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I made a summer to-do list and it was incredible. I did almost everything and it was an amazing motivator to keep going, doing and exploring. So, what now? Making my 25th year the best it possibly could be.

1) Learn to play guitar.

2) Get a stamp in my way-too-empty passport.

3) Write a book proposal.

4) Run a half marathon.

5) Break out my should-have-been-used-by-now tent.

6) Learn how to actually keep a personal budget.

7) Volunteer time somewhere that really counts. Find a non-profit to dedicate passion.

8) Take a trip with brother.

9) Re-immerse in the arts: read more, listen to bands I’ve never heard of.

10) Continue my education. Enroll in a class or make a point to find non-traditional ways to keep challenging myself and growing.

11) Stop being afraid of commitment, Mom & Dad have set an awesome example—there’s no reason to be so antsy.

12) Find a new church home.

13) When you see family members are calling, answer it. When you see long-distance friends are calling your phone, answer it. When you don’t want to call, don’t underestimate the power of sending the unexpected letter.

14) Be outrageously spontaneous at least once. Want to watch a sunrise on the coast? Go. Want to see that band that only plays on weeknights at a hole-in-the-wall in New York? Make it happen.

15) Surround myself with French. That includes you, Sarah Bennett. (Make it to Montreal.) Find a conversational friend. Read something French at least once a week.

16) Try for other acting experience.

17) Learn how to handle a firearm. Okay, and maybe shoot one too.

18) Be published in a news forum that I haven’t been published in before.

19) Be vulnerable. It’s OK to tell people how I feel every so often. In fact, I should tell some people every single day.

20) See a play on Broadway.

21) Visit a state I’ve never been to.

22) See what it’s like to be brunette. Even if it’s just a day.

23) Simplify. Purge the belongings I don’t need. Space, memories and people are more important than things.

24) Be open to being in a relationship and really think about what I want. 

25) Apply for something outside of your comfort zone. Be it a mission trip, race or whatever I’ve wanted to try in the past but chickened out on.

The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
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