The Twenties Project

Oh hi.

My name is Red, and recently I turned twenty. Armed with a vision to make this decade a good one, I made a list of all the things I wanted to do before turning thirty. There will be (or are) posts all over this blog about what happens in the efforts to do the things on this list, and they are tagged with “twenties project.” There’s also the Reading List (sub)Project, which has its own tag if you’re only here for the book reviews.

Not all of these are inexorable, particularly the ones in the Other section of the list, but they are goals, and most of them are driven by a line from Maureen Daly’s Seventeenth Summer: “I want to know about everything beautiful,” as well as something I wrote on the Reading List page, which is, “What do you do if you want to be well-read about something? You read. Duh,” and the same is true of music and running and whatever else.

Mostly, this list represents a person I want to become. She can talk as easily about rippling Beethoven sonatas as she can about the gritty, playful piano of Bob James. She can quote Hemingway and Dostoevsky as easily as she can L’Engle and Goldman. She can chatter in German, Spanish and Japanese as easily as she can Swedish and English; she can make passable efforts in Danish, Italian and Russian; her speech is sprinkled with little idioms filched from all of those. She can pilot practically any boat she encounters. She’s been all over and read all the important books, and she knows about a lot of beautiful things.

Here are the things I want to do in the time from July 4, 2015, to July 4, 2025.


–develop a familiarity with classical music

–develop a familiarity with jazz music (piano in particular)

–learn as much as possible of the work of Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin and Bach on the piano

–learn a little guitar

–join a singing group again


–write one short story a year

–finish a fiction novel and make an attempt to publish it

–write a long and thorough essay in defense of capitalism


–all of the Official Long Reading List

–all of William Shakespeare

–all of the Conservative and German Major Lists


–ski every season and at least once in Sweden

–run a 20 minute 5K

–swim a 30 minute mile

–do a triathlon

–learn to play hockey

–practice yoga consistently


–achieve conversational fluency in German, Spanish and Japanese

–maintain an ability in Danish

–begin Italian and Russian

Academic and Professional

–finish school with a 3.5 GPA

–apply for a Fulbright

–apply to Carlson and Harvard MAcc programs

–apply for a Bosch Foundation internship

–get a master’s degree somehow or other

–work five summers at Sjölunden (and possibly a summer or two at Waldsee if Skovsøen does not become a recurring gig)

–pass the CPA exam


–go to Germany

–visit a country for every language I speak

–buy my first car

–save $5,000

–learn to sail independently

–learn to kayak and operate a motor boat

–own a golden retriever

–learn to drive stick

–learn to braid my own hair

–take a cooking class


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