25 Before 25

My 25 Before 25 Bucket List – How Did I Do?

In gearing up for my 25th birthday last week, I had created a bucket list of 25 things I wanted to accomplish before, well, now. I decided to create a bucket list so I could be intentional about growth in several areas of my life, and while I didn’t get to everything on the list (does anyone finish their bucket lists?), I definitely had a year that was jam-packed with exciting, uplifting, and life-changing events! Here are the things I was able to do, plus some that will have to be moved to a 30 before 30 bucket list.

  1. Read through the entire bible
    • This just got off on the wrong foot because I started my Bible reading in mid-October, and never quite got caught up. Anytime I traveled, I’d fall way off my reading and it would take me a few weeks to get back on track – leaving me WAY behind the 52 week mark I should currently be at. I also found myself dropping way off on weeks I was supposed to be reading Old Testament books that have genealogies… I’m really gonna ask God why all that couldn’t be summarized. While I do enjoy the guidebook I’m using, I think I may look for a daily devotional, rather than something that presents weekly thematic overviews.
  2. Travel internationally by myself

    Klassy Kinks in CURACAO

    • This was one of the most important things on my list, which I was able to accomplish with my trip to Curacao! I HIGHLY recommend that everyone take at least one solo trip, just for a few days, to really disconnect and recharge. It helped set me up for a busy spring semester (which I’ll get to later).
  3. Make a financial investment
    • I opened up a $3500 IRA when filing my taxes last year, both to fulfill this goal and #24, and to reduce my taxes which were uncharacteristically high since I claimed the blog for the first time last year. It’s kind of cool to open up my bank account info and see that money always there.
  4. Go on a cruise to the Caribbean
    • This was one I wasn’t able to do. I DID go on a Dhow cruise while in Dubai, so I think that counts enough as a substitute (more about my trip to Dubai and Italy next week!). Since I ended up traveling a whole lot last year – Curacao, Johannesburg, Lagos, Italy, and Dubai – there was simply no extra money left for a cruise. Maybe next year though!
  5. Relearn French to fluency
    • So I’ll say I half-way did this. I occasionally do French exercises in Duolingo, a cool app for language learning, but it was probably too basic for me to make real progress. I recently discovered Mango Languages, and intend to use that to really get it together. However, I’ve also picked up some Swahili and Luo words so sema to all my Swahili speakers!
  6. Get a flat stomach

    flat stomach progress klassy kinks

    • My dear friend Jasmine helped put me on the right track with both nutrition and fitness, so I have a good command of what I should be eating and what kinds of exercises (weightssss) I should be doing to look the way I want to. However, when I’m traveling and/or bae is around, all things go out the window and I lose myself. One of my goals for the coming year is to treat my body with the same respect when I’m traveling as I do when I’m home.
  7. See the Lion King on Broadway

    lion king klassy kinks

    • I got to see Lion King with my dear friend Dionne and I was in tears from the opening act – Circle of Life – to the end. There was just something SO beautiful to see dozens of black and brown people in such a successful production. I was obsessed with Nala’s onstage grace, amazed with Rafiki’s voice, and gasped when Mufasa died like I didn’t know it was going to happen. It was one of the most amazing productions I’ve ever seen, and I can’t way to someday take my children to see it.
  8. Do something terrifying involving heights: {i.e. zip lining, parasailing, bungee jumping, trapeze, or skydiving}

    soweto towers bungee jump klassy kinks

    • I knew I was only going to do this once, so I had to go big or go home. When researching things to do in South Africa, I came across the Soweto Towers Bungee Jump. I knew I wanted to jump the 100m because my mom would be there with me praying over my life. The jump was exhilarating to say the least, and I’m glad I got that done with and I have the certificate to prove it!
  9. Volunteer with a cause completely unrelated to me
  10. Attend a music festival {Likely Essence!}
    • I wanted to go to Essence, but for the 4th year in a row, couldn’t make it since I’d just recently gotten back from Nigeria. Hopefully I can be there next year!
  11. Take a pole dancing class {to help with #6}
    • This happened by complete accident, but my friend Karen invited me to one of her friend’s birthday parties which happened to be a pole class. That stuff is hard! I did manage to climb up the pole though, and impressed myself with my core and arm strength.
  12. Learn to cook jollof rice
  13. Learn to cook a Nigerian soup that isn’t okra {though okra is unequivocally the best and only necessary kind}
    • As soon as I came back from Nigeria in May, I told my mom I needed to learn another soup, and I cooked egusi soup on my own. My dad approved so I have that down!
  14. Get the haircut of my dreams

    klassy kinksHair cut

  15. Eat at a Michelin rated restaurant
    • While I didn’t eat a Michelin rated restaurant, I did eat with a chef – Fulvio Siccardi – at Da Noi In at the Magna Pars Suites in Milan, Italy, who has been the head chef at TWO Michelin rated restaurants.
  16. Go on a helicopter ride
  17. Achieve a forearm stand in yoga
  18. See Cirque du Soleil
  19. Go to a worship/women’s conference
  20. Kiss someone I love on New Year’s

