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Bethany Suckrow | She Writes and Rights

My 30 Before 30 List

In keeping with my unintended valentine’s theme this week, let me pass on to you the best date idea I’ve come up with in a long time. I mentioned last week that I was going to share my 30 Before 30 List, and here it is. But a kind of amazing thing happened in the midst of pulling this together; I realized that it wasn’t just about me. 
It started when I was writing this post a few weeks ago. I was thinking about what 2012 will hold for me, all the firsts I have to survive without mom. And then I thought about mom, all the things she survived just to be with us as long as possible. And then I thought about me, all the things I want to live long enough to do. I’m only 24. And it’s only February. A lot can happen in ten months. And a lot can happen in the five years, eight months and 23 days before I turn 30. If I’m blessed to make it that far, and maybe even another 5, 10, 20 or 30 years or more, I want to capitalize on that “privilege denied to many” of growing older. So it started as this short little list of things I wanted to make sure I accomplish this year, and then the list grew longer and the goals more grandiose. Maybe I can’t accomplish all these things in 2012, but in the next five years, I sure hope so. 
In my excitement, I told my husband, Matt, about it. 
“What’s on the list?” He asked. 
“Lots of things,” I replied, and I started listing them off as they came to mind. 
“I should make a 30 Before 30 list, too, I think,” he mused. 
And it sparked an idea : we agreed to finish our 30 Before 30 lists and then read them aloud to each other. So Friday night after he came home from work, we sat on the couch and drank Blue Moon’s Winter Abbey Ale (my favorite!) and ate pizza and read our lists too each other. Surprisingly enough, about half of our lists were the same. The other half were largely related to our personal career success. It was romantic and relaxing and fun, and perhaps most surprising of all is that it didn’t prompt arguments about money or time or responsibility. It was just dreaming, much the way we did when we first dated. Whether you’re married or not, making a list of goals is a great way to gauge whether you are on the same page with each other in a positive way. 

So here’s my list, arranged by category and definitely not in chronological order.

F A M I L Y

1. Get a dog.
2. See hubby go on tour with his band!
3. Start a family.

P R O F E S S I O N A L

4. Earn a graduate degree in creative writing/publishing.
5. Become a full-time freelance writer.
6. Curate an art exhibit for local artists.
7. Contribute a story to This American Life.
8. Become a regular writer for a renowned magazine, newspaper or NPR.
9. Write and publish a mother/daughter memoir.
10. Write and publish a book of poetry.

P E R S O N A L 

11. Buy a Mac desktop complete with Adobe Creative Suite.
12. Buy new living room furniture.
13. Buy a new bed (mattress and frame)
14. Take a French cooking class.
15. Host a four-course dinner party.
16. Donate blood once per year (at least)
17. Run a half or full marathon.
18. Read all of Jane Austen
19. Take a yoga class.
22. Make a scrapbook/photo album of my semester abroad.

T R A V E L

20. Visit hubby and band while they are on tour.
21. Go on a European vacation with hubby.
22. Return to Salzburg, visit the Monchsberg.
23. Go on vacation with my Dad, my brothers, and hubby.
   (Yellowstone, Maine, or Alaska, maybe? You pick, Dad!)
24. Visit :
- New York City
- Washington D.C.
- California wine country

F I N A N C I A L

25. Get health insurance for my husband, me and our growing family.
26. Establish life insurance.
27. Get better at saving money.
28. Bring down school loan debt by 50% (I feel like this is lofty, but nothing is impossible, right?)
29. Establish college fund for our kids.
30. Buy a house.

Do you have a list for what you want to do in the next five, ten or twenty years, or before you reach a certain age? What’s the top priority?

Poem : To My Dear and Loving Husband.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and this poem always stops my heart with the last line. It’s not icky sweet; it’s bold and eternal and it calls us to a higher understanding of love than how we feel in the moment. It asks us to create a legacy that lives on after we’re gone, a love story for the ages. 
Do you have a favorite love poem?

To My Dear and Loving Husband
BY ANNE BRADSTREET

If ever two were one, then surely we.

If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

Learn more about the poem here. Wedding photo from this talented dude.

book·ish : Good Spelling is Sexy

Just a friendly reminder for all you lovers out there : don’t forget to spellcheck your valentines.

book·ish/ˈbo͝okiSH/Adjective


1. (of a person or way of life) Devoted to reading and studying rather than worldly interests.
2. (of language or writing) Literary in style or allusion.
3. (of art and all manner of lovely things) devoted to the written word as a form of art and as a way of seeing the world.
4. (of SheWritesandRights.blogspot.com) anything of the aforementioned characteristics as they are found on the interwebs and reposted by Bethany, because bookish and writerly things always give reason for amusement.

Goals for 2012

It’s been a month. One month without mom. Without her voice, her touch, her face, her thoughts. I expected to be immovable, stranded on an island of grief and away from the world that I understand. But grief defies expectations, and so does faith. When the two interact, we often find ourselves in unfamiliar territory; rough, but not impossible. 

