Things to Do Before You’re 30


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Let me preface this post with two things: 1) This is not particularly geeky. 2) While I am not of the opinion that 30 years is the peak (or end) of life, I do agree that it’s a milestone age that inspires a bit of reflection and a flurry of future-planning, at least for me. My 30th birthday fast approaches, and while I didn’t expect to care at all, it seems there’s a bit of OMG I’M A 30-YEAR-OLD LOSER happening. I don’t mean to say that not being crazy famous or rich or whatever before 30 makes a person a loser — that’s absurd. I just meant that there are things I thought I would already have accomplished, and yet the Internet is loaded with lists of things one should do before completing a third decade of life, and invariably these lists contain things I have not done. Like some of these, actually:

Books to Read Before You’re 30

This is an admirable list in that it contains both classical works and newer classics, and even a book on etiquette. I have read four of the 10 and while I think mentioning that Marcus Aurelius is easily consumed in bathroom-break length bits, I’m probably never going to touch it. What are your suggestions for other pre-30s reading?

Amazing Things You Should Do Before You’re 30

I’ve done 12 of these 29 things, and no way in hell am I telling you which ones. Trust that jumping from a building is not included, but add .5 for once having pet a dolphin at SeaWorld. I already work my dream job — thank you, Internets — and have written a letter to my future-self, which arrived a year ago and was spot-on. Too bad “be totally psychic” wasn’t on that list, because then I’d have another thing to cross off. As far as activities go, which new thing should I try this month?

Must-See Places

BuzzFeed’s list of 20 amazing places to see before you die has both my feels and my bank account weeping quietly in the corner. I have been to zero, though I did once watch an episode of Digging for the Truth wherein Josh Bernstein (the sexiest real-life approximation of Indiana Jones, IMO) went to Petra. (I realize that this does not count.) Have any of you been anywhere incredible or un-missable that you would recommend to someone? 

Foods to Try

Okay, here’s an area in which I excel. Of  TIME’s 7 recommendations, I’ve had 7. But these are great regional American foods or items that I can make at home (mmm, bread). What crazy-but-available food should everyone try at least once?

Songs to Hear

Here’s a weird list: 1000 songs to hear before you die. Scanning just the first 17 — which is how many I can see without actually scrolling — I think I might be okay here. I give myself a predicted 50% completion rate, anyway. But this list seems bizarrely incongruous: Beyonce ended up mixed in with The Beatles, and where the hell is Nirvana? Anyway, drop your music recs in the comments. I’ll listen to them all. 

So as I scramble to shoehorn base-jumping and eating a durian fruit into the next couple of weeks, tell me how you guys celebrated/plan to celebrate your big 3-0s, or any other important birthday. (Except the 21st — we all know how everyone spent that day.)

[image from the always-rad someecards, which is pronounced “some ecards” and not “so me cards,” which I recently heard just before my brain exploded.]







13 Responses to Things to Do Before You’re 30

  1. i def gotta check out a big party place, i was considering ibiza

    the being alone for 3 months, i cannot do, lol.

    the music list, its pretty good, im sure i can pull that off lol

  2. Climb a mountain? It doesn't have to be Evrest.
    Run a marathon. A full 26.2 miles.
    Write something that wasn't assigned by a professor. A script, short story, a letter to an editor.
    Build something. A shed, an engine, a tree house.
    Turn down a realy good job offer.

  3. What a load of tripe this list is. With the exception of the 20 places to see, it's complete pigswill. Especially the 7 foods (there's more to gastronomy than eating real cheese or warm bread, it's just sad that America doesn't realise it) and the ten books, zero of which I've got even the slightest inclination to read, or even explore. thirty isn't even the beginning of life, most people don't have the time or money to do the things they've always wanted until they're in their forties or fifties, and our generation (I'm 29) will be even older, thanks to being outpriced from the housing market and living and education costs being so high.

    I'm almost ashamed to call myself a geek if this is what it means. Three out of ten; see me after class.

  4. The music list is cool.. and for f**k's sake, stay away from durian.. worst memory of an otherwise great Malaysian holiday… but I was 34, so I may have been too old for that s*it,

  5. I need to snarf that card for my friends, since I'll be having my birthday in just less than two weeks.

    And I will move from a full deck of cards to the (old) speed limit.

  6. What? I was supposed to do a whole bunch of crap before I turned 30? Well shit, maybe I will do it before 40. Oh wait….too late. And my life didn't end. And I don't feel old, I still go to concerts, watch Doctor Who, work, have a life…. yep, its not a big deal. Get over it.

  7. My big 3-0 will happen in a month and a half. I plan to have a nice bash with friends, probably revisit the casino buffet I went to for 25, and just have a good time. The only special thing I planned was to have a little photo display out on a table of me in my first year, at 10, 20, and a fresh pic for that day. Simple, fun, milestone-y. :-)

  8. Listen to the album "The Heist" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. There's a few tracks that should be on that list.

  9. i am 31 and only thing i wish is to be awake, everything seems much clearer, but in a way it stresses, still i wouldnt change it to anything. You never change back, if you are there.

    It doesnt matter what age you are, “its just a ride”.

    If someone asks, what i wish to accomplish in thirties, i would say independence. More independence from big corporations but closer to small local producers and renewable energy. Also i wish a garden, where to make my hands little bit muddy and grow veggies.