Compromising Positions

A sex ed blog with more

30 Before 30

I’m a big fan of having projects to work on and things to accomplish. I love the feeling of crossing something off a list, even if it’s as simple as ‘brush teeth’ or ‘eat lunch.’ If I think I’m having an unproductive day, I make a to do list of simple things so that I can feel like I’ve done something valid with my day. Evidently, some days are better than others. It’s been 3 years that I’ve been out of school and I recently realized that I no longer have any big things to work towards. So, I’ve created this list of 30 things I want to do before I am 30 years old, meaning I have 4.5 years to do these things. I realize this is a sex blog, but a number of people have been asking about my list so I’m putting it here even though not everything has to do with sex. I will update this post as I complete the list.

1. Run BodyPaint. Completed May 10, 2014

I created and facilitated an incredible workshop in which a few female identified persons got naked and painted canvas with their bodies, painted each other, got vulnerable and shared about themselves. The goal was to empower, foster self-love and body pride, and to create a beautiful piece of artwork that we could each take home a piece of. Specifically, we shared a drink, did some ice breakers, got naked, chatted about some vulnerabilities and self-love, and then started painting! We painted ourselves, used our bodies to paint the canvas, and then painted each other (or really, splattered paint of a different colour on one another). We chatted more after painting and then cleaned up. It was honestly so humbling, incredible, motivating, moving. Wow. I am so grateful.

bodypaint

2. This is changing from: Have an art show.

My photographer friend Mark, who is helping with BodyPaint, wants to take a series of photos of the process as well as the conclusion of bodies and artwork. He has a gallery space, so we’re going to create a show after a few BodyPaint sessions. I never considered a show as a possibility, so this is very exciting. Also, it could lead to more BodyPainting! Check out Mark’s website: http://frommyeyetoyours.com/

To: Live abroad for a year. 

I got a working holiday visa for Australia, which means I can work there for a year, starting anytime before April 2018. And I have the possibility of extending for another year. There are a few other stipulations, and I need to figure out when/where, but I’m excited!

3. Run a 5k.

I realize this seems small, but I literally just started using the Couch to 5K app to help myself get healthier. I’ve used it thrice. Time for this gal to get healthy.

4. Travel to San Francisco.

I meet incredible people constantly. In the summer of 2013, I had the pleasure of staffing a peace education camp in Denmark for a month with CISV. There, I met a laid back Filipino, an inspiring Californian, and a very kind Mexican. Since I was staff and they were leaders at camp, there was a slight disconnect due to the nature of our roles. But now, thanks to the beauty of technology aka WhatsApp, we are able to communicate constantly with each other. I am SO grateful to have such a strong international support system. These ladies really are truly incredible and we’ve decided that we will all go to San Francisco at some point together to have a reunion.

5. Get a full-time office job for at least one year.

For some reason, I feel like this is a rite of passage into grown-up land. The longest I’ve had an official full-time office job is 3 months. It was an incredible 3 months, as I was working for a music festival called Halifax Pop Explosion. Otherwise, I’ve had part-time and/or ‘work from home’ jobs for the last 8 years. To be fair, I was also a university student for 5 of those. Ideally, I think I’d love to work for a sex ed organization.

6. Get an SMF diploma. Completed December, 2016. 

I just got accepted into the Sexuality, Marriage & Family post-grad program at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Canada. It’s 10 courses, so hopefully I’ll be able to check this one off in 2016! I am SERIOUSLY excited about this because I really didn’t know if I would get in. I also learn much better with others than on my own. Yay!

After 2.5 years, I can safely say the diploma was absolutely life-changing, unreal, incredible, and 100% worth it. It may be the best decision of my life, up to date, but that remains to be seen. Ha. Technically, the diploma will arrive in my parents’ mailbox in June, 2017.

7. Complete an SAR. Completed May 2016.

I was supposed to attend a Sexual Attitude Reassessment workshop May 2-4, 2014 in Connecticut, USA. I had to cancel my spot due to lack of finances. This has made me sad but I am determined to have my worldview rocked at some point soon!

Sexplore with Den Temin runs an 3-day incredible SAR with field trips and guest speakers galore. I think I would have benefited more if I did this after working in the industry for a while, because my programme at school forces us to confront a lot of the notions and issues that we talked about during these 3 days. That being said, I liked the environment immensely and I felt entirely supported. I would highly recommend this programme!

