The Year of No Goals

Tomorrow I will be 22.

I know that it’s SUCH A YOUNG AGE. I know. You don’t have to tell me.

But still, I feel “old” in a way.

I think Becky said it perfectly last week when she told me on Twitter:

I think there’s a big (mental) difference b/t 21 & 22. At 22 there are more adult responsibilities, since school is done.

For the first time in 17 years I didn’t go back to school yesterday. And I’m kind of at this, “what now?” stage. I mean, Eric is going back to school, so on one hand I’m still thinking in the “four more years of school and we’re grown-up” mindset. But that’s so not the case. We are 22 and (almost) 24 years old. We’re there. We’re grown-up.

I’ve thought a lot about making a 25 before 25 or 23 before 23 list.

But then I decided not to. I don’t want goals/lists/achievements for my 22nd year.

I want to relax. I want to have fun.

The last year has possibly been the craziest one of my life. Let’s look at it in pictures, shall we.

I said goodbye to Eric and we started a long-distance relationship.

amber and eric goodbye.jpg

I trained for, ran, and big-time PR’ed in my third half-marathon.

running past.jpg

I had a part-time job, an internship and a full-time course load.


I had a pretty busy social life and spent a lot of late, fun nights out with friends.


I moved to a new apartment.

I planned, saved for and went on a three week whirlwind trip around Europe.


I graduated university.


Eric moved away and we began a long-distance relationship again.

After two months, Eric moved back down here to go back to school (and he starts today! Wish him luck!)


I’ve been training for a full marathon the last 12 weeks (running 25-40 miles/week)



It has been an amazing year so far. Amazing! Possibly the most fun, most exciting, busiest, most rewarding year of my life thus far.

But it’s also been exhausting. So this year, I want to slow down and I want to just be.

I am ready to let go of goals, lists and plans (OK, OK, not totally let go, I did just order the Erin Condren Life Planner as a birthday gift for myself, after all).

But, I am ready to BE YOUNG, live in the moment and have fun.

And, who knows, maybe this year will be even better then the last!!

What’s been the best year of your life so far? Why?

41 Responses

  1. Becky says:

    Oh I loved looking at your year in pictures! Tell Eric good luck today!

    I think it’s great that you’re using this year to just slow down and “be.” Marathon training is coming to an end….then you can just relax after that (and look forward to April!)

    Hmmm….best year of my life? Honestly I would say this past one because there was a lot of suckiness (Ben not having a job, etc). but I learned so much about myself and I really feel like an adult ready to take on new challenges.

  2. Happy Birthday! Hope it is fabulous!
    Good for you taking a year to relax and just BE. You are very young and have already accomplished a great deal. I bet even without major life goals you STILL reach some big milestones this year!

  3. You have had a huge year! Wow. Lots to be excited about and proud of.

    I am not sure what year would go down as the best year of my life… That is a tough question… There are many ‘best moments of my life’, but they didn’t fall in the same year… When I try to think of a best year, I thought – maybe it was the year that I went to France. But then I remembered that year also included a difficult break up which almost ‘broke me’ in a way. Or maybe it was the year that I trained for & ran my first marathon in 2006, but that year was also one of the hardest years of my life because of another break up… (sheesh, when will I be done with those?). It’s been interesting to think about this question… This year will probably go down as one of the toughest years of my life for various reasons… I am really ready for 1/1/2011 so I can start over – but thinking back on the years reminds me that there probably isn’t going to be a pain free year… And that maybe you have to go through the really, really tough stuff to appreciate the happy things in life?

    Anyways, I am totallhy rambling here! I for one do not think of you as turning 22!! I think you seem much closer to my age! I hope you have a wonderful birthday this year!

    And PS – is there anything sexier than a man in the kitchen, cooking dinner for you? πŸ™‚ That’s like porn for women. πŸ˜‰

  4. First of all, happy birthday! 22 was a good year, but as for favorites? let’s see… 18 was senior year of high school, that summer will always be my favorite. 24 I moved across the country and started my life over — that was an adventure I’ll never forget. 26, I bought a house and got engaged and started anew with the love of my life. I have a feeling there will be some good ones in the near future too. πŸ™‚

  5. mandy says:

    Happy Birthday, love!! Good luck to Eric!!

    I love that you’re going to have goals this year. I’m not a big planner and usually let life unfold in its own way in its own time. I don’t think I have a “best year,” each one gets better and better and of course there are best moments overarching that. While having lists, plans, and goals is a great way to stay focused, sometimes it has one so focused on those things there are other opportunities one might miss by straying or meandering a different way.

    I can’t wait to see what this next year brings you!

  6. This is a great non-goal for this year. I, much like yourself, rushed to get ahead in school, work, volunteerism, etc – at the cost of any free time at all. Now that I’m out of school I am enjoying hobbies and relaxation, but I do feel a pang sometimes that I never enjoyed those “young” years. I graduated with my doctorate at 26, so I really was past all that and had to be mature!