This is where I find myself, one month into this new chapter of life, this new year where nothing and everything is different. The thing is, for me, the girl that moved away from home nearly seven years ago ne’er to return, my life looks the same in so many ways. But it feels different on the deepest levels. 
And so when I started working through the idea of change, writing this post a couple of weeks ago prompted me to think about tangible ways to embrace that change. I’m not one to make resolutions; I’m usually one to break them. When I have made new year resolutions, February usually marks the end of effort and there’s a celebratory burning of the resolution list. I can be just that rebellious against myself. 
But this February is different. I am different.
Maybe it seems inappropriately belated to share a resolution list in February. But life is short. And in one of the last conversations my mom had, she told one of our family members, with clarity and conviction and absolute love, “It’s never too late.” 
If we’re not intentional, time rushes past and most of it is wasted. So I’m sharing with you the goals I have for 2012, the ones that will help me embrace change. Next week I’ll share another goal list, my 30 Before 30. Tell me, do you have any goals for 2012? Or goals before you turn a certain age? Now that it’s February, how would you rate your progress with those goals?
P E R S O N A L : 
- get a physical (for the first time in 2 years) 
- visit the optometrist and get a new pair of glasses (for the first time in 5 years) 
- visit the dentist (for the first time in 5 years)
- take a bubble bath once per week (this one is going VERY well, I should mention.)
- give myself a weekly manicure (this one has also been a success!)
- read at least 12 books (an average of one per month, but I don’t have to finish each one within 30 days)
P R O F E S S I O N A L : 
- redesign blog and/or convert to WordPress
- double my blog readership 
- contribute 11 guest posts for other blogs (average of one per month from February to December) 
- write and share at least one new poem per month on my blog
- get one article or poem published in an online or print magazine
- create writing portfolio for graduate school and job interviews
- get business cards for my writiting, editing, and art
- create and sell at least 100 paintings through my Etsy shop
- get up early enough to eat breakfast and write for 30 minutes each morning (working on this one, but not quite there yet)
[Image via]

Guest Poem : Jim Woods

I feel the wind in my face.
I see nothing but space, color and light.
I dream.
I drift as the sky carries me away.
I close my eyes and savor the moment.
I feel the warm light against my face.
I am lifted higher.
I begin to soar, up and down, all around.
I drift away as the sky continues to open.
I find even more colors above.
I continue to drift in the heavens.
As I drift towards you.

~

Jim Woods is a dreamer, writer, and guitar junkie living in Nashville. Jim writes to inspire others to pursue their passions and follow their dreams. You can read Jim’s blog at www.unknownjim.com.

Poem : Saturday

Yes, I suppose I’ve stayed in bed too long,
till noon,
tangling myself between sheets,
roaming the untouched corners of my mind
while my head is held comforted
by pillows.
It’s the only way,
these lazy Saturdays,
while the white noise of neighbors’ water runs
and planes of busy people
fly high above me.
At the peak of daytime, I am only just beginning;
better that I make this transition
slowly,
than rush myself through
taking note of nothing.
Run along without me.
Let me savor sleep
and hold myself
in the quietness of simply being.

book·ish : Favorite Film Adaptations of Literature.

Oscar season is upon us! Do you watch them every year? Last night the hubs and I watched the Ides of March, which is a nominee for Best Adapted Screenplay. I haven’t read the book, but it got me thinking about best adapted films from literature. I find it interesting that The Help is not on the list; I felt that the film did great justice to this beloved novel! But that’s not the first time I’ve disagreed with Oscar picks. [Here is the full list of Oscar nominees for 2012.]

My all time favorite adapted film is Atonement. It is also in my top favorites of books and films in general. It was nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay at the 80th Academy Awards in 2007, but fell to No Country for Old Men on both counts.

Tell me, what is your favorite film adaptation of a novel?

~

book·ish/ˈbo͝okiSH/Adjective


1. (of a person or way of life) Devoted to reading and studying rather than worldly interests.
2. (of language or writing) Literary in style or allusion.
3. (of art and all manner of lovely things) devoted to the written word as a form of art and as a way of seeing the world.
4. (of SheWritesandRights.blogspot.com) anything of the aforementioned characteristics as they are found on the interwebs and reposted by Bethany, because bookish and writerly things always give reason for amusement.

Inspired By.

I’ve wanted to get my hands on it for a long time, and now I am finally and blissfully engrossed in Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. It is as good as everyone has insisted, and it’s just what I need right now. I love the imagery in this, 

“I wish I had a secret I could let you in on, some formula my father passed on to me in a whisper just before he died, some code word that has enabled me to sit at my desk and land flights of creative inspiration like an air-traffic controller. But I don’t.” 

Yes. Exactly. 
And today my thoughts are flighty and somewhat incomprehensible and so I’m thankful that this weekend is here, and that I can fly around with them, exploring new ideas, and hopefully capture them on a page somehow. 
These are the words and ideas that inspired me this week, the ones that are still floating around in my head, among other things. I hope you find them as delightful as I have. 
“We lost the bet and won everything.” A beautiful post on marriage
Are you a midnight hustler? Ryan Gosling has something to tell you.
Bones and bodies : the mystery of our physical selves.
[Photo : my peace lily. The one living thing in my apartment besides me and husband. I find it fascinating. Also, do you follow me on Instagram? Let's be photo friends.]

Mingus at the Showplace : Digesting Experience

I heard an excerpt of this poem on my favorite morning radio show this morning, during a report about the Poetry Foundation. I howled with laughter at the first line, and delighted in the words as they flowed on. 

Mingus at the Showplace  

BY WILLIAM MATTHEWS 

I was miserable, of course, for I was seventeen,
and so I swung into action and wrote a poem,
and it was miserable, for that was how I thought
poetry worked: you digested experience and shat
literature. 

Read the rest of the poem here
And I am so thankful that in the digital age, radio hasn’t died, and neither has poetry. Happy Wednesday, friends. 

Poem : The Movement



The Movement 

I’ve never been able to cartwheel.
Even as a kid.
But since everything in my life is changing,
Upside down and backwards to how
I thought I would feel,
I figure,
I should do things differently.
Make changes.
Try, for once, to feel triumphant,
exuberant,
because
YES!
I did it!
I’ll stretch my body out.
Reach my hands to the firm ground.
Let my feet feel the wind,
the free-flowing sky.
Let my stomach muscles loosen
and my belly-button see daylight.
Because I am capable of movement.
I am capable of being moved.

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