8. Volunteer with a sex ed organization in K-W Completed October 2014

While I’m a student, it would probably be a good idea to volunteer with one of the many organizations in the region. Volunteering is something I’ve always done, and it is a great way to build connections – something I am in need of. Plus, who knows – it may lead to that full-time office job.

ppwr-slider-main-2I started volunteering with Planned Parenthood Waterloo Region as part of the Peer Theatre Education Program. Essentially, we perform a forum theatre set in which we run through the 7-scene play twice: once through, and then a second time when the audience can stop us at various points and tell us to change our behaviour or come onstage to take our place(s). We get to perform at a variety of organizations in the region, typically with people aged 13-19. I love this program, the group of people I work with, and the fact that we have so much agency over what we perform. I love getting to learn more about Planned Parenthood, the people involved, and the partner organizations. I am excited for further opportunities with PPWR!

9. Pay off student loans. Completed: December 15, 2015

I will have 3 years to pay this off. Luckily, they give you a 6 month grace period … that’s still never enough. HOWEVER, it will be done. Again, that full-time office job will hopefully help a lot. Perhaps I should include paying off my line of credit in this, too. Or maybe that’s a whole other thing.

Just before my grandmother died she gave me money for school. I was able to pay off my student loans and cover two more semesters. I am SO incredibly grateful; I thought I would have to take a semester off to work full-time so as to be able to afford to continue.

10. Go bungee jumping. Completed: August 24, 2014

Seems like a good adrenaline rush.

Bungee!-5Went to the highest jump in Canada, at 200 feet, in Wakefield, Quebec. There’s a video of me as a completely badass wuss. I’m such a wuss, but I love the adrenaline and the experience. I was terrified; there was flailing and screaming and … you’re supposed to actually jump, but I definitely fell. Also, I got a tshirt that says “Nothing Beats a BJ” haha YUSS!

11. Go sky diving.

I know lots of people who have done this and loved it. It’s been on my list of things to do for a long time.

12. Donate blood. Completed: April 30, 2014

Blood: It’s in you to give. True. My dad has given more than 100 times, so I figure it’s probably time that I get on that. I also don’t even know my blood type! Yikes.

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I did it! I was light headed after, so had to stay an extra half hour. PRO TIP: drink 2x the usual amount the day before. On the day of, eat and drink A LOT but NO COFFEE or other diuretics.

13. Audition for a musical.

I started taking vocal lessons in March, with the express purpose to be in a musical. I used to be on stage, acting and dancing, all the time and I miss it! I’ve wanted to learn to sing well for a long time, and managed to find a studio willing to do an energy exchange with me: I work 3 hours, I get a lesson. I currently owe about 16 hours … Best get on that *collar tugs*

14. Grow my own food.

Not sure how much or what or for how long, but there have to be some fruits and/or veggies that I could not kill. And they’d be delicious. I find there’s a huge disconnect in my own life, and I think for most of us, between what we eat and where it comes from. We take a lot of things for granted, and having no clue how food gets to our table is one of them for many of us.

15. Paint a beautiful picture I’m proud of.

I have recently taken up acrylic painting. I used to use Paint By Numbers, but figure I could maybe do something more. It doesn’t have to be fancy or overtly colourful, but I would like to spend more time with creative outlets.

16. Run a series of teen/young adult sex ed workshops.

My goal is to create safe spaces for teens to learn comprehensive sex ed and feel empowered. Teenagers are hungry for accurate info, way before they’re having relations with others and there aren’t enough resources available specifically directed at young people. I’M ON IT.

17. Work in a retail shop related to sex ed. Completed September 10, 2014

Ideally, this would mean a sex toy/accessory store, but I would also be okay with a bra store, a book store with a decent gender & relationship section, or something else of that nature. Yay for part-time employment while being a student.

Just_For_You__logoI started working at an incredible independent lingerie store in September: http://justforyoufinelingerie.com/! We just opened a second store in a nearby town, and I LOVE my job. I love helping people, I love interacting with all kinds of people, and I love having access to beautiful bras. So, to anyone who wears bras: PLEASE go get yourself properly fitted. Learn what a bra that fits feels like and how to care for bras. Most of us are not in the right size at all, which completely defeats the purpose of wearing a bra in the first place. Let me help you, if you’d like. This has been a PSA from your friendly, neighbourhood bra fitting specialist.

18. Be part of a flash mob.

Super fun. Dancing. How do I even find out about these?

19. Give a TEDx talk.

The first ever SEXx is happening in Philly at the end of May this year, and I will not be able to get myself there, but I now have a goal of creating a talk for it. And if it can’t happen at SEXx, maybe it will happen at a TEDx event. Yay, sex! Now to actually write the thing. And then make visuals. And then practice. Lots of work: “If it were easy, everyone would do it” – Drew Dudley

20. Make self-care a priority.

I think most of these things are part of that, but I really do need to get better at taking care of myself. Running, aquafit, vocal lessons, spending time with positive female influences, expanding my brain power, becoming more open-minded …. all things I’m working on. Personal development, it’s no joke.