    NYE Klassy Kinks

    • I’ve spent every holiday up until last New Year’s with my family, so it was a great demonstration of adulthood and independence to feel like I could spend NYE with my boyfriend (his title changed, keep reading!). We celebrated at Madiba Harlem and had an amazing time bringing the year in together.
  21. Pass my PhD qualifying exams
    • I had such a calm resolve going into this exam I actually thought I might not have passed, but passing my PhD methods exam gave me confidence that I really was supposed to be there. What a turn around from 2013/2014 when I wanted to quit!
  22. Run a 10K
    • After running a 5K last year, I thought I’d been bit by the running bug. Truth is, I get bored running 3 miles, so running isn’t my fitness drug of choice. I really love weight lifting, because I like to see the numbers go higher and higher each week. At one point this year I was leg pressing 270 pounds, which made me think I was just like Serena Williams!
  23. Do something alone {ie. movies, pottery/painting/cooking class}

    A photo posted by Ijeoma (@klassykinks) on

    • Living alone for the past year had really forced me to do many things alone, though I do love other people’s company. I’ve traveled alone domestically and internationally, gone out to dinner alone, gone shopping alone, etc. The coolest thing I did alone last year was to eat at the SunDial in Atlanta, a rotating restaurant on the 71st floor of the Westin Peachtree Plaza.
  24. Open up a retirement account
    • As a graduate student without a salaried job, some people might think it’s silly to be thinking about retirement. The thing is, and most people don’t know this about me, I pride myself in financial literacy, and having a retirement account is essential to financial health. The IRA I opened during tax time was both for retirement and an investment, so killed 2 birds with one stone.
  25. Donate $250 to a charity of choice.
    • A few months ago, I felt led in a church service to sponsor a child through Compassion International. I was paired with Samuel, an 8 year old boy in Uganda who has sickle cell disease. In addition to sending money for Samuel each month, we exchange letters. We’re still getting to know one another, and he’s not able to write on his own, but corresponding with Samuel always warms my heart.
Even though I didn’t do everything that was on my bucket list (I did do more than half though!), I did some pretty amazing things that I didn’t even dream of in my 24th year of life:
  • I got engaged!!!!!
  • I made over $10,000 from blogging!
  • I colored my hair!
  • I got baptized!
  • I went to 5 countries (4 continents) – Curacao, South Africa, Nigeria, Italy, and the UAE, and hosted natural hair events in 3!

Which item from my 25 Before 25 bucket list would you like to do for yourself? What should I put on my 30 before 30 bucket list?

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  1. Lmao @ the importance of learning to cook jollof! I can’t stop laughing!
    I think my fav on this list is the bungee jumping – how cool that you actually did that!

  2. You accomplished so much, I’m almost envious. I’d make a list like this but I doubt I would accomplish them, lol. So I’m not even gonna bother. I really want to travel though, so once I am done with my graduate degree in December (Yayyy!) I’ll look into that. I just want to LIVE, and you are doing that so exceptionally. Congrats on everything!

    1. Thank you! You really just have to commit to doing things – I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do everything but writing it down and putting it out there encourages you to actually intentionally chase your dreams. You NEED to find a travel deal to celebrate your graduation, and December is a great off season time for Caribbean travel! Live honey!!

  3. Congratulations on your journey. Have you ever thought about creating or even investing in a natural hair care product

    1. Thanks! And no, I feel like there are enough products out there. It’s a matter of making them more accessible to women around the world and educating them on practice over products. I am interested in the salon business though

  4. It’s great that you got to do more than half the stuff on your list! I bet some people barely get that far. I’m not sure which of those I’d wanna do but I do have some personal goals that I’ll be working on once baby gets on a schedule (of sorts).

    Curious- will you be sharing how you were able to make 10K from blogging?

    1. I’ve thought long and hard about whether to talk about money on the blog, and I decided I don’t want to turn my blog into a monetization plug/testimonial. We can definitely talk about it offline though ☺️

  5. I feel so inspired. I don’t often comment on blog. However your story inspires me because I am busy contemplating starting my PhD and as you know it is a journey that should not be taking lightly. So it is good to read about other people with the same interest and passion as me.

    Keep it up

    1. Thank you! I’ve blogged a bit about the PhD Journey so if you’re looking for inspiration specifically in that area feel free to check those posts out!

  6. Aww I really enjoyed reading this Ijeoma! I also found it encouraging/motivating. Kudos to you! Plus many more blessings and growth for year 25. Also congrats to you (and bae) on the engagement 🙂


  7. Wow! Your list is definitely inspirational and congrats on your baptismal!! I would love to travel to a few countries, get a book published, go to a formal tea party, eat at a very expensive restaurant, open a retirement fund, and a few other things. I put these all on my vision board 🙂 Great list!!

    1. Yes honey you better get that book published! I want to plan a tea party for my friend’s baby shower, so we’re both on the same page. Look into retirement fund before the next tax cycle, you may be able to save a lot!

  8. I would love to do#2, 6, 22. I can’t suggest anything right now for you to do because you have name about everything. We are looking forward to you tying the knot with BAE.