  7. Hi Amber

    1. To Lisa from Lisa Yarns: Please don’t wish a year over so you can start a fresh. Start today, Jan 1st is just another date on the calendar. School years start now, you can too! πŸ™‚

    2. Amber, i have been catching up with you, reading a bit of back story and i love your out look. I will be lurking and commenting from now on.

    3. As for your question. I think that this year, 2010 has to be top of my list. My husband and I took a 3 month trip around Asia. 3 months of living in each others pockets and we had the time of our lives. I recently realised that for the last 12 months we haven’t had a serious disagreement, read argument, and life has been bliss. We are moving from America to England, back home for me, Hubby will be the Alien and i got a fantastic job in the most amazing part of the country.

    But the one thing that really makes this year, 2010 special, is that i started running and haven’t stopped. I’m doing the Chicago half marathon in 4 days, my 1st one!! Im planning on doing the Birmingham HM in Oct which is the one i have been training for (the Chi HM is more like a training run, i couldn’t resist running it given the opportunity as i’m visiting the states right now) So this year is great. And its all flying by way to fast. You are right to slow down, enjoy the 22 yr old ride, for from now on, years fly by so fast its scary. I still feel 22 but i’m actually 33 and i’m going grey! But life is most certainly still good! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  8. J says:

    Happy Birthday!! Hope you have a great year filled with lots of fun stuff!! I was so excited to turn 22! All I kept saying was “deuce deuce”! lol.

  9. Emily Jane says:

    I think in a way, deciding this is your year to have fun IS the goal… and by the time the next birthday rolls around, if you’ve had a blast, you’ll have achieved it. πŸ™‚

    I think 24 was fantastic, but 25 is shaping up to be the best year yet – lots of trips, epiphanies, and my 26 before 26 have all helped me feel like I’m achieving something and squeezing the most out of life. Plus the wedding will fall in 25 – can’t get much better than that πŸ™‚

    Happy almost birthday!

  10. Bec says:

    Happy Birthday πŸ™‚ Hope you have a fantastic day! I so wanted one of those amazing planners but I cheaped out and got a 10$ one from chapters that is no where near as nice.

  11. Amanda says:

    I now desperately want this planner, even though I just bought a new one a month ago for school.

  12. Nora says:

    Good Luck Eric!!!!

    Sometimes the unplanned years are the best years πŸ™‚

    25 was my favorite year. That was the first time I felt like myself in my own skin, if that makes any sense.

  13. Leigh says:

    Happy early birthday to you! I hope you have a fantastic day tomorrow and that Eric spoils you πŸ™‚ Perhaps a nice dinner made for you?

    I don’t know what my best year has been…there have been highlights and great moments over different years. In terms of life, work, etc, I would have to say October 2009 to currently. I was placed in a temporary position, which I am still in and love it. I planned our wedding and had a fabulous wedding day. We bought our first home together. We ran our first 5k together and doing another one this year. Overall, it’s been a great year πŸ™‚

  14. Megan says:

    I have a problem with thinking I’m old, too. (I’ll be 22 on December 1st.) I just feel very rushed to do everything NOW, but I forget that I’m still young! I don’t really know what the best year of my life has been. I do know that from age 15.5-16.5, I learned A LOT about life, and I often say that was the best year of my life due to the learning experience (and I met my husband that year!), though it was also the “worst year” due to my grandparents passing away. I think all of my “best moments” come down to what I learned from the moment, rather than whether or not I had fun in the moment.

    I definitely agree that you should spend this year just being. If you start to slip up & get stressed out (too much) by goals, we’ll be here to remind you to “just be.” πŸ˜‰

  15. Tammy says:

    Good Luck to Eric!! That is really exciting for him.

    This year, I have really done a lot of personal developement. (much needed) I have learned to be happy when I am not doing anything (I learned that I am very activity needed person) I am happy being me. I am working on loving my body for the way it is, and governing what I put in my mouth. Those are 2 huge acomplishments! (I love food and food loves my ass!!)

    I think goals are important, even if they are having fun and relaxing. I have found when I don’t have goals, I go nowhere, and I get there with amazing accuracy!

    Have a wonderful birthday tomorrow!!! I can only imagine what Eric has in store for you!!


    • Tammy says:

      Oh and, turning 22 for me was NBD. It was 25 for me. Next year I am going to be 30 and I am so excited to turn the page and be a grown up.. HAHA!! I will never be a grown up, they are cranky, have no fun, frown! lol.

      Either way, be happy and thankful for where you are today, you will never get that moment back!


  16. abbi says:

    I think it’s good to have a year of no goals to try to relax and just be. I’ve had a few of those years in the 21-29 range and it helped to just get settled. It seems like I’m back on a huge kick to do a whole lot this year with that 30 number looming. It seems like I have a big wave every couple of years. 21-22 – finished school, got a real job, moved in with boyfriend (now husband). Let that settle. Then, a couple years later bought a house, got a dog. Let all that settle and then got married 2 years ago, took a few trips. Now, I’m back on another kick trying to do more with my job, the whole running thing, more volunteering, etc. after not doing a whole lot last year!

