Lifescape: 35 Things to Do by 35

Liana Smith Bautista

I turned 32 today, and in the Philippines we have an expression that once you hit this age, wala ka na sa kalendaryo, meaning you can count more years in your life than you can count days on a page of a calendar. And while my birthday celebrations vary from year to year, one thing that I like to do around this time on an annual basis is have myself a sit-down state-of-me session, followed up with a reevaluation of current plans and the formation of new ones to determine what I want to accomplish over the next few years.

This year is no exception, but I’ve decided to do something different with my plans: break them down into a list of 35 things I want to achieve by the time I’m 35, then putting them out in the world for the added pressure of accountability. Also because some of my goals require collaboration and it would be good to let people know I’m interested in doing something, and if they’re interested in it to, maybe the planets will align.

My plans are three pronged, based on the way I want my life to go in the next few years. One set of goals focuses on my creative life, particularly as a writer and an active member of various creative communities. Another is all about venturing beyond my introverted/homebody lifestyle, and it focuses more on travel and adventure. The final component is about my security zone, so the goals here have more to do with financial, health, and familial agendas.

Anyway, I’ve listed my 35-by-35 list here, and if there are any goals you’d like to join me in so we can be goal buddies, collaborate with me for, or just plain old help me out with, do let me know!



  1. Fix up my epic fantasy book series for publication
  2. Publish local-setting urban fantasy / paranormal romance books (at least 3 novellas).
  3. Write a song (or the lyrics to one, at least) — DONE!
  4. Create a replicable writing workshop series (Status: Watch for this in 2018!)
  5. Help establish Romance Writers of the Philippines as an official entity (Inc or NGO) with powers!
  6. Run a writing retreat (Status: Watch for this in 2018!)
  7. Start my Developmental Dinners series of events
  8. Edit a bestselling book
  9. Edit and publish an annual steamy reads anthology
  10. Achieve 1 million views on Will Read for Feels
  11. Review 500 books between 2016 and 2019 (Status: 306 books in 2016, 192 books as of 10 October 2017)
  12. Publish 20 pieces of creative work for which I get paid (Status: 3/20)
  13. Upload 100 videos I edited or shot myself to YouTube



  1. Travel destination: Greece
  2. Travel destination: Palawan
  3. Travel destination: Batanes
  4. Travel destination: Yosemite or the Rocky Mountains
  5. Adventure: Go sky diving
  6. Adventure: Swim with sharks (not whale sharks)
  7. Adventure: See an orca in the wild
  8. Adventure: Climb a mountain
  9. Adventure: Go to a folk or country concert featuring an artist I love
  10. Food: Have sushi and ramen in Japan
  11. Food: Eat in a Gordon Ramsay restaurant
  12. Food: Chow down on barbecue in cowboy country


Security + Skilling Up

  1. Save/invest a P1M rainy-day fund
  2. Achieve normal/healthy BMI
  3. Learn to make Nana’s lasagna exactly as she makes it
  4. Learn and get good at a therapy+fitness-style exercise (e.g., yoga, martial arts)
  5. Learn a coding language beyond HTML
  6. Learn a new language
  7. Learn to shoot and edit videos like a semi-pro
  8. Open my own business — DONE!
  9. Earn enough from creative endeavors to make a living out of it (or at least afford some significant indulgences!)
  10. Build my beach house


Here’s my plan: I’ll tick off items (with links or photos as proof of achievement) as I achieve these goals. And I’ll probably be blogging off and on about the process as I go through the work of knocking them off my list. So, well, go me because the countdown to 35 starts now!

3 thoughts on “Lifescape: 35 Things to Do by 35

  • Reading this makes me so excited about life and career and doing something passionately. Thank you. Today, you just earned a fan.

    Just for your sense of accountability, can you please update which of these you’ve already done? 😀 😀 😀

    • Thanks for reminding me, Carla! I’ve just updated this list to indicate the tasks that are done and the stuff that’s in progress. I’ve actually passed my book reading goal, but I’m still updating my book tracker, so I’ll have my November stats by end of month.

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