30 things you should do before turning 30
In no random order, here are actions that I’m glad I took before I turned 30.
1. Backpack Europe. Or Latin America. Or just travel somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, or somewhere you’ve never seen (outside of where you live).
2. And in that same spirit, live somewhere else for awhile—separate from where you backpacked or traveled—and preferably somewhere that you’ve always wanted to live.
3. Do something you love (for me, it’s writing) and don’t be afraid to show off that passion (for me, my blog and articles—terrifying to share, satisfying to get out of my head!)
4. Fail. Fail again. And fail some more. It’s in that failure where you distinguish your strengths and weaknesses and learn how to grow as an adult. Your strengths will always make you confident, but don’t forget to embrace your weaknesses; they’re a part of who you are. Fail in your career. Fail in your relationships. Just learn to accept that failure is one of the best parts of life.
5. Experiment with a new philosophy. If you’re an atheist, consider why people are spiritual or religious. If you’re spiritual or religious, consider why some people are atheist.
6. Let go of arbitrary judgments and try to not be so hard on others.
7. Embrace that you won’t recognize yourself from 20 to 25 to 30, and that—oh my—there’s a pattern to that. Accept that you’ll change, and others do and will, too. Love them (and yourself) for growing into whomever they are or want to be.
8. Don’t be afraid to speak up against a popular opinion or act upon an unpopular belief. It’s where you’ll gain respect. Most of all you’ll gain respect from yourself for believing in and giving your views voice.
9. Bend a way of thinking that you once believed in devoutly. Look in the mirror and don’t recognize yourself. And then start to realize this is who you actually are, and love that person for being so-called bent and different and new.
10. Read a book you love more than 10 times. Watch a movie you love more than 10 times. Listen to a playlist or album until you become ridiculously sick of it.
11. Learn how to be quiet and when to speak up. And when in doubt, just be quiet and observe. If you’re uncomfortable, allow yourself to be uncomfortable.
12. Date someone who is the complete opposite of your “type” and take the date seriously. Who knows? They might just fit.
13. Apologize when you’re wrong. Not just for an I-cut-you-off-on-the-road wrong, but rather I-know-that-I-did-a-morally-horrible-action wrong. You’ll know to apologize when there’s this lingering guilt about something or someone. Act on this feeling.
14. Be proud to have a relationship with both of your parents. And if you don’t have a relationship with a parent or your parents out of spite (maybe a grudge you’re holding or vice versa) make a compromise to rise above and just love that person for who they are. They tried the best they could with what they had; try to forgive them.
15. Friendships change. People grow. Or stay the same. Nurture the ones that matter, and weed out the ones who don’t.
16. Meet your favorite celebrity, band, whatever. Travel across the world to pull a nerdgasm for that person, show, whatever.
17. Date before you marry. There’s a difference between one-night stands (I never had them, but I don’t judge; just use protection and be safe), but date! Find out what you like and what works for you romantically.
18. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
19. Have a public breakdown. Heave and cry in public. Lose it for the sake of recovering.
20. Get fit. Get healthy.
21. In the same token, get chubby. Eat unhealthy. Enjoy being on both sides of the body coin. You’re hot anyway. It’s all about attitude.
22. Learn how to budget. Seriously: Map out your finances and plan ahead for smart spending. Life will be much easier when you have an idea of what’s in your bank account and how you want to spend it in the future.
23. Stop borrowing money from your parents. Or staying at your parents’ house. Even if you’re “saving up for money” or whatever excuse you tell yourself. Teach yourself how to be an adult and set the standard that your parents clearly aren’t setting for you. Set the standards for adulthood that your parents can’t do because they love you. You can do this! And once you do it, they’ll have so much respect for you. But most importantly, you’ll have respect for yourself.
24. Volunteer. Realize there’s someone else on the planet other than yourself. Find something you love and volunteer. If you love puppies and kitties, what about the Humane Society? If you love children, why not tutor after school? Books? Your local library or bookstore. And so on and so forth until the end of time!
25. Rise above your ego—it will get in the way of SO MUCH that can make you truly happy.
26. Meditate. Sure, this is new-age hippie stuff, but it works.
27. If meditation is not your thing, what about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs? At the bottom of the chain, our needs are food, shelter, and clothing. At the top of the chain is self-actualization. Find time to calm your brain and break away from the daily routine to just. have. silence.
28. Invest in the people who invest in you. If you don’t. you’ll wear yourself thin and wonder, “Why did I do [insert kind action here] for that person when they treated me so meh-like?”
29. When looking for new people in your life, be yourself. You’ll attract the people who really matter.
30. Take a digital diet. Promise yourself a weekend of turning off the phone, the computer, not checking social media, and not watching any movies. Just take a weekend to pick up a book, master a craft, go for a hike, cook yourself dinner, or whatever… See how you feel once you realize how much technology rules your life.
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