  17. steph anne says:

    Tell Eric good luck!! It looks like you’ve had an amazing year and definitely will have more great memories to come this year. Enjoy it while it lasts because I’m about to have an anxiety attack that I’m turning 26 in December when I still feel like I’m 22 or 23.

  18. Holly says:

    I think 23 was my best year so far. I felt like everything was coming together for me … I was ridiculously busy with full time school and full time work but I was doing what I loved and paying for it myself! It’s also the year Nathan and I started dating, so that alone makes it a pretty sweet year πŸ˜€

  19. I loved seeing your year in pictures! πŸ™‚

    I dont know if I could pick a best year. This last year has been pretty amazing though, so its definitely a contender!

  20. Lisa says:

    I don’t think I could pick a “best” year. I’ve had some good ones the last few years. I love my boyfriend and moved in with him over a year ago. It’s been great. I guess this year has been good and challenging. I did Hood to Coast, I accomplished a lot of goals. I’ve also had some set backs this year…

  21. Carissa says:

    happy early birthday! and I think “just being” is a great idea. you have been super busy and accomplished so much. you totally deserve to have fun and relax. if not when you are young, then when?

    and seeing that I am 25, I feel old when you say YOU feel old! ha! oh to be 22 again…

  22. Jaime Runs says:

    Happy birthday! Here’s to this coming year being even better than the last. p.s. you make me feel old. like 10 years older than you old.

  23. erin says:

    i’m gonna say 29 was my best year yet.. 30 has started off kinda rock with us going through financial issues, but i know the wedding will more than make up for it!

  24. That’s nice that you’re planning to look forward to the year and enjoy it rather than race right through it! So exciting that you and Eric are together and he’s heading back to school. Congrats on such a busy, great year and here’s to a Happy 22!

  25. P.S. That planner is so cute. And cute that we both posted about Goals within a day of each other.

  26. BostonRunner says:

    I feel like looking at your past year is what my next year is going to look like. It’s such a BIG year and with it comes so many exciting events and changes.
    I think that’s a smart idea not to have any “set goals” – just be. I like it : )

  27. Stephany says:

    I remember feeling the same way when I turned 22 back in November, and I’m still IN school! 22 just sounds so much older/accomplished than 21. 21 is all about partying. πŸ˜‰

    You have had SUCH a busy year and accomplished so much! It will be good for you to just sit back and enjoy this year for what it is – not for what it can do for you.

  28. Frankly I’ve had so many awesome years. But I think the one that starts with our wedding will be the best one yet! πŸ™‚

  29. Cari says:

    Someone posted this on facebook and it made me think of you and this post…,b=facebook

    I think your “year of no goals” is a healthy approach. Happy Birthday (late!)

  30. Last year when I turned 28 I decided that every year should be my best year and now i’m living that way, it’s way more fun.

    good luck on your marathon!!! have lots of fun and reflect on everything you just mentioned from this year it all makes you stronger

  31. kilax says:

    Happy Birthday!

    I loved the year in review! You had so many fun things going on!

    I don’t think I could pick a best year. Each year gets better and better!

  32. Nicole says:

    happy almost birthday! i feel like i said that when i was turning 22…. and i know i said it when i turned 23…. and… well 24 seems OLD… i think its time i face the fact that i’m old…. and 22 was so last year πŸ˜‰ HAHA!!! here’s to another fantastic year gf!

  33. I feel so happy for you that you are done, and able to relax, and take some time to just BE. It is a very freeing feeling, and one that we should all experience. You need to do things you WANT to do, not things that you have to do πŸ™‚

    The best year of my life has been this past year. I am living the life I have always wanted. I am happy, and it feels great!

  34. When I first saw the top of this post, I thought, “hey, that’s my age!” um, I’m 24. Haha. The last two years have totally slipped away from me, being in the Peace Corps and living in Africa just seems like an alternate reality. I loved 21, my last year of university, but it just cannot compare to these last two–its apples and oranges. I cannot wait to get back and see where life takes me in the next year.

  35. Wow! What an amazing year! Hope this next year is even better! One of my favorite years was when I was 23 — I graduated college, started my first year at the magazine, got married and honeymooned in Paris!

  36. […] cannot believe it’s been a whole year since I posted “The Year of No Goals” blog post. My 21st year (2009-2010) was probably my best year yet (Europe, graduating university, […]

  37. […] in the week. In the meantime, it’s time for my annual yearly review. I’ve reviewed 21 and 22 in the […]

  38. […] as has been tradition on my blog, it’s time for my annual yearly review.Β Here is 21, 22 and 23, which were super fun for me to read before writing this […]

  39. […] on New Year’s anymore and instead do them on my birthday every year. Here are my reviews of 21, 22, 23 and 24. To be perfectly honest, I can’t look back on the past year and say it was […]

  40. […] As has been tradition on my blog for five whole years now it is time for my yearly review!! Here is 21, 22, 23, 24 and […]