. Swim in an Ocean
  21. Learn New Winter Sport
  22. Hike a New Trail in Idaho
  23. Visit a New Country
  24. Make a Coffee Table Scrapbook
  25. Ride a Roller Coaster
  26. Take a Dance Class
  27. Play 18 Holes of Disc Golf
  28. Jump in a Pool with all my Clothes On
  29. Go Tent Camping
  30. Travel to 3 Different States

Zeb says its cheating to add “give birth” since I’m nine months pregnant as I wrote this list (oh yeah, another catch-up moment for those blog readers that haven’t heard from me in 3 years. Surprise!) but I think it’s a pretty momentous occasion during my 20s that I should get some kind of credit for on this list of activities!

I plan to create a journal/blog entry for every item on this list as I cross it off and document the year through the photos and stories this brings up. So stay tuned to see how we work our way through this list before I turn the big 3-0 on February 12, 2023!

What Happens After Graduation

I finally broke up with my “Student-Athlete in love with health and fitness” tag line in the blog header above. About time, considering I only graduated….11 months ago. It took me a ridiculously long time to settle on “Post-Grad Life – Balancing Health & Happiness.” Finding a new direction takes time, y’all!

The timing of this is so appropriate and unplanned, since most of you are in college yourselves and graduation season is just around the corner!

What To Expect After Graduation  New Blog Post!  Stronglikemycoffee.com

Now that I’ve officially cut ties with my student-athlete title (no looking back now!), it’s time to fully embrace the unpredictability and freedom that come with that first year out of school. There are unlimited directions. You can eat gummy worms for breakfast. You can move to a new city. You’re probably going to want to update that resume.

The most important thing that I can offer one year after graduating: be flexible with your plans.
What Happens After Graduation  Stronglikemycoffee.com

Having goals for our career and lifestyle once we earn that degree is expected, but make sure you aren’t getting caught up in what everyone else is doing. Figuring out post-grad life isn’t a race or a competition; try to focus on working towards your own goals instead of comparing everyone else’s. Especially not what they’re showing on social media – you have no idea what else is going on behind the scenes of that strategically and perfectly curated post!

We see other people’s individual achievements and take them as a collective goal. What I mean by that is we see one friend with their dream job, someone else with the most gorgeously decorated loft apartment, another friend with a daily habit of $15 Whole Foods smoothies, a different someone with the most flawless make-up and hair, someone else in the most inspiring relationship and yet another who seems to spend everyday on a hammock at the beach sipping sangria (with a ridiculous bikini bod, to boot). And as a natural human instinct, we want all of these things too! We take these individual accomplishments and expect ourselves to achieve them all. But the reality is – no one has them ALL at the same time.Eli Young Band Guinevere Song Quote | Stronglikemycoffee.com

I think that social media, “reality” television, and our generation’s culture in general have provided a false sense of reality for a post-graduate. Of course there are the lucky select few who are the exception to this rule. In general, though, the vast majority of recent college graduates (or just those in their early 20’s) should expect to put a lot of time, energy and sacrifice into working towards the lifestyle that they admire. Dream jobs don’t land in your lap, and oftentimes they require a great deal of tedious or dirty work at first. Expensive habits like daily fancy coffees, superfood green juices and bottles of champagne can only happen if you pay your utilities, gas, phone bill, etc. first. (If you have to prioritize, hint: electricity > organic donuts.) And things don’t happen exactly as you picture them in your head. Exhibit A:

What Happens After Graduation | New Blog Post |Stronglikemycoffee.comI’m just going to use my own personal experience because I know a lot of my friends relate and you might too. Right before graduation, I had the fantasy goal of moving across the country, renting my own apartment, decorating it like Lauren Conrad, throwing adorable and elaborate parties, working out on the beach, finding the dream marketing job for a non-profit company with co-workers who would all become my best friends, meeting a guy straight out of a Nicholas Sparks novel, running an uber-successful health and fitness blog and never feeling an ounce of stress.

Wrightsville Beach, NC  Stronglikemycoffee.com

There’s nothing wrong with GOALS and we should all have an idea of what lifestyle we want to create for ourselves! But expecting it all to happen the day after graduation was my downfall. I felt like having a gap between graduation day and this fantasy life meant I failed. I was disappointed that I’d have to move in with my parents until I worked everything out. My expectations were so far-fetched that I let myself feel disappointment and failure RATHER than feeling damn proud of graduating college, appreciative of my parents for all of their support, and excitement towards the possibilities of my post-grad life. No More! My parents have helped me become more realistic, and even though my personality type will always have pretty big goals and dreams for myself, I know that nothing is instant and that the time and work we put in will make it worth it. And taking a little time after graduation to figure it out is okay!

