30 Things To Do Before You’re 30

October 2, 2014

30 Things

Crippling existential freak-outs.

Waking up on your friends’ couches with your shoes still on.

Getting Taco Bell for dinner (and paying with the change you scrounged up from various pants you haven’t worn in a few weeks).


These are all routine events in your 20s. It’s a phase of life characterized by “what the hell am I doing?!” unrest. And it can be tough. Things are up in the air, in flux, spinning in an unpredictable roulette wheel that may or may not land where you want it to. But there’s an upside. Because even though you only own 3 plates (from the 80s, that your mom gave you) and have no idea whether you should just go to grad school, there’s also value in the uncertainty you’re feeling. Your 20s are prime time to try things on, screw up, and assess what you do and don’t want in life. There’s no better time to offer yourself up for potential failure/embarrassment/triumph, so here are some bold things you should do before the big 3-0. Hop to ‘em!


  1. Stay up all night talking to a person you just met.

  2. Eat something you think will be disgusting (but might turn out to be delicious. Or still disgusting. Either way, you stretched your borders and know you could make it on Survivor).

  3. Learn how to drive a stick shift.

  4. Make embarrassing art. Write a poem and read it outloud to friends.Take that salsa dancing class even though you can barely walk without tripping. Do something creative even if you suck at it.

  5. Live in a foreign country.

  6. If that’s infeasible, travel. Travel alone. Travel somewhere where you don’t speak a lick of the language. Travel somewhere without using a plane, train, or automobile. Travel with only a backpack. Just travel.

  7. Learn how to make at least 3 meals (that don’t require a microwave).

  8. Write a letter – with like pen and paper.

  9. Forgive your parents.

  10. Watch the sun rise (preferably over the Grand Canyon, and preferably having not gotten a wink of sleep the night before because you were so engrossed in talking/pondering the universe/skipping).

  11. Learn how to change a tire… you’ll thank us for this one at some point.

  12. Do an extreme sport that terrifies you (bungee jumping, rafting, skydiving, cliff-diving, etc.).

  13. Go see a movie in the theater alone.

  14. Interview the oldest members of your family. Learn their life stories.

  15. Do a physical challenge – train for a 5k, ride your bike the length of your state, or just vow to take a walk every day for 30 days.

  16. Learn how to make a fire.

  17. Go on a spontaneous road trip (with us, if you want!)

  18. Date all the wrong people so you know what you don’t want.

  19. Fall in love…or fall in lust, realize it’s not love, and move on.

  20. Try a series of odd jobs–deliver food, stock supplies at 3 am, clean bathrooms. You’ll pick up surprisingly useful skills that translate to subsequent jobs.

  21. Break a bone (hopefully doing something that’ll make a good story).

  22. Quit the jobs that don’t fulfill you (and identify what you hated about them, so you don’t repeat the pattern).

  23. Adopt a daily mantra and stick to it.

  24. Tell people you care about that you love them (even if it’s induced by alcohol and shouted at 10 decibels higher than everyone else is speaking).

  25. Go camping. Sleep under the stars.

  26. Learn how to play a musical instrument. It might sound like whales yelling for a while, but stick with it.

  27. Get out of your own head and volunteer at an awesome organization for a day.

  28. Leave an inspirational note for a stranger to find.

  29. Cold call and interview someone you really admire. (We had to put that one in, obvi. But we truly believe in the power of it!)

  30. Turn off the internet and get started.



Disclaimer! Even if you’ve already hit your 30s (or beyond), it’s never too late to accumulate these experiences.

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