23 Things Before 23

I don’t know if it’s a universal thing, or if I’ve just become a bit of a humbug since having SB, but being a parent has made my birthday feel pretty unimportant in the grand scheme of things. I’d say my favourite days of the year are Christmas and SB’s birthday – once, my own birthday would have been top of the list. Now it doesn’t even feature.

I’m 22 today, and I’m working (hence why I’m writing and scheduling this post now), and I know everyone older than 22 who reads this is going to think “Oh dear god, stop saying you’re old” but I FEEL OLD. I’m not ready to be 22.

I enjoyed being 21. In fact, it’s probably the age I’ve enjoyed the most for a long time. I can’t quite pinpoint what it is that makes this age stand out above any other, but there’s something nice about saying “I’m 21”. It’s like saying “I’m in the prime of my life! I can take on the world!”. 22 is like “It’s all downhill from here” – in my head, anyway.

I’ve never been one to make bucket lists. I haven’t even got a contingency plan or a will in place for if I die, let alone a list of things I want to do before then. However, the lovely Tracey at One Frazzled Mum suggested that I do a sort of bucket list post ahead of my 22nd birthday – and I loved the idea!

So, without further ado, here’s my list of 23 things – big and small – that I want to do before I turn 23 in a year’s time.


  1. Climb Snowdon. I lived practically in the shadow of Wales’ tallest mountain for years, but I’m yet to actually climb it. That’s going to change this year!
  2. Be able to hold a conversation in Polish. That’s the language I’m learning at the moment – by this time next year, if I can have a fairly understandable conversation in Polish, I’ll be happy.
  3. Be able to cook 5 different, edible meals from scratch. As someone who, to quote Daf, “could burn water”, that’ll be no mean feat.
  4. Take SB to her first film at the cinema. There’s some great kids’ films due to come out in the next year!
  5. Run 5k in under 30 minutes. If I can just get my joints under control, I’m confident that this one is doable!
  6. Go to the library at least once a month. We take libraries for granted, and they’re not going to be around if nobody uses them!
  7. Get another tattoo. Ink addiction is real, people.
  8. Write a play. I’ve got that degree – now I need to use it!
  9. Go on a date. It’s harder than you think when there’s a toddler on the scene.
  10. Write an article and have it published. Anywhere except this blog counts.
  11. Do a 30-day challenge. Whether it’s blogging, photography or squats (please not squats), I’m going to take on one of these challenges and stick it out!
  12. Read 50 books. I used to get through books like it was no-one’s business. Now I’ve got a shelf-full that I haven’t even read yet. Next year, I’m going to change that.
  13. Visit Scotland. I’ve lived in the UK all my life and never set foot in Scotland!
  14. Carve a pumpkin. I’ve never done one by myself before – no more relegating the job to Daf!
  15. Start saving up a deposit for a house. As if I didn’t already feel old enough; 22 is the year we start saving for a family home.
  16. Walk across Barmouth Bridge with SB. I’ve walked across it before (I used to cross it every day on the train on the way to and from school!) but not since before SB was born.
  17. Eat gluten-free fish and chips. I have heard about this modern culinary miracle, but not tried it yet.
  18. Binge-watch a series on Netflix. Unfortunately, I’m not going to count Dragons: Race To The Edge, which I think we’ve watched about six times with SB.
  19. Watch a new movie every week. I am so behind on movies. Time to play catch-up!
  20. Keep blogging for another year. I’ve never kept a blog going for so long before – I don’t want to stop!
  21. Fly a kite. It’s a silly one, but I’ve never successfully flown a kite before!
  22. Get married. Okay, so I’m cheating a bit on this one, because I know it’s happening on December 18th – but still, how could I miss this one out? I can’t wait to marry my best friend.
  23. Look back on a great year. Whether I achieve all of these, half of these or only one, if I can look back on my year of being 22 and be happy, that’s good enough for me.


A lot of these aren’t parenting-focused, and there’s a reason for that. So much of my identity now is wrapped up in my life as a parent – and while I wouldn’t change that for the world, this “23 before 23” list is of things I want to do, mostly for my own benefit. It’s my way of reminding myself that I’m still a person – I have my own identity outside of Maddy the Parenting Blogger – and there’s a world out there for us to explore as a family.

In the words of the fantastic musical “Hamilton”… there’s a million things I haven’t done, but just you wait.


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