Mammoth Lakes Running and Hiking Blog Post | Stronglikemycoffee.com

Now that I’m wrapping this up, I hope this doesn’t come across as “make your dreams smaller” or “don’t aim so high.” My original post-grad southern life on the beach is still my dream/goal/plan! I’m just saying expect to work for your goals, you have to earn that end result, and don’t set such strict deadlines. Don’t be so hard on yourself, or compare your journey to anyone else’s. It’s not a race.

And P.S. The majority of these types of posts are things that I know I need to remind MYSELF, so I’m not writing this as a mentor or a preacher – I’m right there with ya. :)

Thoughts? Post-grad experiences? What are YOUR goals?

Starting New in Boise!

I was hoping to just casually slip back in and start posting about running and smoothies again, but I’m pretty sure some sort of explanation is necessary after a 6-month hiatus ;)

Six months ago I wrote the post “One Last Note” {scroll down} because I needed to take some things off of my plateFinding balance between working a full-time job that involved 2 hours of commuting each day, studying for my NASM personal training certification, training for a marathon, getting enough sleep, trying to keep a social life, and continually coming up with new blogging material all at the same time was a struggle. Eventually I realized that I couldn’t handle it all, and since I wasn’t able to give Strong Like My Coffee the 100% effort I would have liked, I removed it from the equation.

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Fast-forward to today – a lot has changed! And in this case, change is good :)  I’ve finished up my NASM course and earned my personal training certification. I’m no longer training for a marathon. I’ve quit my full-time job and freed up 2 hours a day from the commute alone. But the most DRASTIC change of all – I am moving to Boise, Idaho in 5 DAYS.

I’ve lived in the same cute little blue corner house my entire life. (Except for 4 years of college in Flagstaff, AZ). Over the past three years, I’ve had more than my fair share of challenges which affected my mood and outlook. One quote that I’ve always LOVED: “If you don’t like where you are, move. You’re not a tree.” Starting somewhere new has been a dream of mine, and I’m finally ready to take the jump! New city, new apartment, new job, new friends. Boise is such a gorgeous scenic vibrant city that I cannot wait to explore.

Boise river Greenbelt Run (stronglikemycoffee.com)

All in all, I’m just happier with where my life stands and I realized that my plate isn’t too full anymore. And that I miss blogging.

I love creating new recipes, taking pictures, writing, designing, and interacting with others. I love reading blogs and gaining new perspectives on fitness, nutrition, balance, and general life stuff. And I have so many fun ideas to share, so many fitness topics to discuss, so many conversations related to finding balance in our crazy, busy, stressful, wonderful lives.

Mammoth Lakes Coffee Shops Stellar Brew Basin Bowl Stronglikemycoffee.com

It’s taken me two full weeks to figure out how to revive Strong Like My Coffee though. Ever since Strong Like My Coffee was created, it was a “Healthy College Girl” blog. Where does that leave me, as a graduate out in the real world? Well as my dad reminded me, everything in life evolves. Just because one phase is over doesn’t mean that we can’t blend into something new. Is “Healthy Post-grad Girl” a thing? ;) Maybe not. But I am right in the thick of handling job applications, interviews, moving into an apartment, having to make new friends, starting a brand new job and living my very first year without homework. And managing stress, finding new fitness goals after my collegiate athletic career ended, and transitioning from student to full-time adult takes some time. You may have noticed I’ve thrown out the word balance quite a few times in this post already, and I think that’s the direction this whole blog is headed.

Graduation Cap Decoration Stronglikemycoffee.com

SO – now that the whole “hey, hello, what’s up, I’m back, miss me?” explanation is over, we can get back into the fun stuff! I’ve updated my “About” page & lined up new interesting posts to kick off next week! :)

Today I’m working on packing up my entire life into Home Depot boxes while listening to Sam Hunt on repeat and sipping an iced vanilla Americano. While going through my entire closet, I found so many coins in random pockets and bags, so I cashed them in for a $13 Starbucks gift card – score! Hey, I told you I’m recently unemployed ;)  It almost makes the multiple hours of packing bearable.

Candle and picture frame with quote | Stronglikemycoffee.com

Creating a brand new fresh start in a new city, new apartment, new job, and new friends sounds so glamorous – and trust me, I’ve been dreaming about it for 2 years now. But there are some really un-sexy parts of relocating too, and I want to keep it real here! Like the 14 drive, climbing three flights of stairs with heavy furniture, having to register at the DMV and getting lost on new running routes. Thank goodness for smart phones, I don’t know how people relocated before them. Can’t wait to share all of the ups and downs of this new adventure!

P.S. Thanks for sticking around while I was on a little break, you guys are the best :)

XOXO Kenz.

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