I’m 30. Holy cow. You know it doesn’t feel like I expected. In fact, it doesn’t really feel any different than 29. Most likely, the anticipated doom and gloom surrounding my 30th birthday stemmed from the fact that I failed to achieve every single goal that I set for my ‘Before 30’ dash of accomplishments. But, here’s what I’ve realized.

I’m still awesome.

You know why?

Because I set some kick-ass goals.

Sure, I didn’t rise to the level that I wanted.

But, I rose.

Here’s a glimpse at this year’s “failures”.

1. Lose 30 additional lbs (I had previously lost 40).

I still have 20 to go. That’s quite a failure, right? Wrong!

In my pursuit of fitness, I joined a running club coached by an ex-Olympian. It hurts so good. Yesterday was my first day back after Hajj vacation. At the end of practice, we were on our backs in the grass. Abs, abs, abs. Sweaty and itchy, I looked around at the shiny faces of my teammates and smiled. My heart swelled with gratitude. In reality, in the midst of a relay, race, or running practice, weight doesn’t matter. Strength does. And that’s what I’ve found.

2. Find a literary agent. Publish my novel.

I’m convinced that whoever sets out to write a novel is insane. When I started penning my novel, I had no clue what I was in for. A mind-blowing amount of sweat, tears, grit, and pain gets poured into a manuscript. On top of that, all this work is done knowing that your chances of success are extremely slim.

But, what is success really?

My first draft was 90,000 words. In my revisions, I’ve cut to 45,000. POOF! Half my novel up in smoke. But, I wrote on. I’m now on my third draft, and my novel is finally taking shape. Although I’m desperately behind schedule, my writing craft has developed immensely. I’ve attended writing conferences, had my worked critiqued by literary agents, editors, and other writers. This past year, I’ve put a few guest blogs and publications under my belt. The seeds of my labor on this project have been planted, a few harvested, and more to come, insha’Allah. I know that I just need to keep at the slog. It will come.

3. Travel to Spain, Costa Rica, and Australia.

When I was about eight years old, I wrote a ‘life list’. The first item on the list was “Visit Spain, Costa Rica, and Australia”. To this day, I haven’t even come close to visiting these countries.

I might not have walked through the cobblestone streets of Spain, but I toured the castles and gardens of Austria and Switzerland. I haven’t spent any time lounging on the white sand of Costa Rica, but instead I’ve snorkeled over coral reefs in the Maldives. Australia’s wildlife still evades me, but the Hajj ‘wildlife’ was pretty epic.

So, what have I learned in 30 years?

Set those ridiculously unachievable goals of your burning heart’s desire. Bust your ass to achieve them. If you don’t reach the ceiling of your expectations, remember – in your failure to achieve something very specific, you’ve actually accomplished a great deal.