21. Organize a kickass snowball fight.

I’ve borrowed this from my dear friend, Lisa. It just seems like so much fun. You can find her list here: http://www.lisaendersby.ca/30-before-30

22. Get another tattoo. Completed June 9, 2016.

I want a tattoo for CISV, the peace education organization I’ve been involved with my whole life that has completely shaped who I am. Also, it could incorporate an elephant, because I love them: majesty, spirit, comfort, patience, strength, intelligence, wisdom. Or maybe I’ll get 2. Undecided.

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I got 2! This elephant, whose name is Butter Tart, and a little heart on my wrist to represent my Gramma’s unconditional love. I am delighted everyday by this beauty on my thigh, and his colours are an endless surprise. SUCH a good choice! Also, I have some weird body image stuff about my thighs and pelvis, so Butter Tart is extremely helpful in all of the great ‘love yo body’ kind of ways.

23. Conquer my fear of driving. Completed February 2015

In October 2013, I was rear ended and had a concussion. Hello, trauma. It’s May 2014, and I’m still scared of driving. I’ve managed to psych myself out, constantly check my mirrors (which is probably safer, so that may be a good thing), hate driving in a lane beside oncoming traffic, and can’t have the radio on. I drive on occasion, but I hate it. I also hate being a passenger at night. Sometimes I have to close my eyes or breathe deeply or start having a conversation about something completely ridiculous. I need to be okay to drive again and not have butterflies in my stomach and sweat profusely every time I get into the driver’s seat.

[Insert picture of me super stoked to be driving … but I don’t take photos while driving because it’s dangerous and illegal, and I’m not going to add any distractions.]

I drove around to visit family during Reading Week and realized that… I’M NOT AFRAID ANYMORE! I’m still cautious, and there are times I get a little nervous, but I’m not totally petrified that I will be hit! WOO HOO!

24. This is changing from: Foster a dog.

I JUST LOVE ‘EM, but I’m not sure I’m ready/able to own. I think I’m allergic to most, so that may prove to be a bit of an issue. BUT, I want an animal who will love me unconditionally, force me out of the house twice/day and require me to be responsible for someone other than myself.

To: Dogsit regularly. Completed: February 2016

I am not living a lifestyle or in a house conducive to a dog, but I do have a friend who has a dog with separation anxiety! This is great for me, because it means weekly puppy cuddles, and my friend gets to save some money on doggy daycare and the dog doesn’t freak out. Win/win/win!

25. Learn to drive stick.

My dad has a 66 Mustang. I would like to drive that beautiful beast. Perhaps I’ll need to complete #22 before getting into such a gorgeous vehicle.

26. Learn to spend a day in heels.

I am always amazed by the people who can strut their stuff on the balls of their feet in beautiful shoes. At the Feminist Porn Conference, I was told by one woman that each person has a ‘sweet spot’ at which the height of the heel does not hurt; hers was 6″. Guess I’ve got to find my sweet spot, though it will not be stilettos.

27. Have a weekend girls’ vacation. Completed July 2016.

Some of my friends and I have been talking about this for about 6 months. I’m sure it will happen at some point. We’re thinking Chicago when it’s not winter. I’d also be happy with Boston, New York, DC, Cincinnati, Montreal, Quebec, Halifax…. Really, anything within a 2.5 hour plane ride.

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Erin had a bachelorette in Montreal and it was INCREDIBLE. Best weekend I could’ve asked for! These girls are amazing. It wasn’t quite what I was imagining, but so, so, so good.

28. Achieve financial stability.

This doesn’t mean I need to make oodles, but it does mean that I need to not fret about buying groceries or getting on the bus or not being able to go to a conference or workshop.

29. Create an RRSP.

A retirement savings plan. For many, this is something you can set up and money is automatically taken out of your pay cheque and put into this special savings plan … I figure it’s some sort of voo doo bank magic. Important, yet entirely confusing to the average person. Yet another grown-up land rite of passage. Right of passage? YOWZA.

30. Own an entire wardrobe that works for my body type.

I have a lot of clothes that I’ve owned for at least 5 years. I love a lot of them but many no longer fit me, or maybe never fit me; some have holes and stains. I want to have all of my clothes fit well, look good, and make me feel good. I figure giving myself 4 years to change my wardrobe is enough time to make it actually happen. Clearly, I don’t have the finances to be able to do it all at once. Also, bodies change all the time, so this may end up being trickier than I imagine it to be.

Any suggestions for how to accomplish any of these? I could use all the help I can get!

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4 comments on “30 Before 30

  1. Stefanie
    May 7, 2014

    What’s an RRSP?

    • jshelds
      May 7, 2014

      Thanks for catching that, Stef! It’s now updated!

      • Stefanie
        May 7, 2014

        Oh…got it. 🙂 I like your list.

  2. Janice
    October 10, 2014

    You can cross 17 off now

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